MESPOTAMIA NEWS Syria Daily: Assad Regime Looks to Iran for Money

Posted by Scott Lucas | Nov 14, 2018 | eaworldview

Needing hundreds of billions of dollars for reconstruction of Syria, the Assad regime has turned to Iran — which has its own economic problems amid US sanctions — for help.

Syrian State media highlighted Monday’s meeting in Tehran with Iranian Economy Minister Farhad Dejpasand about “the necessity of enhancing Iranian-Syrian economic relations and upgrading them to the level of the distinguished political relations”.

The reports were careful about the presentation of reconstruction, where the Assad regime faces more than $400 billion in damage in the 92-month conflict. They framed Dejpasand’s comments as “deepening economic relations” in banking and export of Iranian good to “play a key role in the reconstruction”.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BACKGROUNDER SYRIA: Why Iran did not attend the Europe-Russia-Turkey summit on Syria

Hamidreza Azizi November 12, 2018 – AL MONITOR – Article Summary – While some have questioned Iran’s absence at the recent four-way summit on Syria between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Turkey, the reality is that Iran likely saw only negative outcomes stemming from its participation in the meeting at this time. The leaders of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany met Oct. 27 in Istanbul for a summit to discuss the ongoing developments regarding the Syrian crisis. In a final statement issued after the summit, the four sides emphasized Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the necessity of continuing the fight against terrorism in the war-torn country. They also underlined the need for resolving the Syrian crisis through a “negotiated political process,” while calling for providing conditions for the “safe and voluntary return of refugees to Syria.” The quartet also supported the Sept. 17 Russian-Turkish deal in Sochi on de-escalating the situation in Idlib.

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Charles Lister‏Verified account @Charles_Lister 12 Nov 2018 – #pt: As #Syria‘s northwest de-escalation continues [while slowly eroding], #HTS‘s internal divides are becoming clearer — one side doubling-down on a pragmatic posture to achieve survival // another seeking to advance gradual escalation to re-emphasize/rescue jihadi credibility.

The General Syrian Conference of the #HTS-backed Syrian Salvation Government has come to a compromise resolution regarding the flying of the Syrian revolution…

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Putin pivots to Europe for next play on Syria

Putin embraces “​four-party talks”

While US officials spoke last week about “contesting more actively” Iran’s actions in Syria, Russia pressed ahead with a new diplomatic initiative involving Europe.

Russia’s envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, met Nov. 6 with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after arriving from Tehran. “The focus,” reports Maxim Suchkov, “was the Russian-Turkish memorandum on Idlib signed in Sochi on Sept. 17; the formation of the Constitutional Committee; Syria’s postwar restoration; and the creation of conditions for the return of refugees. The Russians also briefed Syria on the results of the Oct. 27 meeting in Istanbul between the presidents of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France.”
“Russia is making sure its own initiatives are well sealed and recognized by other major regional players before UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura steps down at the end of November,” writes Suchkov. “Russia is thus pressing Assad to speed up the formation of the Constitutional Committee — part of the mission of the high-level delegation in Damascus. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Sergey Ryabkov have engaged in a frenzy of diplomatic activity, meeting with ambassadors of virtually all Middle Eastern countries over the last four days.”

“Putin’s embrace of the four-party talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made many in Moscow believe that Russia now seeks to merge the two formats of the Astana group and the two leading European nations from the so-called small group,” adds Suchkov. “Now that any meaningful progress within the small group is stalled — from Russia’s perspective — with its participants seeking other venues to strengthen their own positions in the Syrian political settlement, and the United States lacking any clear set of objectives that could genuinely unite other members, Moscow believes the conditions are ripe to engage the Europeans who are open to such engagement, albeit each for their own reasons.”

“Although Iran is absent from the Istanbul quartet,” writes Suchkov, “Russia sees it as an important puzzle piece for a Syria settlement and thus briefs both Tehran and Damascus on the consultations within the group, which Moscow, too, considers to be a step into linking the Astana format with the Istanbul group. The Astana trio was critical in shifting the balance of forces in Assad’s favor, but now that the conflict has moved to the political realm, a broader coalition with Europeans is needed, both for the sake of the process’ legitimacy and for financial reasons. German companies are eyeing possible contracts in Syria’s restoration, partially helping to alleviate Russia’s own concerns for finding the money for reconstruction.”

Erdogan plays big with US

Cengiz Candar explains how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be leveraging the Jamal Khashoggi case to play “big,” writing that Erdogan “is one of the very few people in the international game who has leverage with the leaders of both the United States and Russia.”

Erdogan has not held back on his opposition to US policies. He said last week that joint US-Syrian Democratic Forces patrols “can cause serious negative developments” and slammed US sanctions on Iran as ‘imperialist,” Jasper Mortimer reports.

Candar wrote of Erdogan, “His relations with Washington are better than they have been for some time. Turkey has surprisingly become one of the eight countries exempted from the American oil sanctions against Iran. What makes Turkey privileged is that it is the only country among the eight on the oil waiver list that is Iran’s immediate neighbor. … Nothing can illustrate better how relations between Erdogan and Trump have warmed up than this exemption. Erdogan even went as far as to say publicly that the American president promised to instruct his people to review the case of a Turkish bank that is expected to be fined by US Treasury over the Iran sanctions scam.”

