Cooperation between Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara on Syria has resulted in political and security achievements, but while Russia and Iran are the fixed sides of this triangle, Turkey is unstable and unreliable for strategic affairs, believes Mohammad Reza Sheibani, former Iranian Ambassador to Syria.
It is important that the three countries’ cooperation has led to the defeat of terrorism as a dangerous phenomenon for the international community, even though the danger of terrorism has not yet been completely eliminated, Sheibani said on the sidelines of the Russian-Iranian dialogue in Tehran. Also, it “established a framework for dialogue between the Syrian government and opposition groups, under the title of the Sochi and Astana dialogues,” he added.
However, Turkey will only continue to be part of this triangle as long as its interests are met. “The presence of Turkey in this triangle is now essential, but Turkey sees its strategic interests in cooperation with the west,” Sheibani pointed out. “This framework of cooperation is necessary but not sufficient for the present situation. We have to work on developing the framework of this cooperation in order to manage different issues in political, security, economic and other spheres.”
As for the Iran-Russia strategic alliance, it should become a model for solving regional crises, Sheibani believes. “This cooperation, which has left positive outcomes in Syrian and regional scene, can be a good example for managing other regional crises,” he said. “The crisis in Yemen, the Bahrain crisis, are worth mentioning in this regard.”
More active Russian involvement in the region would be welcome, the former Iranian diplomat said. According to him, Russia should react to Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, rejected by most countries. “It will be a good opportunity for Russia to enter more seriously in the Palestinian scene,” he said. “The ground for more role of Russia is increasing between the Palestinians, including the Fatah movement and Arabs, including Jordan.”
Sheibani believes that this has to be done in two directions: by “activating the Palestinian protests” and by “removing America from the state of the only intermediary between the Palestinians and Israel”. The question, according to him, is whether Russia is willing to play this role.