Tag Archives: Bashar al-Assad

US and Russia agreed about mediation of Syrian folder

The top US and Russian diplomats Hillary Clinton and Sergey Lavrov  held a surprise meeting, Thursday, in Dublin, with the United Nations’ peace envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, signaling fresh hopes of an international breakthrough to end the szrian civil war.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and United Nation Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met on the sidelines of a OSCE conference. The U.S. and Russia have agreed to support mediation among all sides in Syria’s civil war in a renewed bid to end the violence, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, quoted by Bloomberg.

Ahead of the meeting with Mr. Brahimi, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lavrov met separately Thursday for about 25 minutes. They agreed to hear Mr. Brahimi out on a path forward, a senior US official said. The two also discussed issues ranging from Egypt to North Korea, as well as new congressional action aimed at Russian officials accused of complicity in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Hillary_Clinton_OSCE_Conference_DublinThe U.S. and Russia have been at an impasse over how much pressure to exert to end the fighting between Assad’s government and rebels. Although the U.S. and Russia seem to compelled to reach a compromise, Clinton did not seem too optimistic. This meeting were “an important step but just the beginning”, Clinton said today on a stop in Northern Ireland. “I don’t think anybody believes that there was some great breakthrough.” Clinton reiterated that the U.S. believes any transition to a “democratic, unified” Syria “cannot possibly include Assad.” At the same time, she added, the U.S. intends to hold “every party to the same standard” of human rights and democratic values. “This is not just a one-sided dialogue” against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, she said. Also Brahimi said after the Dublin meeting that the three hadn’t “taken any sensational decisions” while agreeing to “work together to see how we can find creative ways” to end the fighting. Brahimi has not yet proposed a specific plan to try to end the fighting, but Clinton and Lavrov did work one out in June in Geneva.
That plan, which ultimately stalled, proposed creation of a transitionalSergey_Lavrov_OSCE_Conference_Dublin government along with al-Assad leaving office. But Russia later balked at any U.N. Security Council measure that would include sanctions or military action. Clinton insisted any U.N. resolution “have teeth.”
In a public statement, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said: “We agreed that all our joint actions will be based on the Geneva Communique. Discussing the current state of affairs, we decided that participants of the Action Group for Syria will be able to implement the tasks that were outlined on June 30. Russia and the United States realize that they bear special responsibility for international stability, something that was stressed by Lakhdar Brahimi. He believes that Moscow and Washington could try to contribute significantly to implementing the Geneva agreements”.

Early next week Clinton travels to Marrakesh, Morocco, for a meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People, a gathering of countries that support the political transition. Clinton said she “will explore with like-minded countries what more we can do to try to bring this conflict to an end.”

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Chemical weapons – a real threat or a paper tiger ?

Chemical weapons went back on the front of war statements between Washington and Damascus. Meanwhile, the armed clashes in Syria are closer to the capital of the country.

US President Barack Obama warned Syrian President Bashar Assad, not to approve the use of chemical weapons against armed opposition fighting his regime.
map_syria_neighbors_roads_620_120822“Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching” Obama said. “The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable” he warned.

Earlier, during her trip to Prague, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the warning and said the use of chemical weapons would constitute the crossing of a red line for the US. “Once again we issue a very strong warning” she said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Speaking to reporters, Clinton declined to say how the U.S. would react in the event of “credible evidence” that the Assad regime intended to use, or had used them CBS news reported.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that according to AFP, an unnamed US official claimed the regime has already begun mixing chemicals that can be used to make deadly sarin gas. “We’ve picked up several indications which lead us to believe that they’re combining chemical precursors” the anonymous source is reported to have said. An US official told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin earlier Monday that there are indications Assad’s regime has issued orders to combine the necessary ingredients to make the material, which are usually stored separately. “There is concern Syria is making chemical weapons material ready for use” a senior U.S. official separately told Martin. The two officials spoke after reports surfaced that U.S. and allied intelligence have detected Syrian movement of chemical weapons components in recent days.

