The US has failed to fulfil its commitments in accordance with the Russia-US agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria. On September 19, Syrian government forces said they were pulling out of the agreement in view of multiple violations by the rebels the United States was responsible for. On September 17, the US-led coalition delivered air strikes against Syrian government forces near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor in gross violation of the deal.
The failure to keep its side of the bargain has put into question the credibility of the United States and raised the issue of America’s future role in the post-conflict peacebuilding. With Turkey, a US NATO ally, padding its own canoe and US-supported rebels hurling insults at American special operators, the clout of the United States in Syria seems to be far from being overwhelming.
With its credibility greatly damaged, America can hardly be viewed as a reliable partner anymore.
The US is certainly not the only major player in the field. With the government of Bashar Assad firmly in power, the post-war settlement is no longer seen as a pipe dream but Washington will hardly be the one to call all the shots.
In a major policy shift, China has launched the pivot to the Middle East aimed at increasing its involvement in the region by providing military training and humanitarian aid in Syria. In April, China appointed a special envoy to Damascus in order to work toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Before the assignment Chinese envoy Xie Xiaoyan had praised «Russia’s military role in the war, and said the international community should work harder together to defeat terrorism in the region».
On August 14, Rear-Admiral Guan Youfei, the head of the Office for International Military Cooperation under the Central Military Commission that oversees China’s 2.3 million-member armed forces, visited Syria to meet Syrian Defence Minister Fahd Jassim Al Freij and Russian Lieutenant-General Sergei Chvarkov, head of the ceasefire monitoring mission in Syria, as well as Russian top commanders at the Hmeimim military base on the Syrian coast. The visit marks a major milestone in the relationship to make Beijing a party to the conflict…