Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov: “a couple of names in the leadership have been mentioned”
Tripartite Talks Between Russia, Iran and Turkey are focused on the future of Syria which will incorporate the interests of all parties.
Syria is entering into a new phase with the current ceasefire holding across the entire country. Some favor a “federal solution.” Political transition is an integral part of plans to limit the liability of President Assad and respect Iran’s explicit desire for support of the President.
There are no solid answers to either of these concerns, rumors are able to take root and influence the overriding narrative about the conflict reconciliation process.
The points so far raised in the talks suggest that the situation on the ground is moving quite rapidly: some of the propositions so far dangled suggest that a proposition may be adapted no matter how unlikely it may seem! Every motion is being studied carefully.
The first part of the research therefore begins by examining the “federal” plan. The power transition is another facet of the discussions and the role of President Assad in the ensuing scenario.
Iran is concentrating on the forthcoming tripartite talks in Astana. The second part of the series offers up some realistic suggestions for what the Syrian side should do in order to safeguard their sovereign interests in the event that some elements of the current plans materialize. Finally, the last section is a summarized review of the previous two and is intended to serve as a reference source for the reader in reviewing all of the somewhat complicated details of the two preceding pieces.
Fighting Against “Federalization”
It’s become fashionable in many international relations and foreign policy circles to throw around “federalization” as a supposed ‘solution’ to seemingly intractable domestic conflicts, and Syria is of course no different. While this has long been pushed by the West, it’s also recently been mildly entertained by some factions in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, namely those which are predisposed to the Kurds as a result of Moscow’s decades-long relationship with this demographic. For as attractive or not as this ‘solution’ may have seemed to select Russian diplomats for a variety of reasons, the Russian-Turkish rapprochement completely changed this lobbying group’s calculation because it would obviously be detrimental to the national security interests of Moscow’s Great Power partner, to say nothing of the disaster that it would be for Syria itself.
The establishment of a broadly independent “Kurdistan” in northern Syria would amount to the creation of a second geopolitical “Israel” which could then be used as a springboard for the projection of unipolar influence all across the region. Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Syria each understands how much of a threat this could be to the emerging Multipolar World Order, hence why they’re united in opposing it. Yet, if we are to believe recent developments, the “federalization” proposal is an alternative, in context of pro-Kurdish factions in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The “Alawite autonomy” solution is fraught with problems. The chain reaction would inevitably trigger response from the Kurds, Sunnis, and other diverse demographics within Syria. The appeal to the Alawites is meant to ‘soften up’ the Syrian population into accepting what would inadvertently amount to the internal partition of their country, since it’s already been seen just how counterproductive the prior attempts have been to argue for this ‘solution’ under the pretense of ‘rewarding’ the Kurds.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey don’t want to “dice up” Syria, but this might end up being the final result if the “federalization” plan is allowed to be implemented, no matter under what “well-intentioned” grounds it’s argued (such as protecting the victimized Alawites). The practical implications of this development have roused interests in all quarters and will continue to attract media focus until a solution is found.