Impact on Issues and Uncertainties

? Degree of influence of Russia – and now possibly Iran – on Turkey compared with Turkey’s perception of threat related to a Kurdish polity on its southern flank (critical uncertainty)

➚➚  Turkey’s perception of threat

➚➚ to  Survival of the Kurdish-led Federation of Northern Syria
➚➚ to ➂ Constructive peace for Syria

  to  Middle East Tension
Iran influence
➚➚  Russia influence
 Threat to Israel
➚➚ ➃ U.S. influence trial – likely leading to ➘➘ U.S. influence

➚➚ ?  U.S. Russia global tensions

 Western NGOs and then businesses prospects in Syria

On 1 November 2017, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the President of Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani met in Teheran.

For previous and other signals check the

Horizon Scanning Board

Friendly statements followed. Iran stressed “the positive momentum in the bilateral relations between Russia and Iran”, an “important role in promoting peace and stability” for the two countries, and the fact that “the Iranian government is committed to further strengthening relations with Russia, our important neighbour and friend, and advancing cooperation on peace and security matters.” Meanwhile, Rosneft and the National Iranian Oil Company sign oil and gas strategic cooperation agreement. Reuters specify that the global amount of possible projects could represent up to  USD 30 bn.

More specifically on Syria, the Iranian President stated that “The development of trilateral cooperation in the Russia-Iran-Turkey format indicates that Syria is in the process of regaining peace and stability in the country.” Crucially, during the press conference, President Putin asserted that

“We have evaluated the security situation in the region in details, discussed the issues related to the Iranian nuclear deal and, of course, focused on the situation in Syria. I would like to stress that we are working with Iran in a very productive way. We are able to agree our positions on the Syrian issues.” [my emphasis] – Russian President Vladimir Putin – 1 November 2017, Teheran.

This visit takes place, among others within the context of the Russian Federation effort to see its proposal to hold in Sochi, “a Congress of the national dialogue, gathering all parties of the Syrian conflict in November, as discussed during the latest Astana talks. There, the three guarantors of the ceasefire regime in the Syrian Arab Republic – The Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey – initially agreed to at least discuss the Russian Federation proposal in their 31 October joint statement.

This meeting, as pointed out in our previous related Signal, includes the Syrian Kurds.

As a result, President Erdogan, as expected, declared the inclusion of the Kurds as unacceptable.

Hence obtaining Iran’s support in the matter, is even more crucial, besides, of course, seeing the government of Bashar al-Assad accepting the Russian congress, and obviously favoured perspective of a Syria organised according to a federal model.

The prospects for peace in Syria, including, most crucially, of a constructive peace, inclusive of all actors and allowing for reconstruction has risen as a result.

Related

Towards Renewed War in Syria? The Kurds and Turkey

“The Middle East Powder Keg and the Great Battle for Raqqa

Which U.S. Decline? The View from the U.S. National Intelligence Council

Signals: Talks between Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga; President Barzani Steps Down; Iran…

Similarly, the odds for the Kurds to see their innovative project for a Kurdish led polity – the Federation of Northern Syria – within a unitary Syria have also increased.

If and how Russia – and potentially Iran – will succeed in getting Turkey to accept this specific project including the Kurds for Syria remains a critical uncertainty.

If Russia was fully succeeding in bringing this specific peace to Syria, not only would the possibility of stabilisation in the Middle East be seriously enhanced, but Russia’s influence and capacity to deliver in the region and worldwide would be critically reinforced.

As a result, the U.S., if their primary aim is to remain dominant, and considering that the Syrian Peace would involve both Iran and Russia, two of their current declared quasi-foes,  could seek to reestablish preeminence, possibly looking for ways to make sure Russia’s plans do not succeed. However, in the light of what happened recently in Iraq, they may not have anymore such a power in the region. Other escalating actions elsewhere then would have to be envisioned.

Meeting with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani (retranslated): Mr President, welcome to the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are very glad to welcome you here, in Tehran. Apart from our commitment to developing bilateral relations, we have also reached a new stage in the development of international relations between Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan.

Rosneft and National Iranian Oil Company sign oil and gas strategic cooperation agreement

During the visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Islamic Republic of Iran Rosneft Oil Company and National Iranian Oil Company signed the “Road Map and Key Terms of Strategic Cooperation in the Field of Oil and Gas”.

Leaders of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan Hold Presser in Tehran

Middle East Get short URL Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Ilham Aliyev are speaking before the press after trilateral talks in the Iranian capital on Wednesday. In his speech the Russian leader pointed out several important aspects of the trilateral cooperation, noting that ensuring regional stability and safety was one of the main priorities.

Turkey says unacceptable to invite Syrian Kurdish YPG to Astana talks: Erdogan spokesman

ANKARA: Turkey cannot accept the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia being invited to Syria talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana, a spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.A senior Kurdish official said on Tuesday Russia had invited the Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria to a proposed congress of Syria’s rival parties in November, as Moscow seeks to launch a new initiative to end the Syrian conflict.Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkish and Russian officials had discussed the issue and that he had held meetings of his own to “solve the problem on the spot.”

Syrian opposition rejects Russia-sponsored peace initiative

BEIRUT/AMMAN/ANKARA (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition rejected a Russian-sponsored initiative to reach a political settlement to the civil war, as Turkey protested against moves to involve Kurdish groups, in an early setback to Moscow’s peacemaking bid.

Совместное заявление Ирана, России и Турции по итогам Международной встречи по Сирии в Астане, 30-31 октября 2017

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Featured image: Meeting with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani. November 1, 2017 Tehran. Website of the President of the Russian Federation – Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

About the author: Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the Director of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues. Her current focus is on Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Science, and Security. She teaches at Master level at SciencesPo-PSIA.

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