Putin adheres to dividing NATO; Americans believe their country should support allies in N,E Syria

Observers saw that the recent Russian-Turkish agreement on Idlib is unlikely to end the war there, but Putin has a long-term project, which is to split NATO by somewhat satisfying Erdogan, while US experts believe that Washington should intervene in Syria and support its allies in the north and east Syria.

Today, international newspapers touched upon the Russian-Turkish agreement and the chances of its success, in addition to the American role in Syria.

New York Times: Putin and Erdogan reach an agreement to stop the fighting in Syria

The international newspapers issued this morning dealt with several topics, the most prominent of which is the situation in Idlib and the recent Russian-Turkish agreement. In this context, the New York Times said: "While President Vladimir Putin welcomed the Turkish leader in Moscow, his primary goal is to protect his long-term project, i.e. to divide NATO.

After six hours of talks in the Kremlin, Russian and Turkish presidents announced on Thursday what they said was a deal to stop fighting in the Idlib region of Syria, which calmed the turbulent conflict that pushed the two countries to the brink of open war.

The deal is unlikely to end - as was the previous agreement on Idlib that Putin and Erdogan reached in September 2018 - the war in Syria, which started nine years ago killing up to 400,000 people, most of them are civilians, and it was not clear whether Assad, who was not part of the deal, will respect it or not.

The crisis in Idlib has pushed Russia, a global nuclear-armed force, and Turkey, a member of NATO, toward a direct military confrontation, a possibility that the two countries would be anxious to avoid.

The fighting dealt a heavy blow to Putin's previously successful efforts to embrace Erdogan in the hope of sowing discord within the US-led military coalition (NATO).

It also revived a divisive debate within Europe over refugees after Turkey dropped a previous agreement with the European Union to stop the flow of migrants through its territory.

Putin doubled his wager on Erdogan in September 2018 when he agreed in a meeting with the Turkish President in Sochi on the Black Sea, contrary to the advice of his generals, to curb the Syrian forces.

Dimitri Terrenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, predicted that Putin would "try to keep things evenly" with Turkey, and said there was now "a sense of disappointment" about what the Russian president considered the absurdity of Erdogan in response to Moscow's past support.

It is difficult to overcome the current crisis between Moscow and Ankara because Turkish blood was spilled by the Syrian forces that receive training by the Russian forces.

Terrenin said: The current tensions between Moscow and Ankara have given "a very realistic test of the relationship," as the two presidents tried to overcome in their own way more hawks in their army and political institutions to find a compromise, albeit only temporary.

"Bad peace is better than good fighting," Terrenin says. "Putin, who sees himself and is seen by others as a king, sees international relations as the business of kings."

He added that this approach will work only if the other side has the power of absolute hand like Putin does in Russia.

"Putin is the Tsar of Russia and Erdogan wants to be the Sultan of Turkey, but he is not, he always feels insecure and faces stiff opposition in his country," Putin said.

The Washington Post: Why Americans Should Care About Syria

In turn, the Washington Post said, "The situation in Syria is catastrophic. The Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are shelling the rebel-held enclave of Idlib, Turkey, which has been swept into conflict by chaos along its borders, is fundamentally at war with Damascus, and so is Moscow, as thousands of refugees are heading the Syrians again towards Europe, which could destabilize the situation there.

However, after nine years of war, the United States appears determined to continue to ignore what is happening in Syria, despite strong incentives, both moral and strategic, to act.

With Turkey and Russia approaching a violent confrontation in northwestern Syria, the situation on the ground is getting worse. A number of people have fled their homes in Idlib over the past two months. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are starving and living under trees in the dead of winter.

John Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said: "Now, there are 3 million Syrians gathered there, suffering from cold, and lacking water, sanitation and medical care."

Washington must intervene quickly, because what happens in Syria does not remain in Syria. A new wave of refugees will destabilize European democracies. The United States has interests throughout the region that will be threatened by escalating chaos. ISIS will seize the opportunity to revive itself, eventually when ISIS forms sufficiently strong fighters, they will attack the Americans wherever they can.

Some argue that since Assad is determined to restore Idlib, we must not interfere. The problem is that his next target is northeastern Syria, where there are several hundred American soldiers, which will make this our problem. If we remove these forces, we will lose all leverage to reach a political solution, and ISIS and Iran will fill the void.

After our problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, many Americans want to drive the United States out of the Middle East, but Syria is not Iraq, with a few hundred soldiers and some assistance to our allies, millions of lives can be saved from the cruel Assad rule, and if we allow this massacre, more massacres will come.

J.O


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