Dividing the pie.
Summary: The total war seen raging in Syria is in fact drawing to a close.
The total war seen raging in Syria is in fact drawing to a close.
Instead we are entering into a new stage, where an attritional diplomatic war will begin to divide up the Syrian booty.
It will all be done in the name of the Syrian people, of course, as well as world security.
The main players are all well-defined, as are their ambitions and goals.
Russia and the U.S. have their bases, Iran has its influence, Turkey its ability to disrupt its enemies while the Kurds have their semi-autonomous areas in the north.
Now comes the shift to deals made anywhere but in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin set the tone Thursday by saying that it was impossible to reach a settlement in Syria without constructive dialogue with the United States.
On the face of it, it seems half a million Syrians have been killed and millions more displaced around the world in vain.
Syria is so devastated, so divided that getting back to square one is impossible.
And in the end the same dictator, President Bashar Assad, remains in place, treated as a hero by his foreign backers yet abandoned by his people.
Assad's latest claim on TV that the Syrian people are madly in love with him is the only the latest example of this irony.
Foreign powers may be licking their lips looking at a Syria ripe for the taking, but unless Syrians are allowed to return home and freely choose their own destiny, the country's future will look increasingly bleak for all involved.
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