Putin To Visit Iran Next Week To Attend Syria Redevelopment & Peace Forum

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Syrian reconstruction and energy supplies east to be discussed with regional players 

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran on July 19, to take part in the meeting of the heads of Astana process guarantor states, Russia’s Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has said.

Putin will meet the Iranian and Turkish Presidents Ebrahim Raisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Astana process was initiated under the leadership of Türkiye and Russia to bring a cease-fire and conflict processes under control in Syria. It continues to be operated as a platform where political and humanitarian issues are discussed. The peace process was launched in January 2017 at the initiative of Türkiye, Russia and Iran. Its meetings also contribute to the advancement of an UN-led diplomatic process in Geneva.

While Syria will be the main topic of discussion, plenty of opportunity will also be provided to discuss the new geo-political dynamics. None of the countries concerned are US allies – all have been hit by sanctions and financial stresses from Washington in the past, while Syria was involved in a US backed war that destroyed large parts of the country in a conflict reminiscent of that currently underway in Ukraine, where US weapons are also being supplied to troops in a secondary country, although in Syria’s case this occurred without the approval of the incumbent government. The result was the near-total destruction of the country. A similar fate may well befall Ukraine, again with US weapons entering the country to fight a non-US conflict.

A key feature of Syria is that although it produces relatively modest quantities of oil and gas, its location is highly strategic in terms of regional security and prospective energy transit routes to Europe, Türkiye and other countries in the Levant. It is not inconceivable that plans will be made to secure Syrian supplies to the east rather than west to the EU.

Russia and Iran between them hold 43% of the world’s total gas reserves. When nearby Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE are included – none of them especially US friendly – are added to the equation, the figure runs to nearly 60%.

In terms of global oil reserves, the regional nations of Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, and Libya possess 54% of all known volumes. Regional nations such as Türkiye, as well as giant consumers further east such as India and China will all want to secure supplies.

China will also be a main topic of conversation as concerns Syria as it has the larger capacity for reconstructing Syrian infrastructure. Syria joined the Belt and Road Initiative in January this year,  and there has already been much discussion about Chinese and Russian assistance to include it as part of a wider ‘Five Seas‘ development strategy which would see the country, already possessing a Mediterranean coastline, be further connected via canals and pipelines extending to the Black Sea, Red Sea, Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. That means Syria developing as a geopolitical hub east and in time becoming a key player in regional energy and trade distribution.

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