July 30, 2018 | The Hill

Helsinki summit an opportunity to win Russia’s support for constraining Iran in Syria

July 30, 2018 | The Hill

Helsinki summit an opportunity to win Russia’s support for constraining Iran in Syria

Leading up to his meeting with President Putin of Russia, President Trump must convince Russia to help constrain Iran’s growing presence in Syria, says FDD’s John Hannah in his most recent op-ed for The Hill, co-written with John Bird. The United States must continue to negotiate from a position of strength and present a unified front with its regional allies. In addition, the authors also state that the US must leverage its willingness to withdraw US troops from Russia’s strategic points in Syria, following the complete removal of all Iranian-backed forces from Syria.

An excerpt from the op-ed follows:

It is clearly in America’s interest to prevent Iran’s further entrenchment. Even if the prospects for securing Moscow’s cooperation aren’t good, Putin’s readiness to help should be seriously tested. National Security Advisor John Bolton had it  right when he said recently, “There are possibilities for doing a larger negotiation on helping to get Iranian forces out of Syria… I don’t think Assad is the strategic issue. I think Iran is the strategic issue.”

But President Trump should have no illusions about Russia’s willingness to help the United States in Syria. As in the past, Putin’s instinct will be to do the minimum necessary to gain U.S. consent for Assad’s reassertion of control throughout Syria. Given the president’s oft-stated eagerness to “come home” from Syria as soon as possible, Putin may believe a few vague promises from Russia to work for an Iranian withdrawal will be enough for the United States to pack up and leave.

Trump must disabuse Putin of that perception in Helsinki and deal with Russia from a position of maximum leverage. The S-300 episode offers guidance on how that might be done.

Read the full piece from The Hill here.

VADM John Bird, USN (ret.) is former commander of U.S. 7th Fleet. John Hannah, former national security adviser to Vice President Cheney, is senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Distinguished Fellow with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s (JINSA) Gemunder Center. Both are members of JINSA’s Gemunder Center Iran Task Force.

Read in The Hill

Issues:

Iran Iran Global Threat Network Russia Syria