New Middle East Order

Trump announced on December 16th the withdrawal of US troops from Syria. He also announced that Turkey will take care of Islamic terrorists in Syria, basically out sourcing US role in Syria and Middle east to Turkey which is still a Nato ally. Although Turkey in recent years have developed close ties with Russia, it is still close to US and West. Turkish strategic objective is to leverage various competitions in Middle east to emerge as the leading power in Middle east and be the policeman for the west.At the same time ruling Muslim brotherhood in Turkey also drives the effort to become the leader of the Muslim world. In this effort Turkey is supported by Qatar.

On the other hand there is another current of Arab countries are emphasizing that there should be no interference by foreign powers in Arab affairs. This position is led by Egypt , Saudi Arabia , UAE and gulf countries. This group of countries grouped within Arab League supported Syrian rebels due to perceived Iranian support for Assad. However the recent events such as Khashoggi affair, Islamic efforts to overthrow governments in Arabic countries have made them to reconsider their position with respect to Turkey also. Arab League leadership considers Turkey as much as Iran a threat to Arab countries. Egypt is vehemently opposed to Turkey due to Muslim brother hood (MB) dominance in Turkey. Al Sisi came to power overthrowing MB government. UAE and gulf countries except Qatar consider MB as the biggest threat to their governments They also support anti-Islamist forces in Libya.

Looking at the recent developments in Syria, Assad has been slowly gaining upper hand in Syria with Russian assistance. Only remaining parts to be liberated are Idlib and Eastern Syria ( East of Euphrates river). Idlib has an agreement between Turkey and Russia. Eastern Syria is mostly controlled by Kurds with the support of US forces. Turkey is hostile to this semi Kurdish state as it has it's own Kurdish problem. Basically US forces which are there to fight Isis is also a buffer between Turkey and Syrian Kurds. Assad too wants to gain control of Eastern Syria which has oil reserves. In this multi faceted battle for supremacy in Eastern Syria , US was the controller. Withdrawal of US forces means that Turkey is given free hand to quash the Kurds under the guise of fighting Isis. This is unacceptable to Kurds, Syrian government and to Arab League. Arab League see this effort of Turkey as a an effort to dominate Arab world. Even Iraq will not accept Turkish dominance of Eastern Syria.

It is in this context, current diplomatic moves by Arab League countries should be seen. Egyptian intelligence chief met Syrian intelligence chief and Egypt is negotiating a deal between Assad and Kurds. At the same time UAE has reopened it's embassy in Damascus . Efforts are ongoing to readmit Syria back to Arab League. It is clear that in the near future Assad will meet the Saudis and distance himself from Iranians.

US withdrawal from Eastern Syria has created new alignments. US by anointing Turkey as the policeman for Middle east has created a new alliance of Arab countries led by Egypt, Saudi Arabia , Syria and possibly by Iraq as a counter for Turkey supported by Qatar. Between these two alliances , Russia is neutral as it has business interests in both alliances. Iran is literally on sidelines. US again is only interested in business interests . It does not need middle east oil as much as before as it has become a oil exporter. US is only interested in arms sales to both alliances. France is close to Arab league and Germany to Turkey.

In this new struggle for control, Arab League has much of the military and financial clout and should ultimately prevail .