Even though both Turkey and Saudi Arabia could find themselves in a “highly combustible situation” in Syria if they decide to send in their ground troops, the two nevertheless “seem more than willing to get directly engaged.” It is definitely not about Daesh, says foreign policy expert Salman Rafi Sheikh, so what is the real reason?
“The officially and un-officially sponsored popular contention that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are aiming at sending ground troops to Syria out of the fear of Islamic State (Daesh) hitting them is merely an illusion that has no practical substance,” Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs writes in his article for the New Eastern Outlook website.
“The illusion of an anti-IS (Daesh) Saudi-Turk military interventionin Syria is, therefore, only a trick that they are using for deceiving the world generally and their public specifically into believing the ‘righteousness’ of the cause they are fighting for,” he furthermore states.
It is an “open secret” that both Turkey and Saudi Arabia always opposed Assad’s rule in Syria. Therefore, the author writes, if direct military intervention ever takes place, it will certainly be directed against Assad’s forces rather than IS (Daesh) or any other Gulf-supported terrorist outfit.
However, he adds, there is another reason for their engagement in the fight.
“Saudi Arabia and Turkey seem to be preparing the plan to deliberately escalate the conflict in Syria as a means to put Iran into an uneasy geo-strategic position and thereby force it to re-direct its resources to fighting the war it cannot virtually afford to go astray; for, the survival of Syria as an ally of Iran in the Middle East is crucial for Iran’s standing as a regional power,” the expert explains.
The collapse of the Geneva talks has only provided the House of Saud and the ‘House of Erdogan’ with a supposedly ‘legitimate’ excuse to send troops to Syria to face off against Iran — a country they have been unable to defeat at the diplomatic level for a number of years already, Salman Rafi Sheikh explains.
“That said, it is not unthinkable that Saudi Arabia’s immediate decision to break off relations with Iran and prod their Arab and African allies into taking similar action was driven by their apprehension towards the economic and political re-emergence of Iran following the enforcement of the nuke-deal.”
However, the expert warns that any direct intervention into the country without the authorization of Syria’s incumbent government will be a “recipe for disaster” as it will greatly transform the Syrian ‘civil war’ into a much wider regional conflagration.
If the recently-negotiated ceasefire in Syria collapses, the negative consequences won't be limited to a resurgence of hostilities in the country, according to Syrian political commentator Husam Shhib; he believes the conflict would escalate into a larger-scale war in the region.
In an interview with RIA Novosti, Syrian political commentator Hussam Shoaib warned that if the Syrian ceasefire breaks down, the Syrian conflict would unfold into a full-fledged war in the region.
At the same time, he did not rule out that the implementation of the ceasefire succeeding, given that Russia and the United States for the first time had reached a common agreement on the conflict in Syria.