On Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly rejected the U.S. plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Despite the U.S. administration's threats to cut funding for the U.N. as and countries that oppose it that receive annual American aid, the U.S. and Israel remained alone.
"Washington found itself isolated as many of its Western and Arab allies voted for the measure. Some of those allies, like Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, are major recipients of U.S. military or economic aid, although the U.S. threat to cut aid didn't single out any country," a Reuters report said. "Later on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley asked the 64 countries who voted no, abstained or did not cast a vote to come to a Jan. 3 reception ‘to thank you for your friendship to the United States,' according to the invitation seen by Reuters," the report added. Under the leadership of Turkey, the EU and Arabic countries, whose relations are split with Ankara, challenged the U.S. and Israel. However, the Jerusalem issue is not the only one leading to the isolation of the U.S. in the region.
The U.S. also suffers in Syria as, besides Turkey and opposition groups, the regime and Russia are unhappy with the PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party's (PYD) expanding control. Calling on the PYD to integrate the regime or be ready for battle, Bashar Assad said last week: "When we talk about those referred to as 'the Kurds,' they are in fact not just Kurds. All those who work for a foreign country, mainly those under American command ... are traitors. … This is how we see these groups working for the Americans." His states clearly shows that his administration is opposed to the U.S. presence in Syria and its proxies. Assad, whose regime was saved from ruin by Russian air support and Iranian manpower, would not be expected to challenge the U.S. on his own. For instance, a recent Associated Press (AP) report said: "During Russian President Vladimir Putin's brief visit to a Russian air base in Syria where he met Assad earlier this month, a video that surfaced on the internet caught the moment a Russian general grabbed Assad by the arm, holding him back to allow Putin to walk ahead. It may have been a friendly maneuver, but for many Syria observers, the video was an apt reflection of just how much Assad owed Putin and how much sovereignty Assad has had to give up to stay in power. Putin's victory lap in Syria also demonstrated his status as the real victor who calls the shots when it comes to Syria." Soon, Russia came up with a statement, appealing the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Syria.
Before this appeal, the Geneva talks for forming an opposition to Russia and the regime to become an alternative administration also failed while the Astana talks, organized by Russia, Iran and Turkey, had been successful to cease fighting in most parts of the country. Russia's representative in the negotiations, Aleksandr Lavrentyev, said: "Russia was forging ahead with plans to host a National Dialogue Congress in the Black Sea resort of Sochi to accelerate discussions over a political deal that have sputtered in Geneva."
The representative also called on the U.S. to leave Syria, as did Assad. "Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy for Syria said Thursday that there was no reason for U.S. forces to remain in Syria and that Washington's stated reasons for maintaining a military presence there were groundless," Reuters reported. "Any reasons cited by the Americans to justify their further military presence ... are just excuses and we think their presence must end," Lavrentyev said.
Despite Ankara's calls for the U.S. to refrain from arming the PYD's People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, the White House proposed Daesh's presence as a pretext. However, the PYD's existence is considered a present threat by both Russia and Turkey. Moscow believes the group threatens Syria's integrity while Ankara asserts the group's links with the PKK and its terrorist attacks in Turkey.
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