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A political solution for Syria?

Dec 14,2014 - Last updated at Dec 14,2014

The Russians have lately had a dynamic and innovative diplomacy, leaning towards finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

With the regional priorities shifting from political resolution to combating terrorism, the Russians are alone in this pursuit.

Moscow has been holding meetings with various Syrian opposition groups recently; Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al Mouallem has just visited Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian president would not traditionally meet with a foreign minister, but such is his apparent desire to reach a political solution for Syria.

European sources describe Mouallem as reliable and open to discussions.

The Russians included in the talks representatives of some Syrian opposition groups. Together they discussed strategies to neutralise those who oppose the achievement of a political solution.

It appears that the US is not obstructing this diplomatic effort.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to create and sustain reliable opposition groups in Syria, and the political instability only increases the risks of further collapse of the country.

Recently the Saudi foreign minister visited Moscow and Putin went to Turkey, indicating a coordinated engagement of the major stakeholders in the Syrian crisis.

The Russians appear intent on achieving the consensus of all key players.

Meanwhile, Putin sent an envoy to the Middle East; Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov travelled to the region for several meetings. One of these was with Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.

The two had met previously, including before Al Qusair battle in May 2013, which completely redrew the map of power in Syria.

Previous failed diplomatic attempts taught Moscow the need to use a multilateral strategy to limit the escalation and demands that some European countries, such as France, often placed on previous proposed solutions.

The Russians have also learned to deal with EU countries with all issues on the table, with discussions and negotiations including gas supply, Ukraine, combating terrorism and the Syrian crisis.

The US seems to be absent from these attempts, staying out of the way.

The Americans have made combating terrorism a priority, and cannot refocus on a political solution without causing conflict with their main objective.

Despite this, it is interesting to note the shift in the language used by various US think tanks, which use “Syrian government forces” rather than the previously used “regime forces” or “Assad’s forces”.

It seems the US support to this pursuit is given by it getting out of the way.

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