Declaring Victory in Syria, Putin Stands to Lose the Elusive Peace

28 Nov 2017

(EDM) The meeting of three presidents—Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani—in Sochi last Wednesday (November 22), was supposed to mark a triumph for Russian foreign policy. But instead, the trilateral summit sent confusing signals and left mixed feelings. A day before the get-together, Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad arrived in Russia; Putin was photographed giving al-Assad a friendly hug, and the Kremlin leader introduced his guest to the Russian top brass (Kommersant, November 22). After that, Putin made a series of phone calls to brief the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel about his plan to hold a conference of parties to the war in Syria, in Sochi. The most important call, however, was to President of the United States Donald Trump, particularly because their recent non-meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam (see EDM, November 69), had left Putin bitterly upset (Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 10). [...]

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