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

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora