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Saudi Arabia’s Plan B for Syria bluffing: Analyst

Women walk on rubble in al-Shadadi, Syria. (File photo)

Press TV has interviewed James Jatras, former US Senate foreign policy analyst in Washington, to discuss Saudi Arabia’s proposal for “Plan B” to solve the Syrian crisis if the truce fails.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.


Press TV: Since Russia and the US were the parties that signed on to the ceasefire, that would leave Saudi Arabia for example and Turkey on the other hand to perhaps violate the ceasefire or is that not the case?

Jatras: I think it remains to be seen. This could be simply more bluffing from Riyadh and Ankara like we saw a few weeks ago. Clearly, Washington is not pleased that it has found itself in a junior position to the Russians right now but really there are very few options that the US and our allies had, given the success that the Syrian army was having on the ground with Russian air support that the Saudis in particular desperately needed some kind of ceasefire because their assets were being destroyed but now this puts them in a more difficult situation in some ways because it has exposed the fact that the so-called moderate terrorists that they are supporting are really allied with al-Qaeda and in some cases with Daesh. So they are really in a very difficult situation right now.

Press TV: This piece of news came out just a couple of hours ago and it was floated by Russia that if a federal state can work, then it may be implemented. Why would Russia make a statement like that almost alluding to the fact that perhaps there was some kind of backdoor deal that has been already set in place for Syria?

Jatras: I think Damascus needs to keep the door open to some kind of a model for reconciliation, one thinks immediately of the Kurds for example, some of the forces in Syria that are not necessarily pro-government but are against Daesh, against al-Nusra. So I think that is at least something that needs to be put on the table for discussion.

Press TV: Are we looking at a situation like Iraq in which you have the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region actually with a central government?

Jatras: We could, something even more complex, maybe even something like the way the mandate of Syria looked like under the French between the World Wars where there were separate statelets inside the mandate of Syria. We will have to see but I think it is too early to talk about that.

What we are really looking at is how to deal with the terrorist threat on the ground and that is why I think the Saudis are sounding so desperate. 

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