Jul 22,2018 – JORDAN TIMES –
Following the end of battles in south of Syria, phases of political settlements on Syrian domestic and regional levels are supposed to take off. Russia, which managed to play the role of guarantor to the situation in the south, will find itself obliged to keep playing this role on a bigger scale. The achievement of the south deal between Israel and Syria will logically lead to a further reconciliation stage.
The Iranian presence in Syria is not only problematic for Israel and Jordan, it might also represent a problem for the Syrian government, as the phase of risks that requires the Iranian physical presence is over.
The Syrian government will logically adopt a pragmatic political approach that will help the central government of Damascus contain all triggers of any possible coming upraise. On an internal level, the Syrian government is expected to launch a phase of reconciliation. On a regional level, the Iranian presence in the whole of Syria, not just in the south, will be subject to more pressure on Damascus. Syria realises that at the end, internal reconciliation is key to launching a political solution, therefore, the Syrian priorities will logically change. Besides that, Syrians believe that Russia is the only protagonist that can shape a solution on the international level, while Iran might represent a strong burden on the same level.
The settlement of the south of Syria might represent an important phase in launching the whole Syrian political settlement, and it might go further to extend to a regional level. Russia, an ally for both Syria and Israel, might find much interest in shaping a regional settlement between the two Russian allies. Moreover, limited clashes in the Golan Heights are expected to go on, especially from the Israeli side. Such clashes might risk blowing the situation up, yet, reaching the point of open confrontation doesn’t seem probable in the short term. However, Russia might think seriously that putting an end to these risks requires huge diplomatic efforts. The success in shaping an agreement in the south; reassuring Israel and getting sovereignty back to the Syrians, would give Russia an extra powerful card to play on a political level. Tracing the pending peace process talks between Israel and Syria might be the only solution that would guarantee a stable period for Russia, with no concerns of having the situation escalating again.
On the Israeli level, while Israel observes the challenges on the southern part of Syria, there is another boiling front that is no less risky, Gaza and the current situation might threaten the stability of the whole region, including Jordan. Gaza requires serious interventions today; security can never be maintained by just applying security measures, and the new concept of security should be based on efficient local development plans. This applies everywhere, but it might apply to Gaza in particular. Also, the south of Jordan requires a serious mega development plan that can turn the wide empty lands into regional development hubs.
The region is facing a fundamental point, where settlements appear to be the only path to saving it from the continuous phases of war, blood, hate and decadence. Yet, lack of serious thinking of ways to introduce development plans to hot areas keeps feeding pessimism of the capability of putting an end to these crises. Therefore, if security is the priority of all countries today, it is a must to include local development plans as part of security maintenance strategies.