OPINION | Lausanne Meeting on Syria, a Trump Card for the Anti-Terror Front

OPINION | Lausanne Meeting on Syria, a Trump Card for the Anti-Terror Front

By Ja’far Haqpanah 
International Issues Analyst 

Image Attribute: (c) REUTERS / Jean-Christophe Bott / Pool via Sputnik International

Image Attribute: (c) REUTERS / Jean-Christophe Bott / Pool via Sputnik International

The latest round of Syria peace talks was held in the Swiss city of Lausanne at a time that it displayed major differences with previous Syria meeting. During the previous meeting, which was held attended by a higher number of countries, many attending states were ineffective parties to Syria crisis and most of them belonged to the opposition front that is fighting against Syria’s President Bashar Assad. In parallel to those meetings, frequent meetings were held in which only the United States and Russia were present. Therefore, the latest Syria meeting in Lausanne was, in fact, the first such meeting to be attended by main international and regional actors effective in Syria crisis, and the composition of countries invited to the gathering showed that there is some sort of balance among different viewpoints present at the meeting on the political future of Syria. Although the mere existence of this balance could mean that the Lausanne meeting would not reach any tangible results in short run, it also proved that the anti-terrorism front, which supports the central government in Syria, has been finally able to get this balance established and make the opposite side accept it.

Perhaps it was for this reason that various countries, which are opposed to Bashar Assad’s government, chose a new grouping for the next meeting in London in order to achieve their objectives. As a result, through the addition of Germany, France and the UK, which hosted the next Syria meeting, they tried to bolster the political front that seeks to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad. By doing this, they also tried through media ballyhoo to revive past approaches that prevailed in Syria talks. However, the effort indicated the failure and inability of these countries, which have not been able to forge international consensus on their desired approach. As a result, they have no choice, but to pursue an internal understanding and follow the policy of convincing and appeasing those countries that are disillusioned with the current situation such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

From this viewpoint, Iran’s presence in the Lausanne meeting, which came true after the precondition for the presence of Iraq and Egypt in the meeting was met, could be considered as an effective boost to creating balance in negotiations and stabilizing the achievements of the fight against terrorism in Syria.

Another aspect of the effects of the Lausanne meeting was its impact on the issue of fighting against the Daesh terrorist in Iraq. The Lausanne meeting was a good venue for extending the fight against Daesh into Iraq as well. Since there were rumors that part of Takfiri terrorists were supposed to be transferred from the Syrian city of Aleppo to the Iraqi city of Mosul and also in view of excessive demands raised by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on the sidelines of the fifth joint meeting between Turkey and the member states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, the Lausanne meeting managed to defuse that situation. It also turned into a diplomatic trump card in the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the central government in Iraq in their effort to promote the popular fight against terrorism and liberate the city of Mosul from Daesh without any need for the presence of big powers.

All told, it is clear that Syria negotiations in London were held at a time that the Syria crisis is reaching its turning point. At present, with regard to operational issues and the battle on the ground, the initiative is no more in the hands of the opposition of President Bashar Assad and their international supporters. This situation is not desirable for the opposition groups and they are therefore trying to kill time. They have set their sight on the results of the US presidential election and hope that through changes at the helm of the White House, they would be able to strengthen their position. Of course, Russia is also trying on the other hand to make the most of the void created by the absence of the United States in the region in order to maintain its position and operational state in Syria.

In the meantime, the point, which must be taken into account by the Islamic Republic of Iran, is increased moves in the region and new groupings in the Middle East, a positive example of which can be found ineffective measures that Iran has taken to boost interaction with the government of Egypt. 

This capacity can be also used with regard to other Arab countries in the region, which will face a threat from Takfiri groups in the future. Meanwhile, it is very important to create a link between the future outlook of Syria and that of Iraq following the collapse of Daesh and this can be among Iran’s regional initiatives, because due to activities of Daesh, we will be facing a new region in the future. Therefore, Iran should pursue the goal of activating anti-terror diplomacy in cooperation with a wider spectrum of countries, including Central Asian states, countries in Caucasus and even African states. Iran must also have an eye to the European Union, whose members are among countries with the strong motivation to fight the consequences of the spread of extremism and terrorism after possible withdrawal of terrorist forces from Iraq and Syria.

This article has been originally published at IranReview.org on October 19, 2016. All rights are reserved by the Original Publisher.

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Disclaimer: This article represents the view of the author(s) alone and not IndraStra Global.
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