Washington to its allies…Let us divide Syria

Washington to its allies: Let us divide Syria

Diplomatic document reveals the US plan in the face of Russia and Iran

The participants gave themselves a deadline to implement the US plan (AFP)

US policy in Syria has changed. After a long time in deciding what they would do after the defeat of the “Da’ash”, the Americans decided to prolong the war by staying behind the eastern bank of the Euphrates and working on a detailed plan to divide the country. Over the past two months, US diplomacy has been briefing allies on the plan in preparation for its launch and implementation. In this context, Al-Akhbar received a diplomatic cable from the British Embassy in Washington, summarizing the US strategy to reach a division of Syria as presented by David Satterfield during a meeting in Washington on 11 October last year by representatives of the “Syria”

Mohammed Balout, Walid Sharara

The US fragmentation project in Syria is no longer in the realm of analysis, not in the Russian diplomatic relations with Washington. The words of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have emerged in recent days that Washington is planning to divide. After last week’s strike by US air and missile destroyers of Russian and Syrian forces, last week tried to cross the “border” over floating bridges from the western Euphrates to the east. The United States worked to establish a dividing line of fire between Suritin, west of the Euphrates and its east.

But what happened was not a lightning bolt in a clear diplomatic or field sky. The massacre by US warplanes of the “Wagner” fighters of the Russian army in Syria has drawn the border and the future beyond the Euphrates to the east, as the Americans have prepared for weeks. This comes after the new National Security Council matured on Syria. The Americans knew their allies in the Syria Group six weeks ago that the next goal is to separate the east from the rest of the Syrian map. The White House allocated $ 4 billion a year to finance the forces that Will work in the area in addition to training the border guard force to be established to dissolve the Kurdish dominance in Syria’s democratic forces east of the river, and facilitate the creation of political opposition east of the river representing the region, and prevent the return of the Syrian army.
In a five-page diplomatic cable from the British Embassy in Washington, which the News received, the diplomat and Middle East expert Benjamin Norman summarizes the British Foreign Office in London, the new US strategy to reach the division of Syria, Middle East, David Satterfield during a meeting in Washington on the eleventh of last month representatives of the «Syria Group» America.
The meeting was attended by Satterfield, head of Syria’s team at the British Foreign Office Hugh Clary, and the head of the Middle East and North Africa division of the French Foreign Ministry, Jerome Bonnafon. Two Arab allies of Washington in its partition plan attended the meeting: Advisor to the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nawaf Wasfi al-Tal, and the security official in the Saudi Interior Ministry Brigadier Jamal al-Aqeel.
The brief cable Satterfield speaks frankly about the goal the United States will pursue from now on, dividing and separating the Syrian east and the north-east of the country. Satterfield said, as outlined in the British brief, that the plan must be made up of five points: dividing Syria, sabotaging Sochi, absorbing Turkey, issuing instructions to international mediator Stephane de Mistura to restore Geneva and implementing an eight-point paper containing the solution in Syria was Washington submitted it to the last meeting of the Syrian opposition and representatives of the government in Vienna on the 26th of last month. The participants gave themselves a deadline to implement the plan when they welcomed the US proposals “and called for concrete progress in Syria in 2018 and to respond to the propaganda of the Russian victory.”
Satterfield told the audience that President Donald Trump had decided to maintain an important military force in Syria, despite the defeat of the “Dahesh,” and that the US administration had allocated $ 4 billion a year to the operation, which Western sources say would also spend on expanding US bases in Kurdish-controlled territory Especially in Rumailan in the far east of Syria and in Ain al-Arab (Kubani) on the Syrian-Turkish border. He said the aim was to prevent Iranians from long-term concentration in Syria or to impose themselves on the tracks of a political solution. The group decided to confront the Russian monopolization politically in determining the future of the political system in Syria by providing material and political support to Stefan de Mistura to strengthen the Geneva process, in the face of Sochi. Everyone welcomed these proposals, focusing on the other field and process to meet the «Russian desire to reach a political solution».
The United Nations will play a big role in the US plan to divide Syria. Priority will be given to strengthening the Geneva process. The Americans told the audience that they would no longer participate in the Astana meetings and that they had reduced their diplomatic representation to the lowest level, to return the political process to Geneva. The minutes of the meeting say that the sponsors acknowledged that Geneva had failed despite the efforts made by Stephane de Mistura to revive it. They expressed reservations about the cease-fire in Syria under the current field conditions and with the retreat of the opposition and considered it useless to introduce the cease-fire proposal in the Geneva process because In fact, “we do not have the ability to prevent the regime from gnawing the pockets that the opposition still maintains in Idlib and the eastern Ghouta,” according to the notes.

