23:35 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Sochi vs Warsaw: Dueling Mideast Summits

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    The US will organize a broad Mideast summit in the Polish capital of Warsaw from 13-14 February, which will end on the same day as the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian leaders meet in Sochi about Syria.

    Although not openly stated, these two summits are somewhat in competition with one another because of the dramatically different visions that they represent.  The US originally wanted Iran to be the focus of its Warsaw Summit but later walked that back after many European leaders seemed reluctant to attend a gathering that would be directed against one of their most promising trade partners, though it's understood that the meeting will still focus a lot on the Islamic Republic given what a regional priority it is for the US. As for the Sochi Summit, this get-together will see the heads of state of each of the three Astana guarantor countries meeting for the first time this year as they seek to make more progress on advancing a political solution to the war on Syria, which finally seems within grasp after the combined military and diplomatic successes of the past year. 

    Accordingly, this means that the Warsaw and Sochi Summits couldn't be more different. The first-mentioned excludes Iran, aims to put pressure on it, and could ultimately have destabilizing and destructive consequences, while the second includes Iran, lauds the support that it's provided to the Syrian peace process, and is therefore stabilizing and constructive.

    Another key difference is that the Sochi Summit is focusing exclusively on Syria whereas the Warsaw one might tacitly touch upon larger issues such as the Trump Administration's so-called "Deal of the Century" and Israel's relationship with the Gulf Kingdoms. The President's son-in-law Jared Kushner will be attending the event, as will Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, and Jordan, meaning that both topics could realistically be on the agenda or at least discretely discussed behind closed doors. As such, the two summits will present different perspectives on the future of the Mideast, but both of them will nevertheless concentrate in one way or another on Iran's role in the region.

    Andrew Korybko is joined by Patrick Henningsen, Executive Editor of the news and analysis website, 21stCenturyWire.com and Sherry Amanpour, former Iranian diplomat who was part of the cadre that facilitated the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran after the Shah's fall in 1979, but who later declined to work with the Islamic Republic and has lived in the US ever since.

    Want to sound off and share what you think about this? Send us an email at radio@sputniknews.com or find us on Facebook!

    Tags:
    Syrian peace process, Warsaw Summit, Iran, Poland, Syria, United States, Russia, Middle East
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