On January 25, US president Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the Pentagon and the State Department to craft a plan to create several safe zones in Syria for the civilians fleeing the 5-year-old bloodshed there – in order to stop the refugees entering the US and the European Union nations.
Commenting on Donald Trump’s executive order, Israeli army connected newspaper DEBKAfile (January 26, 2017) said that Putin’s proposal is to create three zones – each controlled by the US, Russia and Turkey – thus ousting both Iran and Hizbullah from Syrian which would result in the fall of president Bashar al-Assad from power.
“A deal has been struck between US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin this week to establish US, Russian and Turkish security zones in Syria. This scheme will transfer military control of the country to those three powers. Each of them will be responsible for a zone whose borders will be defined and agreed upon by Washington, Moscow and Ankara. As part of this arrangement, all forces from the Iranian military, the pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah will be required to leave Syria. The US military is to have two security zones – one covering the entire area east of the Euphrates River up to the Iraqi border including Kurdish areas (see attached map). This arrangement will partly resurrect the accord reached in late 2015 by US President Barack Obamaand Putin, for the division of Syria into areas of influence. All territory east of the Euphrates was allocated to the US, with Russia taking responsibility for all areas west of the river until the Mediterranean coast,” claimed DEBKAfile.
I’m not surprised by DEBKA’s revelation. I reported in an earlier post that it were Iran and Hizbullah which defended Bashar al-Assad for three-and-half years while Putin played golf with Netanyahu and Erdogan on the sideline. Putin got involved in Syria after Netanyahu convinced him that a Syrian regime under Iran-Hizbullah military influence would pose a great threat to Israel in the future.
Even if Russia-US-Turkey succeed in isolating Syria from non-Arab Iran – they cannot isolate Hizbullah from Syria. Both Syrian and Hizbullah are Arabs. Lebanon was part of Syria until WWI, and both countries have common religious, cultural and anti-Israel values. In 2015, former US president Jimmy Carter warned Obama that there would never be peace in Syria without Iranian blessings.
On January 25, the Jewish Wall Street Journal, reported that Donald Trump’s ‘safe zones’ plan represents a significant policy reversal from Barack Obama administration which long resisted pressure from Israel and America’s Arab allies in the region to establish safe zones along Syrian-Israel and Syrian-Turkey borders.
On January 23, Javier Solana, former secretary-general NATO advised Donald Trump to think seriously about America’s interests, and those of the region before escalating America’s military involvement. If he does, he will realize that the alternative to contributing to regional stability is to risk an even greater nightmare. He also told Putin to end his military adventure in Syria. As far as Turkey is concerned, he said that Erdogan is seeking an outcome to the Syrian conflict that aligns with its own policy toward the Kurds.