Secretary of State John Kerry has started his March 23rd visit to
Moscow. A visit of the head of the America’s foreign policy
department to the Russian capital is associated with a sudden
withdrawal of most of the Russian military contingent from Syria. As
was reported previously by the State Department, the main themes of
the talks are the future of Syria and the peace process. It is very
likely that the parties will discuss the problem of the future of the
country's territorial structure.
March 17th, there was another significant event, where the Kurds of
the north of Syria announced the conversion of areas under their
control into a federal region. The government in Damascus, like most
of the Syrian opposition, condemned the move. "Federalization of
Syria" via the country's partition along the lines of the civil
war, which will increase tensions in the relationship between the
ethnic and religious communities, will mean the destruction of a
unified Syrian state and the actual collapse of the country, like
what happened in neighboring Iraq.
the partition of Syria will trigger a disintegration process, which
will strike other national states in the Middle East, creating a zone
of bloody chaos. Only two countries will benefit from the
results of the process.
Greater Middle East
US officially condemned the unilateral actions of the Kurds, but they
are however a beneficiary to it. By instigating this process, the
United States will be able to simultaneously weaken some opponents.
The disintegration of Syria and Iraq will lead to the radicalization
of the local Sunnis and the formation of statehood akin to ISIS. This
will create serious problems for Iran and will cut the Shia crescent,
dividing Iran and the Shiite part of Iraq and Palestine from the
Mediterranean. Extremists will also pose a threat primarily to Europe
and Russia. There is the possibility for attacks in the United
States, but they are not critical to the security of the country.
Streams of refugees who continue to flee to Europe will weaken it and
make it dependent on the US in terms of security.
United States, who are actively using the Kurdish factor, will have
an opportunity to gain a foothold in Syrian Kurdistan, where the US’
military already holds Rmeylan airport. The US, by using the
Kurdish factor, will be able to destabilize and blackmail Turkey,
Iraq, and Iran. The region is strategically important, as it has
access to the Levant, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and the Southern Caucasus.
is also profiting from its opponent’s state of weakness; instead of
a strong and united anti-Israel Syria, it will face a conglomerate of
smallholdings that are fighting with each other. The same is true
with respect to other Arab states. The more unstable their internal
situation - the less likely they are to intervene in the affairs of
the Zionist entity in Palestine. Large, stable, but anti-Zionist Arab
and Muslim states are more dangerous to Israel than terrorist
organizations, even the most radical ones.
the United States did not support the Kurds
the fact that the State Department hastened to declare that the
action does not support the Kurds, the idea of federalization of
Syria is American. It is supported by such influential thinkers in
international affairs as Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of
State, and Richard N. Haas, President of the influential globalist
Council on Foreign Relations.
is thanks to the representatives of the United States that this
previously marginal concept is being widely discussed. However,
officially, Washington does not support this concept regarding
Kurdish activities. The reasons for this may include the following:
US’ allies in the Persian Gulf, the EU, and Turkey understand the
danger of this scenario. Therefore, the US is trying to reassure
them, and in fact, continues to encourage the Kurds. The fact that
the US support for Syrian Kurds has not diminished, and US Special
Forces are in no hurry to leave the base they have occupied, is
indirect evidence of the correctness of this thesis.
The United States seeks to promote the federalization project as an
all-Syrian initiative, rather than the result of separate activities
of one ethnic group. In this case, someone else will hurry the Kurds.
Most likely, this will be Israel, which recently demonstrated its
discontent with weak Washington politics and vested interest in
aiding the irreversible collapse of Syria.
This is an independent decision of the Kurds, which they took without
paying attention to the external power center.
inclusion of the Kurds in the negotiation process
is known that the Syrian Kurds have maintained close communication on
the one hand with the United States and Israel, and on the other -
with Russia. It is likely that the problem of the federalization of
Syria and the special rights of the Kurdish region will be the main
focus of Kerry’s talks in Moscow. A united and allied Syrian state
is in the interests of Russia, but there is evidence that Moscow does
not oppose the plans to federalize Syria.
complicating the process is the fact that although the Kurds were
asked to decide the fate of Syria jointly with other parties to the
conflict at the Geneva talks, their representatives were not present
due to the position of Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Both the US and
Russia for their own reasons (Russia exerting pressure on Turkey)
will discuss their possible inclusion in the Kurdish talks. The first
round of negotiations is to be completed on March 24th, and if it
does not include the Kurds, it is difficult to expect it to be
way in which the withdrawal of Russian troops was decorated in Syria
(the withdrawal of troops, but not all, maintaining bases, military
advisers, part of the engineering and PMC) gives Russia the
opportunity to use quantitative parameters of withdrawal as an
instrument in the negotiation process. Apparently, Kerry would like
to discuss this issue. Russia may require concessions to both Syria
(structure of the country, the future of Assad, preserving Russian
bases after coming to power of the new leadership), and on other
issues, particularly Ukraine.
coincidentally, two days before, Kerry said that the issue of
Ukraine, as well as Syria, would be key in the negotiations with
Russia. At the same time, on March 23rd-24th the German Foreign
Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be in Moscow to discuss the
situation in the east of Ukraine with his Russian counterpart. The
coincidence of the visits is not accidental. It is necessary to wait
for Moscow, in response to a proposal to put pressure on Kiev’s
violations of the Minsk agreements, to propose to make some
concessions on Ukraine in exchange for the weakening or removal of a
part of the sanctions.
if such a proposal is made, it will come from Germany. In contrast to
Europe, Americans are not interested in resolving the conflict or
lifting any sanctions. On March 17th, State Department spokesman John
Kirby said that sanctions against Russia would not be removed until
it gives up Crimea. Earlier, Victoria Nuland expressed the view of
the State Department on the situation in southeastern Ukraine, saying
that the goal of the United States is to return the space of the
People's Republics of Donbass to Ukraine until the autumn of 2016. It
is likely that the Kremlin will be offered a "compromise"
in Ukraine: the autonomy of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in
exchange for the resumption of the Ukrainian authorities’ control
abroad. It is understood that afterwards, the Ukrainian border guards
will be able to cut off Russia from the border of the region, which,
if it is accepted, will drown Donbass in blood. Therefore, it is
unlikely to achieve a significant compromise in the negotiations on
to the real interests
all of the above it is likely that on some issues Russia can make
concessions contrary to the national interests of the country as a
great world power. The reason is an interpretation of the national
interests of the country by part of the Russian elite in terms of
so-called "Peripheral realism." Peripheral realism is
satisfied with the status of ‘regional power’. It is not opposed
to global hegemony and sets as the main goal the maximization of
national interests by following in the footsteps of the hegemonic
power (in the case of the United States), or entering into an
agreement with it. In terms of peripheral realism, Russia can
renounce some positions in Syria and Ukraine, and even more so in
other less important regions of the world in exchange for the sake of
relations with the United States and in the hope that the US will
make concessions on its side.
the struggle for hegemony
United States, in turn, is not prepared to make major concessions. In
terms of its logic, Russia is not a regional power, which simply
wants to improve its status, but is a country, which is trying to
challenge US global hegemony; therefore Russia must be cut down to
size. The US would like to see the withdrawal of Russian troops from
Syria as a defeat for Russia.
real purpose of Kerry’s visit is to shape this decision into a real
Russian defeat. The US has no room for concessions on Syria, or
Ukraine. At stake is the status of a global hegemon, which tried to
intentionally or unintentionally challenge Russia. So the US needs to
demonstrate the superiority of the US and undermine the efforts of
opponents to elevate their status in international affairs. Unlike
the neocons, which say the same openly, the Democrats, and Kerry in
particular, do not express it directly to Russia’s leaders, but
they act in the frame of such thinking.