The United States, as well as NATO’s partners have not had any clearly developed policy and action plan since the very beginning of the developments in Syria. In the first phase of the crisis the United States supposed that the story of Libya will repeat in Syria, and the regime ruling in Syria would be removed with the support of the Western community and the Arab states.
It did not happen, and the United States boosted support to the opposition, facing the fact that the opposition forces either belong to Al Qaida or share their political objectives.
Currently, the United States has decided to agree with the retention of the existing regime on the condition of conducting political and state reforms. The United States is interested in the continuation of the conflict, which will allow destroying radical Islamists with the hands of the regime and with the consent of some Arab states, including Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.
The positive expectations relating to normalization of relations with Iran play a role in helping the United States to accept the idea of maintaining the ruling regime in Syria.
Nevertheless, the United States continues to spread the ideas about the division of the territory of Syria, the inevitability of dividing Syria to several countries, which is related to the intention of separating the territory of Shiite states in the Near East.
The United States and the Europeans are interested in laying out oil pipelines from the oil mines in Iraq to the Mediterranean seaports. Therefore, it is necessary to protect Syria’s territorial integrity.
The American analysts do not think that Russia is a serious and long-term player in the Near East, considering that it does not have reliable partners and interests in that region. Russia uses the situation in Syria but the purpose of the Syrian regime is not strengthening relations with Russia but normalizing relations with the United States and leading European countries.
There are prospects for the Russian oil business in Iraq, as well as for the export of Russian weapons to some Arab countries. However, both the oil business and the arms are controlled by the United States and Western corporations, and Russia will hardly be able to achieve a significant economic presence in the region.
It is believed that with the settlement in Syria the period of restoring Russia’s influence in the region will end, and Russia’s positions in the Near East will be more modest. At the same time, controversies between Russia and Turkey have occurred in the Near East, which is in line with the strategy of maintaining a regional balance of forces.
Hence, Syria is a “classic example” when the confrontation between Turkey and Russia takes place in other than the traditional regions of rivalry, such as the South Caucasus, but in the Middle East.