The Syrian government has denied even possessing chemical or biological weapons. It is worth mentioning that Western experts think that Syria is believed to have hundreds, if not thousands, of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, a blistering agent and the more lethal nerve agents sarin and VX. However, it is difficult to say exactly in this moment if Assad’s chemical weapons are a real threat, a pretext for military foreign intervention or a paper tiger (very good for media reports !).

Shadows and uncertainties on the road… to Damascus

I took a break half a month. As I tried to be just mere observer of events. The events are so fluid that information become obsolete within 24 hours. But combined can give you an overview. So take a look about situation in Syria … and the democracies under construction in Libya and Egypt.

Arab League says it has rejected a Syrian request for amendments to an agreement that would send observers to the country. On Wednesday, Arab League foreign ministers approved a plan to send observers into Syria to verify whether the regime has taken measures to protect civilians, giving Damascus three days to implement a protocol to allow observers to enter the nation. But Syria requested changes to the proposal the next day. On Sunday, the Arab League said in a statement that it had rejected Syria’s request, saying it “radically alters the nature of the … mission.”

From the Syrian part, in an interview with The Sunday Times, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned that any potential military intervention against his country would lead to “very dire” repercussions and said he is willing to die for his country. Unfortunately, nobody is able to confirm the media report independently because of the restrictions Damascus places on foreign journalists. In this time, the international community still examines what must to do. It’s still hard to discern between the repression of a criminal regime and the «help» received to destabilize Syria and justification for external intervention. In addition, after  Libyan adventure more and more shadows seem to imply in relations between major political actors  U.S., Russia and China.

In a sea of ​​uncertainty, there is only one certainty: many civilians are and have been assassinated in the unrest and people have to ask the questions: Who killed them and Why were they killed? …I would add: Who will pays for… ?

•••

Those who believe that peace is laid after the death of Muammar Gadhafi were wrong. Libyan soap opera continues. Libyans celebrated late into the evening Saturday the reported capture of Muammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, nabbed in a desert gunbattle after an 18-day stakeout. Senior Libyan military officials said they believe the potential Gadhafi successor was trying to make his way to neighboring Niger, where a brother, Saadi, was granted asylum. Do not worry illusions. Saif will not be tried in The Hague. He knows too much to be given the opportunity to speak. Justice Minister Mohammad Al-Alagy said he doubts Libyan courts would want to try Saif al-Islam for crimes against humanity. Put in the spotlight in order to minimize the dissatisfaction of those who are beginning to understand that Ghadafi’s replacement was not for the benefit of many, the story of Saif also gave greater impetus to the talks on Green blogs. Fighting rages in Benghazi, Bani Walid, Sirte, Tripoli and other cities across Libya. Jamahiriya loyalists control most territory though portions shift back and forth. Terror bombings continue daily. In contrast, positive news flow on official media treadmill. Speaking about contradictory media news, Dennis South, after 9 months the covering the Lybia situation: “See, Libya is just a battlefield, not the entire war. The war is global. The war is being waged on every human being on the planet. The war is being waged by European monarchies, corporations, corrupt and puppet-politicians, and monied-interests, such as Wall Street”.

And the building democracy in Egypt is «celebrated with joy»: at least 3,000 protesters are in the capital’s Tahrir Square, facing off with hundreds of black-clad riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. The protests have spread across much of Egypt. At least 13 protesters have been killed since Saturday, all but one in Cairo. Hundreds of others have been injured. Violent clashes between protesters and Egypt’s military police flared again yesterday, leaving at least ten dead and hundreds injured. The military has put forward a timetable which puts the transfer of power sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. So enough time for a fiesta extended…

Meanwhile, US – the first artisan of export of democracy – have big problems with its own citizens and their right to protest. Trying to hide serious problems of a failed system by creating external outbreaks of war is not a solution. Exporting democracy has failed in a miserable export of violence and instability. So again ask: Who will pays for…? and Who can stop it…?

Who has not understood yet that this is not a game with winners and lost: think again !

published – Oriental Review, nov. 2011