The excluded ‘Syrian Peace Deal’ was hailed as victory among Russia, Turkey and Iran, the power brokers after a long impending inertia in crisis and lingering hostilities. The declaration marks a new era—one where United States, United Nation and European Union have been deemed as disaster, manifest power conundrum within Middle East.
In the already vicious and volatile Middle East, Syrian crisis emerged as one which imbibed in all the power dynamics of the regional and the international vestibule. Syrian crisis opened the plethora of not only a highly vulnerable security fabric of the region but also the loose power dynamics, the shaky alliance formations, the line of demarcation between militaristic regimes and democracy, the sectarian strife and most importantly the humanitarian predicament. If one is to assume that this crisis became the most important, dangerous, contingent and boisterous diplomacy of the 21st century one would not be in the wrong.
Ceasefire between the belligerent powers will have to be extended throughout Syria while there is a settlement negotiated between the two main parties; the Syrian government and its opponents.
Peace deal came as a surprise because it occurred among some entities which a year ago, were at odds with each other. Yet on 20th December 2016 Turkey, Iran and Russia sat together and shaped a peace deal. Ceasefire between the belligerent powers will have to be extended throughout Syria while there is a settlement negotiated between the two main parties; the Syrian government and its opponents.
The evacuation project is also included in this deal and more importantly it is deemed to be a prelude to full peace talks between belligerents. The deal obviously is of significance because not only is it a new beginning in the otherwise tortured atmosphere for Syria but its timing is also pertinent as it comes around a time when the Syrian Government took back Aleppo from the ISIS. This declaration marks a new era—one where US, UN and even the EU have been deemed as disasters. This of course gives us an insight in the power conundrum within Middle East.
Let’s assume the role of all the powers and the stakeholders involved in the Syrian crisis. Middle East has always been a region which is manifest with various conflicts and to say that these conflicts actually go forth and map out the strategic atmosphere of the region would not be wrong. It so happens that the Syrian crisis began in the muddled security environment of Middle East where one major power in the face of the US opened up a very raging and hostile war-zone.
Yet anarchy was torn up into a highly chaotic structure and it was seen that the US began to slowly get out-maneuvered by other powers-the biggest of them was Russia. In this way, the region became the hub of a neo-Cold War and the entire power shifted. In a region where power drives diplomacy and diplomacy leads to alliances the situation has brewed a storm in a tea-cup.
Position of the U.S.
While the US had been one of the forerunners in all Syrian related affairs, it was not included in the peace process. The peace deal was brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran and it was made out to be a better success unlike those in which the US had been involved. Since 2015 when Russia had gotten itself wholly involved in the protection of the Assad regime, US had been given a run for its money. With the branded failure of the departing Obama Administration, much weight now falls on the new Government. But whatever the case is US gets to face consequences rather than implications as a result of this deal.
The peace deal was brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran and it was made out to be a better success unlike those in which the US had been involved.
Two things need to be taken into consideration now that this peace deal presents with the new scenario; at one time, the US can no longer dictate any terms of peace in Syria because of the tripartite agreement and the parties involved in it will have a new monopoly of which the US will be excluded. It can and must observe where the dust settles as it has been sidelined. This means that it no longer yields the same power. It will also need to get more stable in the region as some old allies might not be so trusting of the state anymore. Moreover, the mortality and the vulnerability of the US policymakers lays proven to everyone which is dire in itself.
Another factor is that the US though seems inexorable with the circumstances the real question is how much is it actually at ease and if not, then what steps it could take to disrupt the cause. The US might have been shelved from the core decision making process but it still has stakes in Syria and the region. It is quite possible that in order to avoid coming to terms with Russia and the Assad regime, US can go to great lengths in order to undermine the entire process. How this power versus tactic versus policy game play out will, is anyone’s guess.
Power play of Turkey-Russia-Iran
This of course brings us to the scenario of Turkey-Iran-Russia. The fragile relationship between these three is although being watched with keen interest and admiration and it is believed that the three states will get cozier with each other—yet it is only as strong as its weakest link. And the weakest link happens to be the relationship dynamics of Turkey and Iran. There is a lot of unremitting mistrust between them. Even though they got together for this Peace Deal in order to make it a success, only time will tell how further down the road they can carry it. If their own national interests begin getting in the way, then it will brew trouble for not only this partnership but could also have repercussions for the deal.
As for Turkey and Russia—the two states will only get closer because it seems that in the scheme of the security and power dynamics, both are in a dire need for each other. Even though U.S. and other powers eye it with contempt, it will perhaps get a lot stronger with one power dictating the terms. That is to say—how much further will Turkey get comfortable with the Assad regime without pitching its neo-Ottoman legacy which could pose a threat to other powers including Russia.
Middle Eastern dynamics will also get altered and maybe even disrupted. For one, the regime gave up a lot to defeat some formidable powers like U.S., ISIS and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the process and these entities will be less forgiving. Then, the power which Turkey and Iran can now exert will be greater much to the displeasure of Saudi Arabia and even Israel. To what extent will the latter states—already getting closer—try to prevent it is a guess which no one wishes to make. Another factor is that the crisis opened up the dynamics of resource prone conflicts—like water and oil among each other. It seems that in the coming years these issues will also dub the kind of relationship and the terms of conflict among the regional states a great deal.
All of this, the aggrandizement of the arms market and the rise and fall of proxies is also going to be something which the regional powers will observe. The ISIS and some other KSA’s for the moment seem to be at a loss of power and they may even die down but this will be momentary. The more vexing part is to think what will happen if they re-gain power because their strategic placement will have more implications than their dying down.
The fate of Syria is still uncertain because the internal socio-political and economic fabric is key to retain the peace, at best described as boisterous, susceptible and opaque.
Altogether idea of the ‘peace’ as a result of the deal is twofold; it is a big win for some parties who will go to any extent to keep the peace alive along with their own power monopoly. But what will happen now that the regime has safeguarded its power? It still needs Russia to uphold the peace and the rest of the story is one which is easily discernible.
Much more than the external powers who will try at all lengths to gain something out of it, the fate of Syria is still uncertain because the internal socio-political and economic fabric is key to retain the peace, at best described as boisterous, susceptible and opaque. The deal is something that will give Syria certain leverage in the faltering security environment. After years of disruption this deal has to be hailed as a triumph but for whom, that is another question.