Syria and the Incompetent Director |
Al Hayat - 15 July, 2012
Author: Zuheir Kseibati
The plan of the UN-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan to lead Syria out of the dark tunnel, or rather to achieve the impossible as it was proved throughout the preceding months, is in an impasse.
Hence, there is a deadlock, except at the level of the blood of 17,000 Syrians who were killed in 16 months, as well as massive destruction and displacement.
Despite this hefty price, the confrontation seems to be nearing another peak, i.e. a conflict between two impossibilities in light of the illusion of the military settlement and mutual Russian-Western futility in wagering on twisting the other’s arm.
Indeed, neither Washington nor its allies can grant international legitimacy to Chapter VII at the level of the Syrian conflict, nor can Moscow and Beijing allow the passage of any new resolution at the Security Council, granting legitimacy to the wager on political dialogue with the regime. This is at least the vision of the West and the Syrian opposition, both domestically and abroad.
This Russian stalemate was conveyed by the opposition Syrian National Council delegation which met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow and came out disappointed, seeing how nothing has changed in terms of the Kremlin’s approach in around a year, during which about ten thousand people died in Syria - from the army, the security forces, the Free Syrian Army and the civilians.
The same could be said at the level of requesting the impossible. Indeed, foreign military intervention is undesired. And if the Free Army were able to topple the regime, it would have done so already. As to reform, it is deemed obsolete by the opposition which perceives the Russian initiative as being from another planet and as calling for an impossible dialogue. How can the regime accept dialogue with those who wish to bury it, and why would the latter reward it while it is trying to suffocate them?
France thwarted Russia’s aspirations to see the ratification of a UN draft resolution which – in principle – extends the mission of the observers, who now have no other task but to count the numbers of victims and dead from all parties in Syria.
The draft resolution is still excluding the sanctions’ option to force the regime to implement the initiative and the six-point plan and is converging with Annan’s mobile efforts – from Damascus to Tehran and Baghdad. But the timing of this draft resolution aims at extending Moscow’s control over the card of the impossible dialogue.
In the meantime, the UN-Arab League envoy is playing with the West a game of “see no evil, hear no evil.” Yet he is still afraid. Hence, when Washington refused to give Tehran the card of whichever role at the level of the Syrian issue, to avoid any trade-off with its Iranian nuclear program, Annan shut his ears and headed to Tehran to ensure that role.
In that sense, some opponents of the regime in Damascus have concluded that Annan – who is supposed to carry out his mission professionally and neutrally – is part of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian-Chinese axis.
More importantly, the latter are saying that Annan, who carried to Tehran and Baghdad Assad’s plan to end the violence starting from the major pits and in a gradual way, seemed to be promoting the “attrition of the revolution” and appeared to be coming from another planet.
If the opposition’s position as announced from Moscow is that “there will be no dialogue before Assad’s departure prior to the transitional phase,” how can it accept another priority featuring a ceasefire which would extend the term of the regime, and then negotiate with it over its fate later on?
What the Kremlin wants from its planet is as logical as seeing the regime – whichever regime – negotiating over the way it should be killed and its place of burial. Moscow practiced its trader’s skills when it sold “defensive” weapons to Damascus, while upholding a diplomacy emulating the director of a flop. Such a director pushes the audience out in haste and cannot believe the extent of the vacuum surrounding him.
For how can it believe while it is still convinced that the majority of the Syrian people support the regime following the fall of 17,000 dead?
Between the skilled trader and the incompetent director, it is so far difficult to speculate about the unrevealed facets of the deal which Moscow wants to seal to end the new Cold War with the West in Syria and in the region. And because the West is not willing to sacrifice its influence or the blood of its soldiers, the only constant in the tunnel of the Syrian tragedy is that it would be impossible to anticipate the end of its chapters, as well as the fate of the initiatives that have nothing to do with what is happening on the ground - in terms of killings and destruction amid this collective suicide.