August 20, 2010

US tries to tempt Syria away from Iran with regional power incentives The United States, backed by a number of its Arab allies, is dangling the carrot of greater Middle East influence in front of Syria in an attempt to convince Damascus to turn its back on a 30-year alliance with Iran. With US forces withdrawing from Iraq, the realisation that the United States will drastically reduce its influence in the country after the 2011 final pull-out date begins to dawn on Iraq’s neighbors. Washington has already considered the potential consequences of a power vacuum and has begun to encourage deeper involvement by regional powers considered to be of use in maintaining US interests in the Middle East. While the courting of Syria for this reason may at first seem surprising, the wider strategic implications of a more active role for Damascus in Iraq’s post-US future suggests Washington is considering a much bigger picture. Syria’s current interest in Iraq is based on a policy of diluting the power of Shi’a majority in the country and promoting an inclusive, secular government which includes equal representation for the Sunni minority. Damascus has had a hand in supporting Iyad Allawi, the secular Shi’a leader whose bloc emerged from the contentious elections in March with a slim lead over the coalition of Nouri al-Maliki, the incumbent prime minister. The Syrians, with the help of Saudi Arabia, aided Allawi’s election campaign and brought Allawi and Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr together to form a new cabinet in July. As the climate of uncertainty in Iraq over the formation of the government continues, both Damascus and Riyadh continue to apply covert pressure in a bid to secure the premiership for Allawi and install a secular government in Iraq.


I'm a watchman for Christ, looking on the horizon in expectation for the fulfillment of God's Word.

The Typepad Team

Recent Comments