Anita Rocha, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, said that if the US and Russia don’t lift their sanctions, the US may face further isolation from the international community and be unable to maintain its influence in Syria.
“It’s really not a great idea for the United States to be a party to the conflict in Syria, and to be part of a military escalation that is so destabilizing that the United Nations is not going to lift sanctions, even if they had a political settlement,” Rocho said.
“And I think the administration and its allies have been very clear that they would like to see a diplomatic solution, and that if they cannot achieve that, they are prepared to withdraw.
But I think if that diplomatic process doesn’t work out, they’re going to have to step in, and it’s going to be quite hard to do that in a way that doesn’t lead to more violence and more bloodshed.”
Rochos view is that the Trump administration is being pushed by the Russians to continue the war and escalate, despite the diplomatic efforts by the US, France and other Western countries.
Rochas analysis of the diplomatic talks shows that Russia and Iran have been more willing to engage with the US in Syria since Trump took office, despite sanctions being lifted.
“What we have seen in the diplomatic process is a great deal of interest and a great appetite to engage on these terms.
That is, the Iranians are willing to try to engage and the Russians are willing,” Rachos said.
Rachowskis research suggests that the Syrian government is also in favor of a political solution, but it remains unclear whether it will accept US leadership and the Trump White House.
“The US and the West are very eager to go after this problem, and if the Syrian regime is unwilling to negotiate with the West, then the West will try to attack it,” Rchos said, “and then the Assad regime will be in the position of having to defend itself.”
The US-Russian agreement on lifting the sanctions was reached in December and Trump announced on Friday that the US will lift the sanctions after he takes office on January 20.
However, Russia has warned that it will not give up its Syria policy without a political resolution to the crisis.
In addition to the US-Russia talks, the two sides also held their first meetings on the sidelines of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) summit.
“These meetings have been good because the US is very clear about what the goals of the Russian-US relationship are, and I think that the Russians were very clear in what they want to see, and they’re willing to work together on this,” Richs said.