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Fanning the Flames of War Instead of Promoting Cease-fire

Friday, August 10, 2012

Abolqasem Qasemzadeh

About one and a half years after the beginning of the armed conflicts and the ongoing crisis in Syria, neither the opposition, nor the government of President Bashar Assad, has been able to inflict a final defeat on the other side. The Syrian crisis can be both assessed by focusing on hour-by-hour news which is published inside and outside the country, and also analyzed according to its international repercussions as well as positions taken on this crisis by various regional and international political players. The following items have regularly hit the headlines of international news media about Syria during the past few weeks.

First – The first category of news items on Syria has been focused on such issues as escalation of conflicts in the Arab country, especially in the city and region of Aleppo, as well as the United States’ announcement of allocating 25 million dollars as special aid to help the Syrian insurgents procure advanced weaponry to be used by warring factions. Member states of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC] have also allocated 100 million dollars to allow the Syrian opposition buy heavy weapons in its fight against the Syrian President Bashar Assad. Another important item in this category was the resignation of the special envoy of the United States and the Arab League to Syria, Kofi Annan, who had proposed a six-article peace plan to restore calm in the country concurrent with an address by  Assad who said the war in Aleppo will determine Syria’s fate. Finally, there were reports about adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly against the Syrian government. The resolution, which lacks executive guarantee, had been drafted by Saudi Arabia. These were major news items about the situation in Syria as well as external developments related to the Syrian crisis.

Second – Although Kofi Annan has resigned his peace mission in Syria, countries like China, Russia, Iran, and a few other countries are still trying to find a new and impartial person to replace him by assuming the responsibility for the implementation of the United Nations’ six-article peace plan for Syria. These countries believe that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis and if involved parties fan the flames of conflict instead of trying to restore peace, the ensuing crisis will easily engulf other countries in the region as well. If this happens, they argue, the crisis will lead to a dangerous faceoff among international powers as a result of which the entire Middle East and the Persian Gulf region will enter a new phase of military confrontation and war. It will be extremely difficult, then, to predict the final outcome of such a war.

The UN peacekeeping forces left Syria after their mission was extended in Syria for another month. What we see in Syria right now is expansion of belligerence instead of cease-fire.

The following points are important when one tries to give an analysis of the current situation in Syria.

1. The US strategy on Syria is “embargo on the outside and fighting on the inside.” Imposing an embargo on the country from the outside has various economic, political and media aspects and at present, this plan is in gears along a vast front. Fighting on the inside, although so far without a success for the United States and its triangular allies (Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia), is still being supported and continued by them. They believe that the main problem is how to give weapons, especially heavy and advanced ones, to the warring Syrian insurgents. Providing necessary funds to enable insurgents buy more guns and establishment of a special military headquarters to manage the war with army and security officers from the United States, UK, and Turkey, will usher the Syrian conflict in a totally new phase.

Many Syria experts believe that establishment of cease-fire will be a first step for the resolution of crisis in Syria. The government of the US President Barack Obama, however, opposes cease-fire in the country. Some experts believe that the failure of Kofi Annan’s plan in Syria was the result of profound differences at the United Nations Security Council which have actually made establishment of any form of cease-fire in Syria impossible. This political approach to the crisis in Syria maintains that as long as clashes are going on, there will be no solution to the Syrian crisis. Of course, the Syrian opposition is not a uniform force. They constitute a wide spectrum ranging from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to liberals to non-religious seculars. It also encompasses the Syrian al-Qaeda, representative of such racial minorities as Kurds that have special demands, and representatives of many other tribal and ethnic groups. This diversity has created wide rifts among them. At the same time, certain opposition groups and their military arms inside the Syria are strongly against intervention from the outside by the Syrian expatriates or establishment of an opposition government out of Syria. As a result of such wide differences, the opposition does not seem to be able to overthrow the Syrian government on its own.

2. Some US and Israeli politicians are worried about the future of Syria after Assad is gone; they are also concerned about possible choice(s) for his succession. They see that al-Qaeda has infiltrated the Syrian opposition and has gained strength through war in that country.

This group of the American and Israeli politicians argues that if Assad falls, tension and differences among the opposition groups will soar because Kurds, for example, have raised demands which are not acceptable for Sunni groups. As a result, profound differences exist between the two groups as of now. On the other side, the Muslim Brotherhood holds another view about the future course of the Syrian government which is opposed by the nationalists. There are also radical groups which seek an opportunity to take revenge on Alawites. Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, cannot reach compromise with any other group. Such a future image which is punctuated with severe tensions and intricate crises can become even more dangerous if “radicalism” succeeds to take the helm in the country considering that Syria has common borders with the Zionist regime of Israel.

3. Since France is currently the rotational chair of the Security Council and the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is a bigoted Jew with zealous ideas about protecting the sovereignty of Israel, the country has taken a more active foreign policy in Syria. The government of Francois Hollande in France had decided to act in tunes with the United States in the Syrian crisis. Due to political and cultural background of France in Syria, Obama administration attaches great significance to role of France in the Arab country.

The Western-Arab axis which is active against the Syrian government of Bashar Assad showed its full face during recent adoption of the General Assembly resolution which had been drafted by Saudi Arabia. Although the adopted resolution is not binding and lacks any form of executive guarantee, the French foreign minister appeared very active in gathering support for its adoption. On the other hand, China and Russia are still against the main policy of Obama administration which is “embargo on the outside and fighting on the inside.” Russia’s representative at the United Nations recently told reporters that it was quite surprising that the US representative at the Security Council talks of peace, but at the same time, the country is providing all kinds of weapons to the Syrian opposition to continue fighting the government of Bashar Assad. He noted that Washington is supplying all kinds of weaponry to the Syrian opposition, and accused the United States of trying to disturb the geopolitical balance of the entire region.

Political circles around the world are closely observing Moscow – Washington differences. Two scenarios are possible here. In the first scenario, Moscow succeeds to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis through political means and will be finally able to pull off Annan’s six-point initiative with a new special envoy in charge. In that case, Putin and his government will gain new standing in the Middle East. However, if Obama succeeds in toppling Bashar Assad through the policy of “fighting on the inside and embargo on the outside,” he will not only establish the US hegemony on the entire region, but will certainly win a new term in office as the president of the United States.

Key Words: Syria, Fanning the Flames of War, Promoting Cease-fire, United States, Arab League, UN Resolution, Syrian Insurgents, Al-Qaeda, Alawites, Six-Point Initiative, Qasemzadeh

Source: Ettelaat Newspaper
http://www.ettelaat.com
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

More By Abolqasem Qasemzadeh:

*From Baghdad to Moscow: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/From_Baghdad_to_Moscow.htm

*Iran's Positions on Syria: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran_s_Positions_on_Syria.htm

*Implementation of Cease-fire Plan in Syria: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Implementation_of_Cease_fire_Plan_in_Syria.htm

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