17.09.2013 Author: Viktor Titov

Syria: The West Tightens the Conditions of the ‘Geneva Deal’

67yy56Barely two days after the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, John Kerry, the United States and its Western allies on the UN Security Council – Britain and France – have begun to tighten the requirements on Syria with their discussions on the Security Council resolution needed to “stamp” the Geneva agreement. This was predicted by A. Orlov in his article “The Geneva Agreement: A Victory or a Deception?. So it’s all true – Washington needs a resolution from the international community, which would legitimize a U.S. military operation against Syria under any pretext, including in the case of provocation on the part of the rebels with the use of chemical weapons.

Just after midday on Monday in Paris, after his meeting with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the UN Security Council resolution on Syria should include sanctions against those who have committed crimes in this country. “In the coming days we want the UN Security Council to pass a strong resolution that calls for serious sanctions in the case of non-fulfillment of the resolution’s requirements. A resolution that would at last see responsibility attributed to those who committed crimes in Syria,” said Fabius.

Only two days earlier – on Saturday – the foreign ministers of Russia and the United States agreed on the Syrian issue: The parties were in favor of a political settlement for the conflict, no military intervention and the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons and their destruction by the mid-2014. Although U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the agreement reached in Geneva, at the same time he warned that in the event of the failure of diplomatic efforts the United States will be prepared to act.

On the basis of the adopted agreement, the UN Security Council will prepare a resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN charter involving the use of force in the event of failure to comply. Francois Hollande believes that the resolution must include a specified option of military intervention if other attempts to force Syria to abandon its stocks of chemical weapons fail to give results.

This begs the question: so who triumphed in Geneva? It is finally now clear – not Russia. In any case, the Geneva accords were not a victory for peace over the threats of war. The status quo with the rebels against the legitimate Syrian authorities remains, and no one plans to stop fighting while the liquidation of Damascus’ chemical weapons arsenal takes place, yet Syria must follow a complex path leading to the elimination of its chemical weapons, after which Syria will lose an important means, if not the main means, of deterring aggressors. But how you can work with international chemical weapons inspectors if the country is in a state of civil war? After all, someone has to ensure their safety. But it means something else: As soon as the Syrians fail to satisfy the strict schedule for the handover of chemical weapons to international control, Chapter 7 of the UN charter can come into force, which Western countries are going to include in the resolution on Syria.

Of course, at present the UN Security Council resolution has not been adopted yet. And Russia, along with China, can veto any of its proposals that fall under Chapter 7. But the “fight” in the Security Council is more complicated. Moscow will again be blamed for being unwilling to cooperate. Although with Russia’s proposal on Syria, President Vladimir Putin clearly linked the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons to a guarantee from the United States rejecting military action against Damascus.

So in New York there will be further diplomatic battles between the diplomats of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council concerning the resolution on Syria. Lavrov, according to his statement on Monday, has already expressed surprise over the use of Chapter 7, which was brought up by the Western “troika” of foreign ministers – the United States, the United Kingdom and France. And then there is the information leaked to mass media – Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal allegedly arrived in Paris to meet them. This is another blatant attempt at collusion between the West and its Wahhabi ally against Damascus, and thus against the Russian plan to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria.

So the situation around Syria remains, and will remain, exacerbated until defused, either in the form of military strikes by the United States, which is most likely, or a compromise solution on Syrian chemical weapons. But it is hard to believe in the good intentions of the West and the Arabian Wahhabi regime.

Viktor Titov, Ph.D., political commentator on the Middle East, exclusively for  online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.