When the Turkish president speaks with US President Donald Trump, Candar writes, “It is almost certain that Erdogan will bring up the issue of the eastern Euphrates, where the American military cooperates with the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Erdogan, emboldened with the dazzling diplomatic show in Istanbul, spelled out Turkey’s intention to eradicate the presence of the Kurdish allies of the United States in the eastern Euphrates and Turkish artillery began to pound the Kurdish targets. Erdogan went as far as to imply that Turkey will move militarily to the towns such as Tell Abyad and Kobani. After the Turkish artillery bombardment, the Americans started joint patrols with elements of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units along the Turkey-Syria frontier to deter Turkey from creating a potential bone of contention between the two NATO allies.”

“It remains to be seen how Trump will react to Erdogan’s possible demands involving the eastern Euphrates,” Candar concludes. “It appears that Turkish objectives are irreconcilable with those of the Syrian Kurds and the United States, unless the latter decides on a “sell-out” of the Kurds. History has a record on this that Erdogan should well know.”

An Abbas-Netanyahu summit in Oman?

Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Oct. 31, five days after the Israeli prime minister’s visit to Oman, with a message for Abbas from Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, placing Oman at the center of a diplomatic flurry on the otherwise stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“Netanyahu’s visit to Oman on Oct. 26 triggered the fears of the various Palestinian factions,” writes Adnan Abu Amer. “Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab told Al-Mayadeen on the same day that Netanyahu’s visit to the sultanate could open a new channel of negotiations with Israel. In turn, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine described the visit in a press statement as an advanced stage of normalization in tandem with the efforts of the United States to pass its “deal of the century. … Head of Fatah’s Information Department Munir al-Jaghoub said in a press statement that the visit aims to undermine the Arab peace initiative based on “the land for peace” formula. On Oct. 27, he denied these statements.”

“Hamas was angered by Netanyahu’s visit to Oman,” reports Abu Amer. “In an interview with Al-Monitor, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, “It is terribly wrong to receive Israelis on Arab premises. This cannot be justified as a step aimed to achieve the best interest of the Palestinians. This must not be repeated. Israel is the enemy.”

“Israel and the PA are aware that Oman has managed to organize negotiations on major files such as Iran’s nuclear deal, the Yemen war and the Gulf crisis,” Abu Amer continues. “This makes it a neutral intermediary, though it operates in secret and out of the limelight. … Oman has emerged as a mediator with the ability to host the Palestinians and Israelis. It could be planning to hold a summit between Abbas and Netanyahu, which could be a golden opportunity for the sultanate to rise as a political mediator, while all other regional countries are preoccupied with their internal issues.”

“Israel has managed to be hosted in yet another Arab capital despite the halt of negotiations with the Palestinians,” Abu Amer concludes. “This proves that Israel can communicate with the Arabs by bypassing the peace process. As for the Palestinians, they have yet to reap the gains contemplated from this Omani movement.”


Turkey Given Green Light to Shell Syrian Kurdish Territories: Source

Basnews English – 11/11/2018 – 17:19 – ERBIL — The Turkish army has received the green light by the United States to bombard the Syrian Kurdish territories in north of the country, said a source. Turkish artillery forces recently several times fired at areas around Kobani, Tel Abiyadh, Gire Spi in the Syrian Kurdistan. It has threatened to also launch another military operation into the areas of east Euphrates river.

A source with knowledge about the issue from the Syrian Kurdistan, who wished to remain unnamed for security reasons, told BasNews that Washington has given Ankara the green light for the cross-border shelling, hoping to give the Democratic Union Party (PYD) a warning message over its ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).According to the source, the US is concerned about PYD’s policies which are devised by the PKK while the party is maintaining close relations with Tehran.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS Syria Situation Report Map. The map highlights significant developments in the war in Syria over the last two weeks:

US urges Russia to allow resumed Israeli air strikes in Syria


Nov 7, 2018 @ 21:13 Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel-Russian dispute, James Jeffrey, S-300, Syria, Vladimir Putin

DEBKA FILES  8 Nov 2018 – Special US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, said on Wednesday, Nov. 7, “We certainly hope Russia’s permissive approach will continue” for Israeli air strikes in Syria against Iranian targets, despite its supply of S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian government. He noted that Russia has been permissive about the flights in the past – in consultation with the Israelis. The American diplomat spoke after meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, Nov. 5. However, DEBKAfile’s military sources have seen no sign of Moscow relenting. Quite the reverse; Moscow indicated this week that should Israeli jets enter Syrian airspace to attack Iranian targets, the S-300 would shoot them down.

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 Kyle Orton‏Verified account @KyleWOrton 2h2 hours ago   7 Nov 2018

Lot of anger surfacing in #Raqqa against the #YPG/#PKK: local inhabitants remain without basic services a year after #IS was expelled, ruled by a deeply corrupt militia focused more on entrenching its exclusivist political project than benefiting citizens.

Raqqa on a hot tin and Arab tribes boycott SDF – Read full text


Haid Haid‏ @HaidHaid22 7h7 hours ago  7 Nov 2018  – According to al-Watan, the Syrian parliament has modified law #10 (which allows the state to confiscate properties for development purposes) to give people one year to prove their ownership. This contradicts Russia’s recent claim that the law was scrapped.


 7 Nov 2018 – US Ambassador James Jeffrey says Iranian presence in Syria is fuelling ISIS … via

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