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    A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter rests with his weapon on a vehicle camouflaged with mud, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 7, 2016

    Raqqa Operation: US' Potential 'Bargaining Chip' in Post-War Talks Over Syria

    © REUTERS/ Rodi Said
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    Ekaterina Blinova
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    Washington's much-discussed Raqqa operation is yet another attempt to intimidate Russia, make Russo-Syrian military operations more difficult to conduct, and to create a "bargaining chip" for future post-war negotiations, Syrian political analyst Ghassan Kadi told Sputnik.

    Washington's direct involvement in the Raqqa operation is aimed at intimidating Russia and creating leverage in post-war negotiations, Syrian political analyst and expert in Middle Eastern affairs Ghassan Kadi suggested speaking to Sputnik.

    Still, Donald Trump's win in the US presidential election is likely to complicate the situation for American war planners.

    "With or without a post-Trump inauguration foreign policy shift, if it happens, America knows well that it cannot have a long-term military presence in Syria," Kadi highlighted.

    Raqqa Operation and Kurdish Issue

    "But there is more to the American operation. Your question in fact brings in the Kurdish issue. America is hoping to be able to slice a piece off Syria and create an independent Kurdish state, and this is perhaps its major long-term aim," the analyst noted, adding that "this is where American and Turkish interests come at odds."

    "Apart from the dangers of Syrian partition and what comes with it, my personal concern about this is what human cost Syrian Kurds may end up paying. This is why I am with the firm view that the prospect of creating a Kurdish state is one that the Syrian government should attempt to prevent by means of negotiation with the Kurds. One has to bear in mind that unlike what some fire stokers are trying to do in way of inflaming anti-Kurdish passions, not all Kurds seek partition," Kadi told Sputnik.

    The analyst reiterated that a win-win solution on the issue can be reached only through constructive talks.

    "The only win-win outcome for the Syrian government and Syrian Kurds combined is one that can be achieved by negotiation, and under the clear understanding that every inch of Syrian soil will need to remain under the roof of Damascus as I have argued in the past," Kadi stressed.

    However, with Trump taking over the reins of leadership in the White House, it will become harder for US strategists to drive a wedge between Damascus and the Syrian Kurds.

    Trump's Win: Will US Finally Separate Moderate Rebels From Terrorists?

    The Syrian analyst remarked that all depend on whether Trump will fulfill his election promises.

    "How this will, or how this can, affect the situation in Syria will ultimately depend on the nature of the relationship President Trump will seek and manage to establish with Russia," Kadi underscored.

    "And once again, thus far, Trump seems to be determined to seek better relationships with Russia. If this materializes, and if Trump acknowledges the underlying reasons behind the many failures of the Obama administration and decides to work together with Russia within Syria, then many sticking problems within Syria can be properly addressed and improved," the analyst pointed out.

    Perhaps, Washington will finally disclose who the so-called moderate rebels are and where exactly they are located, he remarked.

    Still, "Trump may even go a step further and announce that there are no such groups as moderate rebels and declare open season, and I think this is a likely prospect. Time will tell," Kadi noted.

    The analyst assumed that the Russo-American partnership in Syria may pave the way for a US-Russian compromise on Ukraine.

    Referring to the rise of French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon, the analyst called attention to the fact that Trump's win has apparently created a domino effect across Europe.

    "Fillon seems to be on the same wavelength as his potential counterpart across the Atlantic," Kadi remarked.

    "Trump's win may indeed herald a whole new age in American-EU-Russian inter-relationships," he believes.

    Citing Trump's pragmatism, the analyst suggested that if the US President-elect implements a profit versus loss business model in his governance, "in this particular instance, he may end wars, albeit for financial reasons."

    "A business-minded President who will only mind America's business and leaves the world alone is good enough for the whole world to take a sigh of relief," he stressed.

    US soldiers stand near military vehicles, north of Raqqa city, Syria. File photo
    © REUTERS/ Rodi Said
    US soldiers stand near military vehicles, north of Raqqa city, Syria. File photo

    'Syrian Interim Government': New Plan to Legitimize US' Intervention

    A few days ahead of the US presidential election renowned American academic Steven Heydemann wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, calling for recognizing the SIG (Syrian Interim Government) based in Idlib as the legitimate interim government of Syria to justify and legitimize American intervention in the country.

    "The White House should be concerned about handing the next president a Syrian crisis in which diplomatic possibilities have been all but foreclosed. These are concrete, practical steps it can take to equip the incoming administration with tools to regain leverage and revitalize diplomatic efforts to end Syria's bloody war," Heydemann argued.

    Will the plan work?

    "The article is quite obsolete in the sense that it was written before the American Presidential elections," Kadi noted.

    "But this is not all: throughout history, it has always been the rule that the victor dictates the terms of post-war peace settlements; not the loser," he stressed.

    "For nearly six years now since the 'War on Syria' started, a countless myriad of models based on the toppling, assassination and resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and replacing him have been proposed. None of them worked, even during the darkest hours of the President when all the chips were down," the analyst observed.

    "Ironically, with the exception of [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, all other regional and international leaders who made this call have either stepped down, passed away, were forced into retirement or imprisoned, or simply finished their terms, all the while Assad is still standing," he concluded.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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    Syrian Kurds, anti-Russian sanctions, Jihadists, territorial integrity, sovereignty, 2016 US Presidential election, The Syrian war, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Daesh, European Union, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Francois Fillon, Europe, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, United States, Ukraine, Russia, Raqqa, Middle East, Aleppo, Damascus, France
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