Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Syria and the US Elections | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Despite the US elections beginning on the eighth of November, i.e. just six weeks from now, the president-elect will not set foot in the White House until January 20 next year when he will be sworn in.

During this relatively long period, the US administration will not manage its work as usual and the current president will be described as a “lame duck”. There are those who believe that the international vacuum is a suitable climate to act in without being confronted by anyone, and they will become daring during this time.

It is expected that the Syrian regime that is fully backed by the Russians and the Iranians intends to seize the opportunity and move quickly to create a new reality on the ground in Syria so that it becomes difficult for the next US president to change it. Attacks on relief convoys and the horrific devastation that the Russians, Iranians and Assad’s forces have caused without fear of possible regional or international reactions are a result of the vacuum that came about early. Washington’s protests were not enough to be taken seriously by the Kremlin and Tehran.

Therefore, countries sympathetic to the Syrian people have a serious challenge ahead of them during the next three months and must not leave the regime and the Iranians to gain a metre on the ground without making them pay for it dearly. They must do so by supporting the rebels. The Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and the Iranians are working to impose their agenda on the next US president from now, thus avoiding the possibility that the president will take a strong stand against them.

Whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump become president, we do not yet know what the new president’s choices regarding world issues will be, particularly with regards to Syria which is a major regional conflict. Leaving the military aggression that we see in the city of Aleppo to continue will force the next president to accept the new reality. Aleppo is one of the largest cities in Syria, and is the closest to Turkey geographically. In the case that the city falls, the province will fall. This will make it easier for the regime to destroy what is left of the country, and we’ll see at least another one million displaced Syrians marching towards Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

We hope that the next US president will be less committed to the Iranians than the current one, and more courageous in the face of Iranian and Russian advances; not necessarily through a direct US military presence, but by allowing other countries to arm the opposition and help it with information and diplomatic support.

The weeks ahead are important as Washington will be preoccupied until a new president is elected and a new government is formed. Whatever happens in the world, the US government will only act in the event that serious incidents that directly affect its security and its higher interests take place. Iran and Russia know that there is no US deterrence policy toward Syria, and the American preoccupation with the elections will encourage them to commit more massacres and violate international laws in order to break the remaining resistance of the Syrian people, subjugate it by force and change the map of power in the region.