- Press review: G20 tries to unite over COVID-19 and will Russia impose state of emergency
- Putin holds call with Macron, joins G20 summit
- Press review: Putin postpones vote on amendments and G20 to look into lifting sanctions
- Press review: Coronavirus’ impact on Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iranian-US relations
By a majority of vote the American Congress has adopted a document entitled "New US strategy for Syria" developed by the State Department.
In the coming days, the document will be submitted to President Donald Trump for consideration to give it the status of a law.
The document was worked out by a group of experts of the American Foreign Ministry with United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey at the helm.
Experts from Washington distinguished four main threats to peace:
- The Islamic state (ISIS), al-Qaeda (international terrorist groups banned in Russia) and other extremist organizations that threaten security and stability not only in the Middle East, but also in Western Europe and the United States itself;
- Iran which is seeking a permanent military presence in Syria and posing a security threat to Israel. Tehran continues to provide the Lebanese Hezbollah organization with advanced weaponry and ammunition through the territories of Iraq and Syria;
- Russia which supports Iran in its endeavors to strengthen its military presence in Syria. Russian military bases in Tartus and Khmeimim guarantee President Bashar al-Assad's stay in power. Russia is establishing a whole new Syrian army, equipping it with cutting edge military hardware and weaponry (S-300 air defense systems), which poses a threat to the security of Israel;
- The Lebanese military-religious organization Hezbollah is eminently dangerous to the Jewish state. It is accused of killing five American soldiers in Iraq and seeking to create a huge network of supporters at the Syrian border with Israel. It possesses more than 100 thousand high-accuracy and long-range missiles.
The following is suggested to reduce these threats:
- To support Israel's right to self-defense by every means and to provide it with necessary material resources. To sign a ten-year agreement with Tel Aviv.
- To increase all-round pressure on Russia and Iran in Syria. With that in mind, to use all the diplomatic, economic and other measures against Moscow and Tehran by appealing to American allies. The purpose is weakening or negating Russian and Iranian efforts to provide material assistance and political support to Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
- To increase pressure on Hezbollah within the framework of the UN Security Council Resolution 2015 in order to completely cut off financial flows and stop the Lebanese organization's material supply. To impose additional sanctions against it (not excepting the government of Lebanon).
The ultimate goal of this policy of the United States and its allies in Syria is to bring a new government to power in that country and switch the Syrian Arab Republic's policy to a new course.
The following measures are proposed as regards implementing the American strategy:
- to maintain US military presence in Northern Syria with a reduction in the number of troops by replacing them with units of the armed forces of European countries;
- to counter the implementation of Iran's economic and other plans to the east of the river Euphrates. This region should stay controlled by the United States' allied Kurdish-Arab armed groups of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the 79 countries-members of the Global Coalition;
- to extend the agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation to avoid unintended incidents in the sky over Syria;
- to support Israeli air and missile strikes against military targets of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and restrict their activity with sort of a "red line";
- to work closely with the European countries towards introducing new and implementing the existing economic and other sanctions against the Syrian government, its state institutions and officials;
- to exert constant pressure on the Arab countries to prohibit the restoration of bilateral and regional (within the Arab League) relations;
- to freeze investments in the Syrian economy until achieving the ultimate goal, i. e. changing the regime and political course. To impose tough sanctions against business representatives of other countries that express intention to establish cooperation with Syrian businessmen;
- to successfully ban the Syrian government's right to take part in international organizations and regional unions;
- to increase pressure on Syria's neighboring states, thus countering Russia's plans to bring the Syrian refugees back before a political settlement in the country;
- to attack Syrian state facilities if the country uses chemical weapons.
In order to reduce Russia's influence on the process of resolving the crisis in Syria, it is proposed to expand the list of guarantor states (Russia, Turkey and Iran) and participants to the Astana dialogue by encouraging the US, Britain, France, Germany and the Arab countries to join the negotiations.
Based on the above, it can be said that the US State Department has not invented anything new: all the directions of American policy in Syria have long revealed themselves. As well as the proposed measures that have already begun to be implemented. The only new thing is that now all of this will be organized along the framework of the American law.