First Real Process to Stop the War in Syria

Experience showed that negotiations with the US on the delimitation between the moderate opposition and the Islamists in Syria are useless, says Valdai Club expert Viktor Nadein-Raevsky. At the same time, there is a hope that the cooperation between Russia and Turkey and Iran will help to resolve the Syrian crisis.

After talks with heads of diplomatic missions of Iran and Turkey, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that three countries are ready to become guarantors of peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition. According to Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, Researcher of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), this format is much more promising than attempts to cooperate with the United States on the Syrian issue.

"Several times we negotiated with the Americans, trying to isolate the moderate opposition and to end the war - the expert said. - The Americans have not come to a solution. They trained the opposition - for example, in Jordan they have very serious camps, in Rojava in northern Syria the US special forces train the Kurds, plus training camps in the Turkish territory. Properly from the Turkish territory the majority of militants come to Syria, including those from the CIS countries".

According to Nadein-Raevsky, the continuation of negotiations with the United States is futile. "It is useless to hold talks with the Americans. But we try at least to neutralize them, because the Americans put a spoke in the wheel - in fact they are not the participants at the process, but try to disrupt everything, - the expert said. – It is impossible to alter our Western partners, and we need to understand it. Russia will always be subject to criticism from their side, no matter what it is doing. But this does not mean that Russia should not act in the interests to stop this war. "

Nadein-Raevsky said that when the restoration of the relations with Turkey began, one of the conditions was cooperation on the Syrian issue. "As you can see, the results are available. Fighting in Aleppo has stopped, militants are removed, some of them - around 3 000 - surrendered to the government forces and came under the amnesty. There is a part of irreconcilable persons, they are not going to lay down their arms. But thanks to the cooperation we can manage to solve this problem, "- the expert said.

After talks in Moscow the Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işik called successful the operation to free Aleppo. However, according to Nadein-Raevsky, it does not mean the end of the war. In order to stop the bloodshed, it is necessary to bring the parties to the negotiating table. "A very important player in this field is Iran. This is because the Revolutionary Guards and Iranian volunteers are fighting here. Moreover, Hezbollah works together with Iran and is an important backbone of the Syrian government, "- the expert said.

"I recall a historical fact. Russia and Iran were able to stop the civil war in Tajikistan. Yes, it required very difficult negotiations. But as a result, the armed opposition was included into defense and law enforcement agencies of the country, politicians – into the power structures, problems in parliament were resolved, including the constitutional reconstruction. All these are things that we need to agree on and make them suitable for both parties. It would require, of course, concessions from both sides. "

However, as Nadein-Raevsky noted, moderate and the most radical opposition is interested to stop the negotiation process, because their goal is to seize the power and to subordinate completely the state to Sharia laws. "Therefore, the path will not be easy. But in any case we need to move forward– there is no other way, otherwise the war will not stop, "- Nadein-Raevsky said.

"I am cautiously optimistic. I think that these steps are correct and reasonable. It will be necessary also to work on other international political issues: to stop funding of these groups from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two main sponsors - they deliver the money to kill, - the expert said. - Of course, ISIS itself earns money imposing special taxes against the people, forcing to work for militants. Everything was on sale: stolen oil, farmers crops from the captured areas, equipment from factories, which have been moved out through the territory of Turkey and so on. On this the power and authority of ISIS is based ".

"We started the real process to stop the war. That is the essence of the events and the possible success of the final result. It seems that our hope is not unfounded and thanks to the tripartite cooperation we can solve the problem and stop the war ", - Nadein-Raevsky concluded.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.