Written by Nasser Kandil,
The first Moscow Meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran and the statement issued at its end after the resolution of the control of the Syrian army and its allies on Aleppo and the exit of the militants supported by Turkey formed a take off point for Astana path which was based on a bilateral to cease-fire between the Syrian army and the armed groups supported by Turkey on one hand, and the continuation of the joining of these armed groups in the choice of the war on terrorism and the exit from the war against the Syrian country, moreover considering the separation between these factions and Al Nusra front the starting point in this path on the other hand. It was clear that what was so-called by Astana path is not a dialogue between the Syrian country and the opposition as what is going on in Geneva, but it is a framework granted by Russia and Iran to Turkey to reserve a seat for its groups in the poetical process from the gate of stopping their positioning behind Al Nusra front, and stopping the positioning of Turkey on the bank of the war on Syria after its failed experience in Aleppo.
It was known that any setback in Astana path means a regression in the role of the armed groups within the equations of the negotiation in Geneva on one hand, and a regression in the special status of Turkey in the Syrian political track on the other hand, so the alternative is the return to the field which turns the tip in favor of the Syrian army and its allies where the factions are positioning beside Al Nusra front. It was clear that what has happened since the Second Astana and the Fourth Geneva along with the bombings of Homs and the battles of Al-Bab, and later the bombing of Damascus and the tension about the entry to Manbej that the rules of Astana are changing. The armed factions stand with Al Nusra in the two bombings and stand in the political solution outside the priority of the war on terrorism, and the Turkish priority is as the priority of the groups affiliated to it, it is not the success of Astana path as planned, however, using its revenues for the political negotiation in Geneva on one hand, and the seeking to reserve a seat in the battle of Raqqa at the expense of the Kurds on the other hand, and if necessary a Turkish escalation against Iran to bribe America hoping to facilitate the Turkish task in Manbej and ignoring the commitments to Astana in order to leave the serious negotiation till the US anticipated position of the new administration becomes ready toward the cooperation with Russia.
Turkey lost the round of Manbej politically and militarily, as it lost the round of Aleppo. The Turkish President went to Moscow to renew the paths of cooperation after he had got the US disappointment, while the Syrian country went at the time of the coup on Astana to revive the settlements’ paths which end with the exit of the militants from the areas in which they cause harm to their people, most importantly Al Waer district. The armed groups have linked their going to the third Astana with a different settlement that relieves them in Al Waer district. The settlement in Al Waer district in Homs has passed; this settlement which was allocated to thousands of the militants and under the direct Russian sponsorship has been boycotted by them.
After all of what has happened Astana path needs a detailed assessment from its founders as the type of the Second Moscow talks before the hold of the third Astana. The Russian-Turkish-Iranian meeting has failed due to the Turkish political attacks against Iran and the Turkish coup on Moscow understandings, so the strengthening of Astana depends on reviving the understandings in the heart of the Russian-Turkish-Iranian tripartite, and when Turkey and its groups understand that there are no cards to play with. The settlements are continuing as the form of Al Waer district, and the resolving is continuing as in Qaboun and Daraa, while the forms of the cooperation with the Kurds crystallize in Manbej, the banks of the Euphrates, Deir Al Zour, and Hasaka. If Turkey and its groups do not have what they add to the engagement in a settlement that is based on the exit from the war on the country, and the joining in the war on terrorism as a beginning for the separation from Al Nusra front, and if Turkey does not have what to grant in that respect, then let everyone go in its way and reaps its consequences.
The absence of the armed groups from the third Astana turns it into second Moscow which is desired by Iran and Syria, and it is not objected by Russia after the Russian Turkish Summit to put the Turkish speech at stake, it does not matter that the meeting starts with the meeting of the sponsors and ends with the meeting of the parties after two days.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,