Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

America’s role in this region will change once Trump takes over

Arab writers look at the world order after the fall of Aleppo. Translated by Jennifer Attieh
Syrians walk along a destroyed street in the old city of Aleppo. Youssef Karwashan / AFP
Syrians walk along a destroyed street in the old city of Aleppo. Youssef Karwashan / AFP

With eastern Aleppo’s imminent fall to Syrian government forces, Arabic-language commentators have reflected on the country’s new situation.

According to Dr Khattar Abu Diab, the fall of eastern Aleppo would not be possible if the United States had not given up on the Syrian revolutionary movement after the chemical weapons deal was reached in September 2013, and if Turkey had not turned to Moscow. Division among Arabs and the weakness of Europe were also factors, he said.

“Barack Obama is leaving behind him a Middle East in its worst state ever. The Arab world has become an open field of destructive chaos, a new form of cold war and proxy wars,” Dr Abu Diab wrote in the pan-Arab daily paper Al Arab.

“Mr Obama has left Aleppo to its fate, thus sealing his negative legacy.

“And now we stand before a new Middle East, home to an ‘uncreative chaos’ that has seen the light with the fall of Bagdad in April 2003,” he said.

According to the writer, subjugating Aleppo will not curb the Syrian people’s movement in the absence of a realistic political solution that translates the post-2011 variables and preserves the Syrian state as much as possible. This will be especially so “if Russia has drawn lessons from Iraq, where the conflict has been ongoing since 2003 and where the American and Iranian powers have failed to normalise the situation by establishing a pluralistic fair state”, he wrote.

Dr Abu Diab said that a new dawn could only rise over the Middle East with the return to the logic of settlement, citizenship and tolerance in lieu of occupation and sectarianism.

“This presupposes that the region does not remain a playground for the international and regional parties at the expense of the peoples, their countries and their civilisations,” he concluded.

In the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat, Syrian columnist Adel Yazji wrote that unlike Mr Obama, who had resorted to diplomacy, his successor Donald Trump was already talking about force, suggesting a desire to shatter the international constants following the notion of “creative ­chaos”. The writer said that the Arab Spring was a creation of the United States.

“The Arab Spring was driven by a single global power walking around the international scene uninhibited and unrestrained,” the writer said.

America had toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq and had “drawn a road map passing through vast minefields to reach Iran”.

He continued: “Even Gulf countries had doubts as to the intentions of America back then.”

The international game has not revealed its hidden agenda as yet, but the writer expected to see significant cracks in international alliances. These would only be identified once the president-elect, Mr Trump, assumed office.

He added that those wishing to pull upon the ropes should test their political, economic and diplomatic prowess in the battle of friendships and alliances before finalising the map of a new Syria that will replace the Sykes-Picot agreement, given that “things are heading in this direction with a possible push from president Trump”.

Yazji then wondered whether the new map would satisfy all the parties to the Syrian conflict.

He concluded that the Syrian situation would not be the same under Mr Trump, both politically and militarily, and that it could have “unexpected twists”.

*Translated by Jennifer Attieh

translation@thenational.ae

Updated: December 18, 2016 04:00 AM

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