Bethan McKernan Beirut
President-elect has vowed that the US will be less interventionist in the Middle East in future, a stance welcomed by Damascus
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian and Russian
allies have welcomed the news Donald Trump will be the 45th
President of the United States GettyEmbattled Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad is “ready” to cooperate with the US
President-elect Donald Trump, one of Mr Assad’s advisers has
Speaking to US media group National Public Radio on Thursday – just after Mr Trump’s seismic victory in the US general election – Bouthaina Shaaban said any collaboration on Syria’s almost six-year-long civil war will depend on “whether Mr Trump’s policies meet expectations.”
“I think the American people have sent a great, a very important
message to the world,” she added.
The US has tacitly supported rebels in the war both logistically and financially and has been committed to the idea that Mr Assad must be removed from power in order to bring peace to the conflict which has killed more than 400,000 people to date.
Mr Trump has indicated that his foreign policy stance will be less interventionist than his predecessors’. He has stated in the past that regime change only causes more instability in the Middle East and while Mr Assad is not exactly a welcome partner, shoring up his regime is the best way to stem the extremism that has flourished in the chaos of Syria’s civil war.
Mr Trump has suggested withdrawing support for the Syrian rebels
still fighting in east Aleppo, neighbouring Idlib province and
the south of the country, which could prove to finally tilt the
war in the Syrian government’s favour.
Mr Trump has also advocated changes to the current US-led coalition’s strategy in dealing with Isis. He memorably elaborated on his policy on the campaign trail last year, saying he would “bomb the s*** out of them.”
“Isis is making a tremendous amount of money because they have certain oil camps, certain areas of oil that they took away,” he incorrectly claimed.
“I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the
pipes… I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing
left. And you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there and in
two months, you ever see these guys, how good they are, the great
oil companies? They’ll rebuild that sucker, brand new – it’ll be
The US is currently enmeshed in a complicated alliance in Syria with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who would like to provide rebels – among them al-Qaeda-backed factions – with surface-to-air missiles.
Analysts are worried that such a move could greatly escalate the war, particularly if Russian planes backing Mr Assad’s air force are targeted.
Mr Trump himself has indicated he would like to repair ties with Russia, a sentiment President Vladimir Putin has welcomed.
Observers who believe that much of Mr Trump’s more alarming rhetoric was “campaign bluster” are waiting to find out whether the President-elect will tone down or amend his policy ideas when he takes office in January.