Partial Withdrawal of Russia’s Military from Syria

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Solution to Syria Crisis Following Agreement in Geneva 3 Talks

Behzad Khoshandam
Ph.D. in International Relations & Expert on International Issues

Following the historical agreement between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his American counterpart, John Kerry, over the future of Syria in 2016 and subsequent to the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2268, cessation of hostilities started in Syria on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, and new hopes raised about achievement of a relative and temporary stability in ongoing developments of this critical security domain. The Eastern Mediterranean region, including the Levant, is one of the most important geopolitical regions in the world where in the near future the interests of big powers, regional and global organizations, and regional powers will either converge or face numerous challenges as a result of political developments in Syria. A positive sign to the authenticity of this speculation about future outlook of this geopolitical domain is announcement about withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria as of March 15, 2016, on the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which took place concurrent with the Geneva 3 negotiations on Syria, which will go on until April 24, 2016, and was also simultaneous with the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the crisis in Syria.

As a result of this trend, the United States, the European Union (EU), Russia, China, France, the UK, the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC)], the United Nations (UN), the Arab League, the NATO, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, tiny states of the Persian Gulf, Lebanese Hezbollah, Israel and Iraq are trying to redistribute their interests, as well as relative values and norms on the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean and the Levant to achieve balance of powers and meet their relative interests.

Of course, officials in Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States and even the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura have brought up the possibility of division or federalization of Syria, but can such a plan guarantee sustainable security of this geopolitical domain in a final analysis? An even more important question is which group or which actors would be the ultimate winner if federalization or division of Syria actually takes place through a political transition on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions 2254 and 2268?

It seems that after partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, which started on March 15 2016, the role and position of more lasting actors such as Iran, as a traditional actor and the main supporter of the Syria nation-state, will gradually increase in the operational field of future political and military developments in Syria, in particular, and in eastern Mediterranean and the Levant, in general. As a result, the cooperative role of this actor as well as its regional influence and power in this region will increase step by step in upcoming developments related to this crisis. At any rate, history has proven that Iran, unlike Russia, has appeared as a historically and naturally active and influential actor with operational capability in this geographical domain from 1970 up to the present time. During this period, Iran has never tried to extort concessions from Arab actors in return for stabilizing measures it has taken in critical regions of the Arab and Islamic worlds and this point is the main secret of the lasting effect of actions and solutions that it has provided for the resolution of hostilities in this geographical domain.

Divisive, transregional, non-Syrian, extremist and federative solutions that are prescribed for the resolution of hostilities in the eastern Mediterranean and the Levant concurrent with the withdrawal of the Russian military from Syria on March 15, 2016 and the ongoing inter-Syrian Geneva 3 peace talks, which will continue until April 2016 to determine the fate and weight of future actors in Syria, are not original, real and sustainable solutions. Those options that foresee disintegration, division, inciting ethnic hatred, Plan B, federalism or confederalism cannot guarantee general modern rights of citizens and set the course of future developments in the political and geopolitical chess game of the Middle East, including in Syria, in the light of politico-military developments that will take place after Geneva 3 talks. However, those solutions that foresee practical realization of sustainable security and consensus among all actors present in Syria, who will benefit from security in eastern Mediterranean, and also seek realization of the rule of law on the basis of the idea of good governance to meet public interests of all stakeholders, including the Syrian nation-state, following Geneva 3 talks are worthy of futurology and further assessment.

Key WordsPartial Withdrawal, Russia’s Military, Syria, Solution, Syria Crisis, Agreement, Geneva 3 Talks, Sergei Lavrov, John Kerry, Vladimir Putin, Federative Solutions, Sustainable Security, Staffan de Mistura, UN Security Council Resolutions, Khoshandam

More By Behzad Khoshandam:

*Turkey, NATO Syndrome and Cessation of Hostilities in Syria:

*2016 US Presidential Election Debates: Returning to or Rejecting the Iran Option:

*Iran and the United Nations Security Council in 2015:

*Photo Credit: South Front

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