What will be keenly watched in the period ahead, therefore, is how the new alchemy transforms Russian-Saudi relationship on the whole, especially given the backdrop of cloud of uncertainty hanging heavily on US-Saudi ties at present.
There’s no such thing as the so-called “Crimean Corridor”, but it plays to Poroshenko’s domestic political interests to pretend that there is, and if he’s even partially successful at manipulating international perceptions surrounding this fake news narrative.
Accusing one’s adversaries of the exact same thing that you yourself are doing is a classic method of deflecting attention from one’s own actions by pretending that you’re being victimized by the selfsame, which therefore “justifies” escalating tensions.
The US is increasingly being squeezed out of the real Afghan peace process streamlined by the Golden Ring of multipolar Great Powers and led by the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani Trilateral, hence Khalilzad’s desperate attempt to make it seem like America still matters.
No doubt, the steady build-up of NATO on Russia’s western border provides the backdrop to the demise of the INF Treaty. The US seeks a shift in the strategic balance in its favor. And it is shaking off all constraints limiting its arms build-up.
Russia and Europe do not need any kind of arms race or any type of war – be it limited or all-out one. So, why not to reach arms control agreements between Russia and Europe separately from the USA in order to maintain stable European security on completely different footing? Only political will is required.
If the White Helmets involvement in the attack on Aleppo is proved, however, and especially if the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s claim regarding the origin of the militants’ chemical arsenal turns out to be true, then the notion of the White Helmets will be completely turned on its head, as will the role of the American-led coalition in the Syrian conflict.
Russian-Indian military ties take on an even more important role than ever before because Moscow is now the only Great Power that has any chance whatsoever of exercising “moderating influence” on New Delhi to counteract Washington’s growing sway. To India’s credit, its leadership understands the need to remain close to Russia.
The new unilateral sanctions by the United States against Iran, Russia and Syria add to the previous actions concerning the same three targets. They now form the most unforgiving embargo in History. The way in which they have been organised is illegal according to the definition of the Charter of the United Nations – these are weapons of war, designed for killing.
Of course, an open western military intervention can be ruled out. But the danger lies in the Ukrainian hardliners drawing encouragement from the Western support to stage more provocations against Russia that might lead to a conflict. A flare-up in Donbass between the Ukrainian army and the separatists (backed by Russia) also cannot be ruled out.
Much water has flown down the Euphrates since the 9th round of the Astana Process took place in May. Six months is a long time in politics – especially in Middle East politics. But, paradoxically, while Middle Eastern politics is in turmoil, the prospects for peace in Syria may have improved.
Moscow hopes to work together with its regional partners and Afghanistan’s friends as well as the broader international community, especially the US, to help launch a constructive intra-Afghan dialogue. The American decision to nominate an “observer” to the Moscow conference was an encouraging step.