News / Middle East

US, Russia Rift Affects Syria, Entire Middle East

US, Russia Rift Affects Syria, Entire Middle Easti
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Meredith Buel
March 15, 2014 3:18 AM
Middle East analysts say the erosion of relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine crisis is likely to have an impact on the Middle East, especially the conflict in Syria, which is now entering its fourth year. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

US, Russia Rift Affects Syria, Entire Middle East

Meredith Buel
Middle East analysts say the erosion of relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine crisis is likely to have an impact on the Middle East, especially the conflict in Syria, which is now entering its fourth year.

It had all the trappings of a campaign rally. Hundreds of Syrians demonstrating in a Damascus suburb, all in support of President Bashar al-Assad. They cheered for the army and called for unity.

Assad supporter Mohamad al-Ghazali said,“We came to ensure that we back the leader Doctor Bashar al-Assad. We came to say 'no' for disturbance. Syrian people are unified people.”

Then in a rare public appearance, the president himself is cheered, on a recent visit to a shelter for people displaced by the civil war.

Syrian officials say a presidential election will be held in the coming months and Assad expects to win.

This is a prospect that international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi warns will jeopardize peace talks. “If there is an election, my suspicion is that the opposition, all the oppositions, will probably not be interested in talking to the government,” he said.

The U.S. and Russia have cooperated on removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, even though they support opposite sides in the fighting.

But now there is concern the rift caused by the Crimea crisis could divert attention from Syria and allow Assad to try to crush the opposition while securing his reelection.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey said, “We need to look at Syria, which is difficult in and of itself, not from the context of larger Russian relations, but of the context of our Middle Eastern situation. Looked at from that standpoint, we need to be much more active, much more quickly.”

Syrian government troops have recently made gains on the battlefield. Moscow supplies arms to Damascus and strongly supports its fight against the armed rebellion.

With the world’s attention on Ukraine, however, some analysts suggest Syria no longer may be as high a priority for Russia.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli said, "With their problems at home, i.e., on their border, I think they are going to have less attention, less bandwidth, less desire to spend time and political capital sticking up for Assad.”

As the civil war grinds on, a revival of Cold War-era tensions between the U.S. and Russia could affect other difficult issues in the Middle East, including negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Both are higher than Syria on the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda.

Professor Keith Darden of American University said, “I think the diplomatic rift that we are seeing now, if it persists, is going to have consequences in almost every sphere of international politics.”

The last time Assad ran for reelection was in 2007. Official returns said he won more than 97 percent of the vote. Analysts say a similar outcome can be expected this time.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
March 18, 2014 4:16 AM
I guess anyone gay or lesbian should probably move out before Putins laws come into play.


by: Satya Deva from: Colombo
March 15, 2014 8:26 AM
When big fish are at each other small fish get relief. Native peoples of the world are at the mercy of Predator nations, Russia,China,other permanent members of the security council .
They loot and swallow and destroy humanity.Greed rules .
Religions help greedy . Sheiks, Kings, Queens to Rich live on native peoples BLOOD.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid