Political Observation - Syrian Situation Updates & Anticipation of the Caesar Act

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - Syrian Situation Updates & Anticipation of the Caesar Act 

Federation is beyond a shadow of a doubt the American vision for Syria now that northern Syria has been separated by a geographic strip stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Iraqi border, which is deemed as part of the basic arrangements for the rise of a Kurdish entity which in the future will include areas of Iraq, Turkey and Iran. The rise of the Kurdish entity has, however, been deferred and plans are afoot to establish it within a Syrian federation as a first step towards total separation in the future, exactly as America did in Iraq, especially since the Kurdish issue is from an American perspective related to federalising Turkey rather than Syria. 

America’s seriousness vis-à-vis the Kurdish entity is reflected in her attempt to topple the regime of Erdoğan, tighten the noose around Turkey, generate a nucleus for the Kurdish entity through the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum on independence and establish a fully-equipped Kurdish army under the guise of fighting Daesh. Erdoğan for his part was instrumental in nullifying the US pretexts, fighting Daesh and then launching Operation Peace Spring as America continued backing the Kurds. This enabled Turkey to establish a buffer zone between east and west Euphrates, corroborate her economic influence through the Turkish lira which became a safe haven for the residents, intensify her military presence in Idlib and thwarting the attempts to establish a viable Kurdish entity with a Mediterranean coastline. This led America to freeze the Kurdish entity project and focus on tackling the Syrian situation due to the persistent exigencies of the Deal of the Century, which is expected to bolster Trump’s chances of winning the elections, knowing that America needs Erdoğan’s help in the Idlib file to maintain an incubating area for the Syrian opposition and to attract the assistance of Europe which in turn is eager to maintain a safe haven for the migrants whose waves, laden with terrorism, worries the Europeans as well as the Turks. 

All this has been unfolding amidst Russia’s interest in Idlib due to security considerations related to her military bases close to the Syrian coastline, and considerations related to her eagerness to maintain a seat guaranteeing her economic, political and security interest and enabling her to blackmail Europe and Turkey; this is what led Moscow to cling to Bashar who derives his survival from the conflict of interests between the influential forces in Syria, his role in staging military skirmishes and reshuffling the political cards such as his hampering of negotiations and the drafting of the constitution, thus making his survival and ouster dependent on the tussles and the agreements between foreign stakeholders. 

With America now dominating the agricultural lands and the oilfields in east Euphrates, which represent the lifeblood of the Syrian economy and the main support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) loyal to Washington, she has started undertaking a host of steps aimed at removing the obstacles impeding the Deal of the Century, the most important of which are downsizing the Iranian role, stirring up the still waters of Lebanon to shift the centres of political weight, changing the Iraqi government and liberating it from the shackles of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) loyal to Iran and dwarfing their influence; and now that America has set about executing these steps, Bashar Assad no longer fits in the equation of the regime as his presence tarnishes the American project which the US administration is eager to have it embraced by the masses, the opposition forces and the fighting groups which had committed themselves to removing him, not to mention the regime’s inability to survive after having been submerged with a sea of challenges. 

Several indications have emerged suggesting the removal of Bashar Assad through soft force by dismantling his close circle, exerting economic pressure and discarding the armed groups, especially as the protests that have recently erupted in As-Suwayda and the Golan, and the voices calling for his departure along the Alawite coastline are not like the protests that hoisted Islamic slogans and declared “Jihad”; and this makes the atmosphere of change ripe to impose an alternative which will be immune against the accusation of “Islamic terrorism”, which in the past justified Iranian and Russian intervention and terrorised the Europeans and the rulers of the region. 

In parallel to this, the US administration will put into effect the Caesar Act tomorrow, Wednesday 17 June 2020, which will in fact not touch the Syrian regime as much as Russia and Iran, as well as the forces loyal to the regime in Lebanon and Iran. The Caesar Act will be an obstacle in the face of America’s rivals in the reconstruction project and will deprive the masses in Syria from having access to their own riches, aggravate their suffering, strip them of their volition and suffocate them so that they may accept the foreign solutions with eagerness and submission under the weight of security chaos, economic collapse and starvation expected to be caused by that act. 

The most prominent sign indicating the end Bashar’s shelf-life amidst the gloomy Syrian situation and the developments in Libya is perhaps the announcement by Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in which he said that his country was prepared to engage in a comprehensive dialogue with the US on Syria; this is an unconventional juncture revealing that Russia is no longer keen on protecting Bashar as the state is about to crumble and the regime about to disintegrate and collapse. This explains Russia’s interest in initiating the “constitutional committee”, her dissatisfaction with Bashar and her indifference towards his survival, as well as her endeavour to institutionalise military activity in order to weaken the forces of Maher Assad and the sections loyal to Iran within the army and the security services in favour of the defence ministry. Averting dropping into the Syrian economic quagmire and the bill of its fallout, and protecting her interests, especially her military bases on the Mediterranean Sea, has become Russia’s main concern and priority, knowing that the Caesar Act is directed at her as well as the Syrian regime and that it will paralyse Syrian financial and economic activity by declaring the Syrian Central Bank a money-laundering institution. Besides, America would only consider freezing the Caesar Act if the UN Security Council resolution 2254 is implemented, which stipulates that “the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, with a view to full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 as endorsed by resolution 2118 (2013), including through the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers, which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions.” The resolution also “further expresses its support for free and fair elections, pursuant to the new constitution, to be held within 18 months and administered under supervision of the United Nations.” All this makes Russia’s gamble on Bashar a losing bet.

Finally, despite all the calamities that has befallen our Ummah who is lacking any productive action, there is however no greater loss than that of her Deen, the squandering of which had a major impact on emboldening her enemies to plunder her resources and the collaborators and traitors to rule her and tinker with fate. We pray to Allah the Almighty to thwart their endeavour, bring back our Ummah to her Deen in a beautiful way, and grant her righteousness and guidance; He is the Guardian of this and most capable of it. 

24 Shawwal 1441h
16 June 2020