… by Petr Lvov, for New Eastern Outlook, Moscow
– First published on September 12th, 2013 –
[ Editors Note: NEO has given me editorial approval to publish selected articles from its foreign affairs journal. It’s large writing stable of hundreds of geopolitical and diplomatic scholars hail primarily from the Institute of Oriental Studies and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. This partnership is all part of our long range goal to make VT a home for not only high quality but a wide geographical variety of opinions on the key issues facing us all… Jim W. Dean ]
It would seem that the international pro-peace community can finally rejoice, sit back and enjoy the fruits of victory.
Should it be a short period of time, let’s say two weeks, even for this limited amount of time Syria can breathe freely due to the Russian initiative of transferring the Syrian chemical stores under the the international control.
At worst the military aggression against Syria is delayed, at best it will never happen due to the peaceful negotiations.
In his speech to the American people Barak Obama addressed the Congress with a proposal to delay the voting on the future of the anti-Syrian operation on a premise that he needs time to work the things out with Moscow and the UN Security Council.
His speech was broadcast live on September 10 and the two days preceding this date were rich on events, so the speech writers had to work overnight, adding the finishing touches minutes away from the speech itself.
But let’s not kid ourselves just yet, the ghost of war is not going anywhere. By the course of his speech Obama showed that he remains assured that it was Assad who used chemical weapons in the Syrian war. He also stated that the Syrian opposition is partially composed of the radical elements, which means that the civil war in Syria is not going anywhere.
But he underlined that a diplomatic solution is preferred over the military one, but at the same time he added that there’s still a chance of the cruise missile preemptive strikes to be launched.
This is a significant improvement over the full-scale aerial engagement that the White House was planning before. Still the US fleet remains at a anchor in the region, demonstrating that all the peace talks can go in vain at any minute.
According to Obama the White House tries to escape “a long time commitment” in the future military campaign in Syria. But the amount of mental pressure the Assad regime and Bashar Assad himself is experiencing now is tremendous.
Obama promised to hold a handful of meetings on the Russian initiative with Vladimir Putin, he also sent the US Secretary of State to Geneva for him to negotiate with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs – Sergey Lavrov. Russian side has already prepared the draft of the initiative and sent it by the official channels to Washington.
The U.S. officials say that they will examine the draft immediately without any form of delay. But Damascus was quicker, once the initiative was announced, Syrian authorities said that they would support it. They would allow Russian and the UN experts at their chemical facilities, but what’s even more important – Syria is eager to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention.
“We will open our storage sites, and cease production,” – said Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem – “We are ready to open these facilities to Russia, other countries and the United Nations. We intend to give up chemical weapons altogether.”
Vladimir Putin said the initiative would only work if Washington called off any strike against Damascus.
“Certainly, this is all reasonable, it will function and will work out, only if the U.S. and those who support it on this issue pledge to renounce the use of force, because it is difficult to make any country – Syria or any other country in the world – to unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration.”
So the White House is taking a two week pause on Syria and the hearing is the Senate is delayed.
The excuse – they need time to examine the Russian peaceful initiative closely, but there’s hardly a person in Washington who doesn’t understand that Obama administration has just dodged a bullet since the White House has failed to persuade congressmen to approve military actions against Syria.
Meanwhile, back in Syria the pressure is mounting. The rebels have recently stated that the United States arms deliveries were resumed. On top of all the news reports are bringing the messages about the reinforcement that should arrive at the “Syrian front’ in no time.
Around 1300 members of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula group that were freed from the Saudi prisons to join the rebel ranks. Around 1000 militants from Yemen are heading towards the Syrian border as well. It seems that a majority of the Arab countries have contributed to this flow of mercenaries that are to become the “oppressed opposition” once they cross the Syrian border.
Another point of interest is the report presented by the UN commission that interviewed 258 residents and ex-residents from Syria via Skype. According to their findings, the rebels are to be blamed for killing civilians, kidnapping and torturing. The regular troops can only become a source of causalities when they fight rebels in the populated urban areas.
The Middle Eastern media has been criticizing Obama in a pro-active manner recently. The Obama critics can be divided in a number of different groups.
One group of authors blame him for being too indecisive, another – for being a puppet in a Zionist conspiracy, third are assured that the aggression against Syria serves the U.S. interests in the region best.
Most of them doing this for a handsome reward provided by the keen ally of the United States – Saudi Arabia. It seems that throwing partners under the bus is a common business practice in this country.
It’s a little early to pop champagne. The rebels are accumulating forces and ammunition using the help of the United States and the Wahabiite monarchies to strike Damascus and the all the large cities when the time is right.
There will be no use of the allied air forces shaking the ground with bombs when there’s no troops to back them up. Washington is determined to topple Assad, so all it needs is another chemical provocation against the civilians in Syria, Israel, Turkey, and you can kiss the Russian initiative good bye.
Petr Lvov, doctor of political science, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Editing: Jim W. Dean