Is there any Russian-Iranian-Syrian dispute in Astana?

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The Saudi and the Qatari media are waging a campaign since the end of Aleppo’s battles, Moscow’s Meetings which brought together the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense in Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and the announcement of a truce and Astana process for dialogue, its center is the indication to Russian contradiction with Iran and the Syrian government, and the Russian Turkish rapprochement that disturbs Tehran and Damascus. The symbols of the Syrian factions that are involved with Turkey in the truce and Astana, in addition to the rest of writers and analysts who are affiliated to the axis of Riyadh and Ankara repeat the same speech. In the eve of Astana the voices are raised foreshadowing the aggravation of the dispute between Moscow and each of Damascus and Tehran, and the convergence of each of Moscow and Ankara in return.

If we imagine our position as observers in Tehran and we want to write a perfect scenario for Astana Talks it will be like that. First, the previous political attempts for the dialogue about Syria have been made under the US Russian auspices, and a dominant American preponderance, and because America is an opponent of Iran so the ideal choice is the proving of the success of the Syrian-Syrian dialogue under mono Russian auspices. This requires showing Russia as an honest acceptable mediator by all on one hand, and on the other hand it requires the acceptance of the opposite bank represented by Turkey of that mono role of the mediation of Russia without   demanding an active US partnership, as well as restricting the regional partnership with Turkey, preventing the demand of an active Saudi partnership. Because Washington and Riyadh are two direct rivals of Tehran, and because it was said a lot about the alliance of Ankara and Tehran, so it is useful to focus on the dispute with Ankara this time and retaliate upon Washington and Riyadh which have put veto once on the participation of Iran in Geneva Conference dedicated to Syria, towards excluding Saudi Arabia completely, so this restricts the regional sponsor of the opposition with Turkey and grants Washington which is necessary to attend the weakest level of the representation that does not affect the single Russian auspices.

From Tehran we will see that this scenario gets the interest of Damascus for similar reasons which make it the perfect scenario for Tehran, as in the agenda, it will be important for Tehran and Damascus to prevent making Astana an opportunity that is restricted with the political troublemaking under the slogan of the future of the presidency in Syria as many delegations of the opposition have done it before, as well as frustrating the attempt of Turkey and the armed groups to get a long truce waiting the crystallization of the new US position, without resolving the position toward Al Nusra front, and the recognition of considering the ceiling of the political dialogue the attempt to unify the efforts in the war on terrorism. This requires the fall of the slogan of overthrowing the regime and replacing the talk about a political solution for a transitional phase with the seek to have consensus on the frameworks of the national reconciliation from within the institutions of the constitutional state and under their presidency, in addition to the Turkish commitment of closing the borders, stopping the supply of Al Nusra front and the  participation of its siege, as well as ending the illegal presence of its troops in Syria through the withdrawal or through linking this presence with an agreement with the Syrian government that determines its tasks and its duration within the alliance with Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah within the context of the war on terrorism.

Russia will be grateful for this scenario, because it states what it has said repeatedly that it anticipated to it, and it makes it avoid  Turkey’s making use of the relationship with it to raise its negotiating price with Washington as happened repeatedly, moreover it will enlist the groups which are still within the gray area between Al Nusra and the opposition in front of critical moment, thus the position toward Al Nusra will be a condition to ensure cease-fire instead of applying ceasing-fire which Al Nusra will benefit from it as happened before.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,


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