By Eric Zuesse*
Elijah Magnier, one of the world’s most respected reporters in and about the Middle East, reported on Sunday, July 15, that Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, has rejected a proposed offer from the U.S. Trump Administration. The offer was that U.S. forces will leave some of its key military bases in its military occupation of Syria, if all of Iran’s forces, which Syria’s Government had invited into Syria in order to help conquer the tens of thousands of jihadists who are trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government, leave all of Syria, and if Iran also stops supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon, and stops supporting Shiites in Iraq.
Here is the key part of Magnier’s report:
“According to the source involved in overseeing the entire military operation for the last years of war in Syria, “President Assad was very clear in his answer to the US establishment. Syria – said Assad – is determined to liberate the entire Syrian territory regardless of the consequences. There is of course a price to be paid to obtain the liberation of north Syria which is occupied by both the US and Turkey, neither of whom were invited by the Syrian government: this price is worth it”.
The American message is clear: “The US will leave al-Tanf crossing and abandon north-east Syria in al-Hasaka and Deir Ezzour as soon as possible.
Assad responded: “Iranian forces and their allies came to Syria under an official request by the [Syrian ]central government and [Iranian forces] will leave when this [Syrian] government asks the allied forces to leave, and only when all terrorists have been eradicated from the Levant”.
“You – said Assad [to Trump’s people] – came to Syria without any permission and occupied our territory. It is therefore our duty to push you out by all means. You shall not obtain by negotiation and peace what you failed to obtain after seven years of war”.
Russian-led peace-talks are being held between Russia, Turkey, and six of the groups in Syria that are trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government. These peace talks are being held in Astana, Kazakhstan, and are summarized not in a Wikipedia article but instead buried in a Wikipedia article that’s titled “Syrian peace process”, and these talks are discussed chronologically there, in 11 stages, up through March 2018, as:
The present reporter has earlier described how and why the Asatana peace process overtook the earlier peace-talks, which the U.S. had arranged to be held under the U.N. in Geneva, and in which the negotiants were actually the Saud family versus Syria’s Government, and where no progress was made, because Syria’s Government insists that only the voters in Syria, and Syrian citizens abroad, in free and fair internationally monitored elections, will determine whom the President of Syria will be; the Sauds won’t be permitted to do that — so, those U.S.-initiated talks were, essentially, replaced by the ones in Astana, which are being headed instead by Russia.
*Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010
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