May 1, 2011 by staff
WikiLeaks, Quo vadis? The question of what is by now Syria is one that multiplies geometrically concerns about Arab unrest. For 40 years, making it hard to survive the Baathist regime was the defining characteristic of Hafez al-Assad – pure cunning combined with a ruthless performance. The legacy is, as the cycle of bloody events show, is still very strong.
Thus, in the specific case of Syria, the international community must deal with both fear and confidence. The latter has been a key focus of Damascus, and now has to be tested to the limit.
An in depth look at Wikileaks cables on the Turkish-Syrian-American tells the story of caution, suspicion, small waiting and preparing for a reaction: the American side did not deter the Turks to try to approach the young Assad, but he always took with a grain of salt. In general, there is common ground between Ankara and Washington, DC, with regard to Syria and that both countries believed that it was worth trying to remove Syria from the iron hand of the Assad clan and their corrupt supporters, as well as end its isolation and adopt reforms to promote democracy and free markets. “The Turks, led by PM Erdogan [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo? One], Gul Fonmi?? [Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul], and the chief foreign policy advisor Davutoglu [Ahmet Davut? Lu], are selling better relations with Syria as an important foreign policy success. GOT [Government of Turkey] Turkey as leaders issued a communication channel in the U.S. and Israel against Syria and a friend that can support economic reform. At the same view our partners got time control Assad was too fragile to sustain anything other than economic reform. In this context, Erdogan has promoted 22 to 23 Dec. his visit to Damascus and Aleppo as a great step forward. Erdogan said Iraq raised issues of peace in the Middle East, but apparently did not receive anything new from Assad. Contact AMF turn signed a free trade agreement as “the highlight” of the visit. They pushed us again that this is the wrong approach to take with Syria, “wrote Robert Deutsch, an allegation the former Business U.S. Embassy in Ankara, a “confidential” cable on January 18, 2005, weeks after Prime Minister Erdo? A visit to Syria.
Deutsch wrote in another cable (April 15, 2005) that even (former) Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, “encouraged Assad to” continue “internal reforms. … With great satisfaction, (senior Turkish) Celikkol diplomat said Sezer’s visit has strengthened the hand of Assad and other reformers against hardliners who want to maintain the status quo. ”
But skepticism remained American. The picture becomes very clear in a cable in writing on 22 July 2005 Nancy McEldowney, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy, when we learned that the Turks also raise deep suspicions “(Syrian Deputy FM) [Walid] Al Muallim met with FM Gul in Ankara, July 22 to discuss Iraq, the peace process Israel-Palestine and the visit “unofficial” a close as possible to Turkey for Bashar Assad. A Foreign Ministry official told us privately that the discussions were difficult and inconclusive, and another stressed the strong message from Gul and (the secretary) Tuygan delivered to Iraq. After the meeting, Gul expressed his anger at the way the Syrians are “using” the Turks “.
But the lack of confidence did not stop the efforts of Turkey. Meanwhile, several cables stressed that the core or “realism” in the policies of Ankara has a value, and the Turks successfully work hard to end the isolation of Syria, to avoid any kind of sectarian violence that can explode and break Iran-Syria axis. In October 2009, the ambivalence of America seemed to be in line with Ankara: Turkey’s policy on Syria’s Assad encouraged to cling to its iron and resist change, but also seemed to be the only ray of hope Damascus to move away from its axis with Tehran.
In a “secret” of the cable sent by U.S. Charge d’Affairs Charles Hunter in Damascus, October 28, 2009, the conclusion reflects the persistent dilemma: “Turkey methodically strengthening relations with Damascus, Syria provides a strategic buffer against international pressure and a list mediator ready to help Syria to repair strained relations with neighbors like Iraq, Saudi Arabia and even Lebanon. In the long term, increase the confidence of Assad’s PM Erdogan offers the best hope to lure Syria from Iran’s orbit. “From now on, Assad has lost his friends in Ankara. Relations abused, hesitated in the reform, resorted to extreme violence and may have gotten a ticket from power. The calculations have changed. Now it’s too late to put things on track. Ankara can save seems quite doubtful. Every day that passes, the Assad clan moves toward isolation and chaos.
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