Three-Way Contest for Raqqa to Shape Mideast

Three-Way Contest for Raqqa to Shape Mideast by Yaroslav Trofimov, Wall Street Journal

All roads lead to Raqqa—and as the Syrian conflict enters its sixth year, the outcome of the scramble for Islamic State’s de facto capital will shape the balance of power in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.

With the self-styled caliphate rapidly shrinking in Iraq after the loss of much of Mosul, the fall of Raqqa and Islamic State’s remaining territories in Syria has become just a matter of time. The contest over who gets these spoils, however, threatens to unleash a new spiral of violence that could draw regional and global powers deeper into the conflict.

The three forces aiming for Raqqa—Sunni Arab rebels, the Syrian regime and Kurdish-led militias—all view control over that area as giving them crucial leverage in any political settlement of the war.

The complicated dynamic is further muddled by the strategic calculations of their main sponsors, whose own interests extend far beyond the power struggle inside Syria…

Read on.

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White House in a “red hot” debate over #Raqqa strategy - may not decide until late-April 2017.…

White House #Raqqa debate:
1. Re-evaluate #YPG relationship & heal #Turkey ties
2. Use YPG to take city then hand it to #Assad/#Russia

Turkey Foreign Minister:
1. We will attack #YPG in #Manbij
2. U.S is “undecided & disoriented” on #Raqqa plans

WHO would have thought the Trump WH and yes even Trump himself is "confused and disoriented"??????

Turkey says relations with the U.S will be “seriously damaged” if the #Raqqa op is led by #YPG/#SDF…

Germany forbids #calan and #YPG flags during public demonstrations.
Reason: They are "suited to promote the cohesion of the #PKK".

Germany bans public display of calan portraits, arguing that it would mobilize for banned terror group PKK.

SDF already set up a Manbij-style council to take over. Expectation YPG will then trade Raqqa to regime in return for autonomy.