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    In this February 22, 2015, file photo, a soldier gives the thumbs up as Turkish army's armored vehicles and tanks roll in Syrian town of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, as they return from the Ottoman tomb in Syria.

    Western Players' Presence in Syria in Essence Aimed at Iran - Think Tank

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    As westerners engage in the Syrian standoff they actually have one goal in the back of their minds, and that is weakening Iran, said Ammar Waqqaf, head of the UK-based Middle-East focused think tank, speaking to Sputnik.

    Ammar Waqqaf, founder and director of GNOSOS, noted that with Syria being in the international spotlight Iran gets isolated and thus "easier to crack on." 

    Ammar Waqqaf: The Americans are strained to market it [their part in the Syrian conflict] as much as they can as legal. They use the ad image that the world press manages to sue around President Assad in order to make their presence in Syria look like good versus evil, but actually it’s not legitimate at all.

    Sputnik: They are also planning to stay and support  local governance by SDF breaking down the central government’s ability to rule in those areas. Is this not a somewhat of a tacit declaration of war?

    Ammar Waqqaf: It’s an occupation, you know. You could argue the Turkish presence in Syria was never invited as well, but at least it’s coordinated, so while the government in Damascus might not welcome it, at least it understands that when push comes to shove somebody can take action. Whilst with the Americans, you know, who could confront them? And they are using this privileged position. But is this for the better of Syrians who live in the areas where the American presence is? They are trying to force a  political outcome by keeping the military process. It’s obviously against any international law that anybody could think about. If an American intervention means permanent destabilization of Syrian internal dynamics, then it’s certainly unwelcome, not only illegal. 
    Sputnik: How do you see the US interacting with the ceasefire guarantors – Russia, Iran and Turkey?

    Ammar Waqqaf: Turkey is a native member and it’s very much furious with the US because of its approach towards the Kurdish question. This is a huge shift in  regional politics. They [Americans] are looking for a longer game here. And they are not happy that Russia is actually now joining Iran, Turkey, let alone other parties in the region. Think of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, obviously – they are all making headway towards Moscow. The US cannot be at all interested in that sort of process.

    Sputnik: What do you think about the future of the compromise between Assad and the opposition?

    Ammar Waqqaf: It would be very hard to have any political solution in Syria, to convince them of voting in favor of the solution that has the opportunity of ousting Assad’s government. Everybody thinks that this is about the Syrian people versus a dictatorship. It’s the Syrian people versus the Syrian people. They will not allow their main guarantor, President Assad, to leave office empty-handed and for them, to be thrown back into chaos. If they don’t want anything to happen, it simply won’t happen. They need to carve out a solution that this segment of Syrians would find it okay to deal with.

    Sputnik: Do you think this particular US counter-Daesh campaign might particularly morph into an entire Iranian campaign?

    Ammar Waqqaf: The whole regional and western intervention in Syria was directed against Iran, so that Iran becomes more isolated and easier to crack. Nothing really has changed. They brought turmoil and devastation into Syria, for example, the Saudis to gain the upper hand on the Iranians, to gain more influence vis-à-vis the Iranians or to counter the Iranian influence in Iraq with regard to the Israelis. They [Israelis] still support al-Qaeda in Syria, blatantly, they give them money, weapons, they give them refuge. When they are wounded, they take them to hospital. The Israeli PM visits them. They’ve invested a lot, all these players, in order to crack this hard nutshell of the Syrian-Iranian Hezbollah alliance. And once ISIS or Daesh was used towards that effect, whenever Isis or Daesh forces were moving westwards, nobody flew any aerial mission to obstruct their maneuvers […]


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