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McGurk: Western Powers Will Not Support Syria Reconstruction with Assad in Power

Dec. 22, 2017 (EIRNS)—The U.S. government still wants to change the regime in Syria. Since the Russian intervention against jihadi terrorists in Syria has greatly strengthened the government of Bashar al Assad, the United States is left with refusing to support economic reconstruction in government controlled areas of the country. Brett McGurk, the Trump Administration’s special envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition, delivered his last briefing for 2017 at the State Department, yesterday, in which he praised U.S.-Russian military deconfliction and contributing to the defeat of IS, but made clear that there’ll be no Western support for reconstruction until there’s a political settlement in Syria that is acceptable to the United States.

The coalition has made clear, he said,

"that there will be no international [double-talk for United States and the European Union—ed.] reconstruction assistance for regime-controlled areas of Syria absent that political process really moving ahead in a credible way that can ultimately lead to a political transition."

This means, he said, that if the process gets to the point of UN-sponsored elections, as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, "that Bashar al-Assad will no longer be in power in Damascus." McGurk’s threat, as arrogant as it is, might not mean much in the long run, however, if China and others gets fully involved in reconstructing Syria, as they are moving towards. Chinese involvement will not only mean real reconstruction, but the incorporation of Syria into the new paradigm of the New Silk Road.

McGurk’s briefing was the usual mixture of geopolitical posturing and some indications of progress, particularly with respect to the Russians. In McGurk’s view the deconfliction line is working and other matters in Syria can’t be dealt with without engaging the Russians.

"We're not coordinating operations but making sure we dont have any accidents. Thats extremely tense from time to time, but overall that has gone quite well and accelerated the pace of operations,"

he said on the deconfliction line. "So the engagement with the Russians has actually, I think, contributed to the demise of ISIS at least in the caliphate."