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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.


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