Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Russian-Iranian Dispute, Preparation for Settlement in Syria

Russian-Iranian Dispute, Preparation for Settlement in Syria

Wednesday, 13 June, 2018 - 10:30
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit (SCO) in Qingdao, China June 9, 2018. Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Kremlin via REUTERS
Moscow – Raed Jaber
Russian media was preoccupied last week following the recent gap between Russia and Iran in Syria, on the backdrop of the understandings reached between Moscow and Tel Aviv regarding the necessity of Iran and its militias to withdraw from the south of Syria.

As Russia attempts to reach a final settlement in Syria, some contradictions appeared in the Iranian priorities.

The Russian statements regarding the file were accompanied with field movements, including reinforcing the presence of Russian military police in Ghouta and some towns in the Syrian capital, not to mention the manometer conducted by Moscow in Al-Qusayr.

Russian experts considered that the aim of these movements was to send messages to the regime and Iran that Moscow is serious in its suggestion of the necessity of offering clear compensations by the regime and Iran to launch the settlement.

In the same context, the media published reports about the fact that the relation has deteriorated – according to the reports, two high-rank officials in the regional coalition that supports Syria have affirmed that the Russian forces' presence in Syria near the Lebanese border this week led to tension with the pro-Iranian forces including “Hezbollah” that has objected over the uncoordinated move.

Business New Europe said in an article under the title “Russia and Iran: Friends and Silent Foes” written by Emil Avdaliani that, “... real differences between war-time allies start to emerge only after the main hostilities are over.

Iran has almost solidified its land reach to the Mediterranean via Syria and Moscow could well be worried that a strong Iran would be less susceptible to following the Russian lead. Russia’s eventual level of willingness to listen to Israel when it comes to containing Iran in Syria could well attune to its own objectives.”

Amid these movements, Russian experts see that Moscow hasn’t reached a final decision to face the Iranian presence in Syria and that the talks about the south and the agreements with Tel Aviv have reflected a Russian wish to launch a comprehensive dialogue.

The Russian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Moscow senses that Iran would be more flexible to talk about reducing and not ending the presence in Syria, but the price in return hasn’t been put on the dialogue table yet.

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