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Turkey Hops Aboard the 'Assad Will Stay' Train in Moscow as Obama Prepares to Leave

Nobody even invited the irrelevant John Kerry

The New York Times reports on the Russia-Iran-Turkey talks on Syria earlier this week in Moscow:

Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Moscow on Tuesday to work toward a political accord to end Syria’s nearly six-year war, leaving the United States on the sidelines as the countries sought to drive the conflict in ways that serve their interests.

Secretary of State John Kerry was not invited. Nor was the United Nations consulted.

With pro-government forces having made critical gains on the ground, the new alignment and the absence of any Western powers at the table all but guarantee that President Bashar al-Assad will continue to rule Syria under any resulting agreement, despite President Obama’s declaration more than five years ago that Mr. Assad had lost legitimacy and had to be removed.

Ouch. US "on the sidelines", Kerry "was not invited", nor did anyone consult the UN. The NYT has a hard time accepting that US has become irrelevant to the solution in Syria. So much so that Assad whom the empire had marked for the trash bin in 2011 now looks certain to survive and defeat the jihad against the Syrian Baath government.

More importantly the meeting marks a symbolic turning point in that Turkey has put an end to its ambition to topple the Syrian government: 

At the meeting, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to “the Moscow Declaration,” a framework for ending the Syrian conflict. They did not consult the United States, nor did they invite Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, who has spoken of new peace talks in Geneva on Feb. 8.

“This is Turkey bending to Russia,” Mr. [Aaron] Stein [of the Atlantic Council] said. “This is putting a fine point on Turkey’s policy of ‘Assad must go’ no longer being the policy.”

Ankara has gone from working with the US and Saudia Arabia and Qatar to topple the Syrian government to talking with Iran and Russia how to find a political solution that ends the conflict. 

For Turkey the sought solution involves scaling back Kurdish gains, and extracting various concessions from Damascus for the Islamist opposition, but it no longer involves outright toppling the Syrian state which is now deemed unrealistic, and possibly undesirable.

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