Sunday, August 9, 2015

 Iran nuclear deal ushers* in heightened diplomacy in Syria -News Analysis

News | 09.08.2015 | 11:28
Xinhua - The long-stalemated Syrian crisis is now witnessing a flurry** of diplomatic talks and marathon meetings that could usher in a political solution, in what appeared to be the first positive repercussions of the Iranian nuclear deal on Syria, analysts say.
The nuclear accord concluded recently between Tehran and the six world powers surely has positive impacts on the thorny issues in the region, including the Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni files, Osama Danura, a Syrian political analyst told Xinhua.
"The recent flurry of diplomacy is the first indicator of the good behind the deal on the region's crisis," he added.
In less than a month since the signing of the nuclear deal, the initiatives' fever started finding its way to the Syrian arena that has been for long stalemated with news of battles and extra chaos eclipsing any horizon for a solution.
Iran has recently proposed an initiative for a political solution in Syria, starting with establishing an immediate cessation of fire, forming a national unity government, rewriting the constitution, and conducting legislative elections under international supervision.
Pro-government media cited sources as saying that the Syrian government is okay with the initiative as long as each step is put for public referendum.
Iranian sources said the initiative came after Tehran's consultations with regional players, such as Turkey, Qatar, -- both main backers to the rebels -- and members in the UN Security Council as well as Egypt.
The Iranian proposal came after Russia, another main ally to the Syrian government, proposed the formation of a regional anti-terror coalition that could include Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
The Russian proposal was announced by President Vladimir Putin and was read by analysts as an important indication that the political landscape is changing in the region.
Even though the Russian proposal was accepted by Syria, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said it needs a "miracle," as both Saudi Arabia and Turkey emerged as arch foes to Syria.
Political observers said the Russians have already started making preparations to hold a third meeting in Moscow between representatives of the Syrian government and opposition parties, particularly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a meeting with a former opposition leader, Moaz al-Khatib.
Amid the activity in initiatives, al-Moallem visited Tehran last week to discuss the Iranian initiative, reports said.
Al-Moallem's visit to Iran also coincided with the visit of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to Tehran, during which al-Moallem stressed the need to implement the initiative of Putin on the formation of a regional alliance against terrorism.
The head of the Syrian diplomacy also discussed with Bogdanov the results of the later meetings with Gulf states officials, according to the state news agency SANA.
After finishing his meetings in Tehran, al-Moallem visited Oman, the first Gulf country he visited since the Gulf states cut off their relations with the Syrian government more than four years ago.
According to SANA, al-Moallem and his Omani counterpart Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdulla agreed it was time to bring together "constructive efforts" to end the Syria crisis.
"The visit of al-Moallem to Muscat is a breakthrough in the Arab countries' relation with Syria because Oman is known to be the communication channel between Syria and other Gulf states and the United States," Danura, the analyst said, reflecting local media reports that Oman is going to play the role of a mediator to reach a triple meeting between Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.
He said the visit to Oman reflects the change in the Saudi stance toward the Syrian crisis, especially after the meeting that was recently held in Saudi Arabia on the level of intelligence between Syrian National Security Bureau chief Ali Mamlouk and Saudi deputy Crown Prince Mahmmad Bin Salman.
The pro-Syrian government Al-Akhbar newspaper said the unusual sit-down was brokered by President Putin and aimed at breaking the ice between both parties, who eventually agreed to keep the newly established communication channel open.
The Lebanese Asafir newspaper said Russia was working to establish talks between Riyadh and Damascus, with Mamlouk, who is one of President Bashar al-Assad's top advisers, as an envoy.
"All of this is part of the Russian initiative to establish a coalition between Saudi Arabia and Syria," the analyst said.
Another sign in the change of the countries' stances toward Syria, Danura said, was the remarks of al-Moallem when he said that the United States had informed Syria that it was sending U.S.-trained Syrian fighters to battle the Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Syria, an indication that channels are also opened between Syria and the US.
"The results of this positive impact would take time but the recent diplomatic flurry is one of the immediate ones. The regional files are all connected," Danura said.
He added that "we are witnessing many initiatives and efforts that may not necessary be interacted with one another but surely they are parallel and will integrate at one point."
He voiced the government officials' stance that halting terrorism and its sources as a main factor to have a successful initiatives.
Aside from the Iranian deal, Danura said the current situation on ground and the expansion of the ultra-radical groups in the region made it necessary for the superpowers to seriously think about ending the conflict politically for fear of an implosion of terrorism toward their own countries, especially after the explosions that have rocked Saudi Arabia and Turkey and were later claimed by the IS.
Maher Morhej, another analyst, said "the events will accelerate and we will soon see the features of the solution and we will see a true and real coalition against terrorism unlike the recent U.S.-led coalition that has done so little to stem the momentum of IS and other terror groups."
"Iran has come forward as a main player in the region, especially after the nuclear deal," he said.
Earlier this year, al-Moallem speculated that 2015 will be the year of the beginning of the solution to Syria's crisis.
* to usher - einleiten
** flurry - große Aufregung, Hast

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