“We advised the opposition not to support the idea of ​​a transitional government, and the opposition should stop waving the interim government on every occasion,” Satterfield told the assembly. “The Americans are on the road to partition. They do not care about the idea of ​​a transitional government. . The Americans said that the aim of their diplomatic initiatives is to preserve their image and show their flexibility and movement, while not using the opposition in these negotiations without abandoning their ultimate goal of dividing Syria and Assad’s departure. The Americans explained to everyone that “the plan is to work to establish institutions and conditions for elections that Bashar al-Assad can not win, so there is no obvious justification for preventing Assad from participating in the elections.” The meeting approved a strategy for Russia to test its intentions to go to the right conditions for holding elections under the auspices of the United Nations «and dragged the regime to negotiate a new constitution, and not satisfied with the words of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Satterfield said: “We will benefit positively from the fragility of Vladimir Putin’s position in the electoral phase in order to push the Russians to abandon President Assad through more meetings in the Security Council and the largest media campaign against him.”
The Americans took a step toward establishing a diplomatic channel with East Euphrates and the Kurds by appointing William Robock as ambassador to the Syrian Democratic Forces, Satterfield told the meeting. They also presented proposals that would give more recognition and diplomatic weight to the Kurds in the negotiating process without provoking the Turks, especially since they were aware of the American steps in this direction, which justified the Turks by the attack on Afrin. The Americans also proposed to sink the Kurdish representation in the Geneva negotiations under the banner of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” and to form a delegation representing East Euphrates to be implemented by the delegation and the opposition coalition delegation to the delegation of the Syrian government.


Participants in the meeting

Benjamin Norman, prepared the meeting minutes sent to the British Foreign Office, the Middle East Foreign and Security Policy Expert at the British Embassy in Washington.
Hugh Clare, head of the Syria team at the British Foreign Office.
Jerome Bonnafon, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Division of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
– David Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East.
Nawaf Wasfi Al-Tal, Advisor to the Jordanian Foreign Minister.
Brigadier General Jamal al-Aqeel, a Saudi security official.


Introduction

The first meeting of the US mini-working group on Syria after President Donald Trump congratulated the presence of US troops in the country. It was agreed to provide immediate support to Stephan de Mistura to balance Russian efforts, to re-activate the Geneva process structurally, to renegotiate humanitarian issues, and to prisoners … The mini-group will present proposals on the Syrian constitution and elections, and Russia’s understanding of what President Bashar al- Assad in the next round of negotiations to be held in Vienna on 26 January. The ministers will meet in Paris on January 23 to agree on this approach and throw the gauntlet at the Russians. Tilerson will deliver a keynote address on Syria next week.


Comments of the author of the document

Point 18: This meeting achieved progress according to Syrian standards. The United States has reasserted its leadership as it wishes, which Tilerson will make clear in a speech on Syria at the Hoover Institution. Satterfield reiterated US commitment to the political track, and in separate meetings (with Brian Hook). It was clear that Tilerson would help propel the vehicle forward.
Point 19: We now have a solid plan for the next three weeks. However, there was a debate on how to continue to pressure Russia, and even multiply it if they did not respond to our requests concerning the Syrian regime, as we hope. We should continue what we have started in this area by focusing on the terrible humanitarian situation and Russian complicity with bombing against civilians.
Point 20: (Addressing Satterfield) Thank you so much for you and Hugh for attending this meeting. The United States has expressed its gratitude for our efforts and support in the months that have passed, having crystallized its strategy, that it is a good working day.
Best regards
Benjamin Norman. Foreign and Security Policy. British Embassy, ​​Washington.