President Obama has announced that the military aggression against Syria should to be postponed for two weeks, while the U.S. authorities are examining the Russian plan of transferring the Syrian chemical weapons under the international control. After the examination the authorities are to present their opinion on it and gain an approval from the UN Security Council. But the Senate addressed Obama with a remark that the future aggression is to be postponed for 45 days if the Russian initiative on Syria should be really put in work. It was clear from the very beginning that two weeks is too small a period to execute the plan of Vladimir Putin properly.
It’s notable the Russian plan has found support in Damascus in no time, almost at the moment it was announced. At the same time the Syrian National Coalition, supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia, rejected the Russian initiative, calling it an “unacceptable political manoeuvre”. But some time later another anti-Assad group – the National Coordination Committee, after extensive discussions with London and Washington, said it would be supporting the Russian initiative.
But the Brigadier General of the Free Syrian Army has rejected the Russian plan straight out, which is explainable since FSA is influenced by Saudi Arabia. These armed forces have been waging war against Damascus for a long time now, and they were the source of the claims that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the civilians. Should a chemical attack happen again on a Syrian soil, or should Israel be subjected to chemical attacks, the evidence are to be found in the camps of FSA.
The White House authorities says that the Russian initiative has changed the focus from the upcoming U.S. aggression against Syria to the prospects of peace in Syria. White addressing the American people on a national TV Barak Obama said: “I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. We cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force.” At the same time Obama hinted the international community that the United States keeps on supplying the rebels in Syria with arms. The official representative of the rebels was a little more specific, saying that the United States are delivering new shipments with guns once again. That’s the same old American double standards at their best. It’s clear that Obama is still determined to use force in Syria. It seems that Washington is willing to forget war in Syria has been waged for 2.5 years already. According to the UN reports, more than 100 thousand people were killed in this conflict, 2 million more become refugees and another 4 million – internally displaced persons. The U.S. air-strikes, should they happen, will cause more causalities, more violence, more suffering for the Syrian people that Obama “feels for”
It’s a positive trend that Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry are holding talks in Geneva, their negotiations will be supported by the chemical weapons experts pretty soon. But we should remember that the same kind of talks were held during the preparations for the Geneva-2 summit that should have allowed the facilitate the peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict. Than the preparation process was abruptly stopped by the U.S. side. There’s no time for rose-tinted glasses since the United States make use this “pause” to supply the rebels with even more weapons and fresh troops. This opinion is shared by the high-profile Russian analyst Fedor Lukyanov, who believes that the Russian plan has all the chances to fail since there’s a lot of misunderstanding standing in the way of it. But should this plan succeed both sides will try to capitalize upon it. This should be a major success of Russian diplomacy that has been consistent for two and a half years of the crisis.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has written an OP-ED piece on the topic, that was published in the New York Times: “The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.
Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.
Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.”
As the old saying goes – if you want peace, prepare for war.
Vladimir Simonov is an expert on the Middle East. Exclusively for New Eastern Outlook