Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Syrians hope US-Russian consensus to topple Assad as 2021 presidential election nears

Opinion | 2020-04-24 15:05:38
Syrians hope US-Russian consensus to topple Assad as 2021 presidential election nears
 (Zaman Al Wasl)- Less than a year remains until the presidential elections in Syria, and while analysts predicted that by mid-2020, the new constitution would be ready, the issues of war and local, regional, and international conflicts over the country are not yet resolved.

The United States and some European countries were expected to exert more pressure to achieve a smooth political transition and transparent elections under international supervision that guarantees the participation of millions of refugees, in order to move to the next stage. However, currently, the world is preoccupied with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), which can increase the chances of uprooting the regime.

There is an implicit Russian-American-European decision to end Bashar al-Assad’s reign, that even Israel, which usually stands as a contestant to change the leadership in Syria, has become part of.

The proposal about a US-European plan to increase pressure on the regime is not abandoned. In fact, the way was cleared for Russia to dislocate the regime’s relation with Iran in order to avoid a clash with it. During the past month, and after intense targeting of Iranian sites all over Syrian territory, leaks on the movements of the Fourth Division, led by Maher al-Assad, has increased.

Within weeks, not only will the U.S. Caesar Act come into effect, but also the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will issue a qualitative report that will confirm the regime's responsibility for the sarin gas attacks on the civilians of al-Latmamen, Hama, in March 2017.

In addition, recently, trial balloons about the new government’s potential structure and the fate of the Assad family and its entourage are being sent out, as well as pushing specific people to announce their presidential candidacy. 

Apparently, international institutions are behind the content that is being presented, meaning that behind the list of names presented is another list meant for pushing for the selection of a person that is agreed upon by all conflicting powers. Among the names in circulation are Manaf Tlass and Ali Mamlouk, but the nature of government is still undetermined, whether it will be military, civil-military, transitional, or something else.

However, this plan does not guarantee Iran’s interests, which can force the US to keep watch in order to prevent any obstruction, which, according to analysts, Iran can easily pursue by mobilizing its militia in some areas, and its own party within the Syrian regime that holds a direct control over the decision-making processes in Damascus.
Meanwhile, Assad is trying to take advantage of this situation and to elude Russia’s conditions to cut Iran off, which leads Moscow to occasionally leak information about the extent of corruption in Assad’s regime and its inability to resolve it. In reality, Russia is no longer able to fund military operations to protect Bashar al-Assad without returns, with the pressure on its economy intensifying due to falling oil prices.

The next few months will reveal major developments in the issue of war and political settlement in Syria, and while, generally, it can be considered a victory for the will to change that the Syrians have demanded, in practice, it is a mere page turned in a large book.

Zaman Al Wasl
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