It seemed so promising six years ago, literally, everyone rose up against the government, to build a better future for Syria, none of them thought it’s going to turn out like this. The US started supporting the people, but made the same old mistake and didn’t support them fully, only words. This was an alarm for Iran, soon enough Iran started helping Assad, the US started helping opposition groups, giving men with unknown intentions and backgrounds guns, and that turned a simple revolution to one of the most complicated conflicts of the past decade.
What is certain is that everyone’s first goal in Syria is currently ISIS. ISIS will be defeated or at least will get weak enough to not threaten peace talks. What happens after that is a mystery which is only possible to solve if we have a complete understanding of the current situation.
The only people that won’t decide about Syria’s future will be Syrians, and that’s the sad truth.
USA, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and Arab nations will be the key players that decide about Syria’s future.
Four, five years ago, everyone would agree that Assad will be gone and Syria will have a US friendly government now, no one is sure.
For US and Israel, the most important mission is to install a secular “western friendly” government, for Iran and Russia the most important mission is to prevent that from happening. For Turkey currently, Kurds are the most important issue. And for Arab nations, the best possible scenario is to keep Syria in the current situation.
The only reason that the US backed up people of Syria was, obviously, to change Syria’s regime. For Israel, Syria was and is important because it’s their neighbor, and one of the most important things that Israel hasn’t achieved yet is to have a friendly neighbor. For Iran, Syria is important because it allows them to keep their influence in the region, like Iraq. For Russia it’s about controlling middle east, a game that they are losing to the USA, most Arab nations, and Israel which make the majority of Middle East are USA allies, only Iran, Iraq and Syria are left. Turkey, on the other hand, wants a stable Syria with ideally a neutral government, and of course, Turkey wants to finish the war with defeating Kurds.
Now you understand why this is so complicated, not to mention that these are only key players, China, Kurds and other countries want something out of Syria too.
So how will it all end?
Iran will only allow two possible scenarios to happen, first one will be Syria under an Assad like the regime, the second one will be to keep the Syria like what it’s right now. For Iran Syria is critical. To have influence in the region they need to keep Syria a friendly country or one without any powerful government.
Israel won’t allow an Assad like regime to rule Syria again, they don’t want another Hizbollah and Hamas near their borders, any scenario that won’t let anti-Israel groups take control is acceptable for Israel, that includes keeping Syria like what it’s right now.
For US and Russia, it’s all about controlling middle east, Russia probably won’t let Syria turn to another ally for the US. But the US might let Syria go.
The current or next US administration can change a lot of things in Syria if the America first policies continue, the US may actually leave Syria alone, of course not completely. But the US may allow Syria to lean towards Russia, they already have powerful enough allies in the Middle East and not to mention Arab nations wouldn’t dislike something like that to happen to some extent after all this makes the US dependent on them.
Turkey feels threatened by the development of events in Syria, Turkey is determined to maintain a certain presence in the country because, first, Turkey wants to prevent Kurds to get too powerful in Syria and also defeat them. Second, Erdogan desires to lead the Sunni Muslim world and become the leader of the middle east, And Syria can help them to achieve this goal. There are some events that can slightly change Turkey’s position, one would be the new movement of Kurds in Iraq for independence, this can make Turkey and Iran really close friends and change the current balance in Syria.
In the end, a lot of different key players and different interests only allows one scenario to happen and that’s continuous civil war in Syria. I think Syria can very well be the next Iraq, different small terrorist groups everywhere, weak government, different countries using the country, and just a land for other countries to fight over for until one of them either run out of money or lost interest. Till that time, keeping Syria in the current situation and only removing ISIS seems like the only and best possible scenario for everyone other than Syrians.
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