MENA Mashup: Bye-Bye Sykes-Picot, Game-Changers, and, Tiddlywinks

5:05 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had recently raised the topic of redrawing the borders of Syria and/or the Middle East…

An opening emerges for Syria talks

…Here, American diplomatic pressure will be crucial. To empower Idriss, the United States may expand its current training and nonlethal assistance to include supplying weapons — even as its real hopes remain with a negotiated peace deal backed by Russia.

For Russia, the Syrian endgame offers a test of President Vladimir Putin’s sincerity and his clout. He regally left the details to Lavrov Tuesday, after keeping Kerry waiting three hours.

This lèse-majesté may impress Russians, but it won’t get the job done on Syria. If Putin has finally come to understand that Russia would potentially suffer most from the dissolution of the 1916 Sykes-Picot boundaries in the Middle East, then he will have to put his personal political energy behind the deal, rather than making a handoff to Lavrov.

The extremists also get a vote in this process, unfortunately. Hard-liners within Assad’s camp could step up their use of chemical weapons, hoping to set off a regional bonfire. Sunni jihadists could slaughter Alawites, in revenge for past attacks but also to torpedo a peace deal. Hezbollah and Iran could decide that their interests would be so harmed by Assad’s removal that they would rather torch Syria and take their chances. And Israel could continue its recent attacks, drawing Arab reprisals.

There are many ways this peace initiative could fail, but at least it has begun.

Honestly, do take a gander at what the Sykes–Picot Agreement is all about…!

Now, let’s look at recent developments from ‘on the ground’… Read the rest of this entry →