No Leeway for Turkey and Gulf Nations in Obama-Putin Pact for Syria

Last week, as soon as soon as Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin finalized their pact for ending the Syrian war, their emissaries flew off to Middle East capitals on a sales mission.
This is reported in DEBKA Weekly’s continuing exclusive coverage of the landmark entente.
Vice President Joe Biden tackled Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, while Secretary of State John Kerry conferred in Riyadh with Saudi King Salman and the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states.
Both met with stiff opposition.
In Ankara, Biden was crystal clear on three points:
1. Washington and Moscow were of one mind that Turkey, after five years of meddling in northern Syrian affairs, must be excluded from the political and military processes for resolving the Syrian question.
Once Syria achieved internal stability, he said, Turkey and its air force would be invited for a role in the joint offensive against the Islamic State.
Neither Erdogan nor Davutoglu liked what they heard, but they were forced to realize this was an ultimatum. It was evident that the White House and the Kremlin were dead set on carrying forward their blueprint for bringing the Syrian war to an end and that this resolve did not depend on progress at the Geneva conference on Syria’s future taking place on Friday, Jan. 29.
2. Erdogan was told to forget about his guiding principle for curbing Kurdish separatism in Syria. He had awarded Turkey the right to intervene in the actions of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm (YPG) in their enclaves to the west (Kobani and Efrin) of the Euphrates River, but not east of the river in Hassakeh and Qamishli.
This rule, he was told, was no longer relevant or feasible.
3. The Turkish president was further urged to cut down to an absolute minimum on his military and security operations against Kurds in southern Turkey.
In Riyadh, Kerry curtly informed GCC foreign ministers, especially those of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar that they must forthwith cut off support for Syrian rebel groups, be it in the form of military training, funding, or arms supplies.
This directive was received in dead silence.
After being advised that the Russian military would deal with any rebel groups rising up against US-Russian dictates, they asked Secretary Kerry two questions:
Had Iran endorsed the two-power deal? And how exactly would Bashar Assad be removed from the presidency?
Kerry answered that Moscow had briefed Tehran on the details of the big power accord and won its consent. (A separated article focuses on Iran’s perspective)
The mechanics for Assad’s removal were still being worked out.
The two American officials flew back from the Middle East without breaking down the wall of hostility encountered in Ankara and Riyadh to the scenario presented them for Syria’s future. They were far from certain that their interlocutors wouldn’t try to overturn it.

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