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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid