Letter From the Editors: Feb.29-March 13, 2016

Author: Xenia Grushetsky

B-list celebrities: from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to the new Ukrainian gentry

A Plan B is in the works this week. Most literally, this concerns the fragile Syrian ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia, which was signed by the Assad government and many of the rebel groups. While the ceasefire may be the first step to bringing the Syrian civil war to a halt after five bloody years, it also has its detractors. Namely, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel - each of these had their own agenda in the Syria conflict, writes Izvestia. For Turkey and Saudi Arabia, that agenda included curtailing Iran's growing influence in the region; for Israel - a chance to get the Golan Heights.

Saudi Arabia's Plan B fell through, since it is engaged in Yemen and does not have enough forces to get involved on the ground in Syria. It could, of course, supply the rebels with man-portable surface-to-air missile systems, but according to analyst Gevorg Mirzayan, it would be severely reprimanded for doing so. Finally, Riyadh's clout with other Gulf monarchies seems to be shrinking.

Turkey, for its part, is in an even worse position than Saudi Arabia. Its only option to derail the ceasefire would be to bring in troops. Which is only possible if Ankara knows that Washington has its back - and Washington is not about to go along with such a plan.

But do the Americans have Plan B of their own? According to Mirzayan: "How can there be any talk of a Plan B if the US does not even have a clear Plan A?" Indeed, what started as an attempt by Washington to curb the rise of Iran has turned into a very sticky situation - now that a nuclear arms deal has been reached with Tehran, the US has lost its original purpose for getting involved in ...

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