دي ميستورا: حانَ وقت الرحيل

ناصر قنديل
نوفمبر 21, 2016

– لا يوجد عاقل يسمح لنفسه بالحكم على أداء أيّ مبعوث أممي من موقع الرهان على حياده وإنصافه أو التوقع بأن ينطلق في مبادراته من ثوابت القانون الدولي وحدود نطاق مهمته، كما وصفها قرار تعيينه، فهذه تمنيات لا يقع فيها مَن يعلم أنّ كلّ مبعوث أممي يأتي اختياره وفقاً لسيرة مهنية تؤكد التزامه بالتعليمات الأميركية من جهة، وعندما يتصل الأمر بالشرق الأوسط أن يكون متنبّهاً للحسابات الإسرائيلية من جهة أخرى، وهذا ينطبق على ستيفان دي ميستورا وقبله الأخضر الإبراهيمي وقبلهما كوفي عنان ومثلهم إسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد في اليمن، ومَن كلّف من مبعوثين مثلهم في ليبيا، ويمنح المبعوث هامش تحصيل مبالغ مجزية من المال من الصناديق السعودية التي ترتبط عضوياً بأزمات هذه البلدان وحروبها، لكن تحت سقف محدّد هو البقاء بصورة رجل القانون والمساعي الحميدة والمسؤولية عن تخفيض التوتر ومعاداة الإرهاب والاهتمام بالشؤون الإنسانية.

– الحديث عن دي ميستورا هذه المرّة لا ينبع من كونه يُضبط متلبّساً بأداء مهمة لصالح «إسرائيل»، وهذه ليست الأولى، أو بكونه يتنعّم بالمال السعودي ويقف على خاطر وليّ الأمر. وهذه صارت من العادات التي أدمن عليها، ومثله من قبله ومن يوازيه في اليمن وليبيا، ولا حتى في كون المبادرة التي جاء بها تعني مساساً مباشراً في الصميم لمفهموم الدولة السيدة، باقتراح منح إدارة ذاتية لجماعات مسلحة في قلب الجغرافيا الوطنية لدولة سيدة، تتمسك القرارات الدولية التي يكلف دي ميستورا بالسهر على تنفيذها، وفي مقدّمها القرار 2254، بوحدتها وسيادتها، وبما تعنيه أيضاً من تشريع للتقسيم ومعه تشريع للإرهاب. وهذه جرائم حرب يرتكبها دي ميستورا يستحق عليها المحاكمة كمجرم حرب، لكنها لا تفاجئ مَن يعلم مَن هو الشخص وما هو تاريخه، وما هي مرجعيته ولمَن، وممّن يتلقى التعليمات، ولماذا جاءته النخوة لزيارة دمشق، وكيف بلغته استغاثات جبهة النصرة ومَن معها، وتطوّع للقيام بالمحاولة الأخيرة لإنقاذ ما ومَن يمكن إنقاذه.

– مناقشة ما قام به دي ميستورا ترتبط فقط بالغباء الذي يتضمّنه مسعاه، وافتقاده أبسط حسابات السياسة التي يفترض أن يتمتع بها شخص يملك خبرته وتاريخه وسيرته. والغباء هنا هو الذي يستدعي من مشغّليه إعفاءه لأنّ عواطفه مع تنظيم القاعدة تفضح مهمته ومن وراءه وماذا يريدون، ولأنّ تحكّم صاحب المال بتحريكه لمهمة مستحيلة وانتحارية، يشكل مخالفة لأبسط شروط السلوك التي تدرّب عليها هو وأمثاله من الذين يجري إعدادهم لهذه المهام، فكيف يُعقل لمن تشتغل بعض خلايا دماغه تخيّل الحصول على موافقة الدولة السورية على صيغة كالتي حملها دي ميستورا بقبول جزيرة تحكمها جبهة النصرة في حلب، مقابل خروج المسلحين منها، وتمهيداً لعودتهم وعودة سلاحهم بغطاء الأمم المتحدة وسيارات دي ميستورا وقوافل الإغاثة التي يسيّرها، وكيف يُعقل أن يتوهّم من يحمل بعضاً من خبرة وسيرة دي ميستورا أن يمرّر هذه الفضيحة على وزير بحنكة وخبرة وزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم، وفي دولة يقودها الرئيس بشار الأسد وتحكمها ثقافة الوحدة والسيادة حتى النخاع الشوكي، ولا تساوم عليهما، وهي في أضعف أيامها، فكيف وهي تنتصر؟

– غباء دي ميستورا وفضيحته سيرتّبان قرب رحيله، وقد جاء في زمن التغييرات والتقلبات يلعب لحساب مموّله وعواطفه، وهو يعلم أنّ مهمة الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة كرئيس مباشر لعمله تنتهي بعد شهر، وأنّ عليه انتظار قرارات الأمين العام الجديد بالتجديد له أولاً ومن ثم معرفة تعليماته، كما يعلم أنّ مرجعيته الفعلية في واشنطن عرضة للتغيير أيضاً، وعليه التصرف بحكمة الانتظار حتى تتبلور المرجعية الجديدة ويعرف سياساتها، ويكتفي في زمن التغيير بمواصلة النص الحرفي لمهامه، وفقاً للتكليف القانوني بتحفظ، والمخاطرة باللعب في الوقت الضائع لحساب المال والعواطف، فاضح ومقامرة تعرّضان بقاءه للخطر، فكان عليه قليلاً من التعفّف أمام المال السعودي في هذه الفترة وقليلاً من التقشف في حب تنظيم القاعدة، ريثما تنجلي الأمور في واشنطن ونيويورك.

– لم يستطع دي ميستورا أن يقاوم إغراء المال ولا شغفه بالنصرة، فسقط سقوطاً مدوياً… وحان وقت الرحيل.

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USA with a “majority of one” obstructs the United Nations

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For decades, and again this year, the United States votes “no” on most United Nations General Assembly resolutions supporting meaningful disarmament and economic justice. 

In fact, it has a consistent record of votes contradicting its professed rhetoric of concern for peace and human rights, as the UN General Assembly votes to adopt resolutions crafted to address the urgent need for disarmament, and for a more equitable global economic architecture. 

US Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has supported the adoption of many of these resolutions, and his voice, along with the majority of the member states of the developing world has gone unheeded. 

The huge and growing economic inequality both within and among nations is contributing to global destabilization, deadly conflicts, terrorism, the refugee crisis, now threatening to disrupt the core of Europe itself, and an escalation of barbaric violence which threatens to turn the clock of civilization back to the stone age. 

Nevertheless, the US continues to vote in opposition to many, if not most of the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, where the developing world holds a majority of votes, and the US vote does not hold veto power,  as it does in the Security Council, and cannot therefore prevent the adoption of these resolutions.   

The resolutions, however, have no enforcement power, as do Security Council resolutions.  The US “no” vote is, however, a barometer of how and where it will use its influence to obstruct or prevent actual implementation of these resolutions in any meaningful way, in those venues where the US does have decisive influence.  While paying lip-service to “democracy,” “human rights,” etc., the US “no” vote in these numerous developing world sponsored resolutions betrays its actual contempt for these values in any meaningful sense.

An examination of this year’s voting patterns in the UN General Assembly’s First, Second and Third Committees illustrates this pattern, which is a greater indicator of the causes of the stalemate or paralysis at the United Nations than has been the inaction at the UN Security Council, so deplored by the US-NATO faction.

For almost 10 years, China and the Russian Federation have co-sponsored a treaty in the First Committee on Disarmament, on the “Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space.”  The US has consistently opposed this treaty, and on November 3, 2015, in the First Committee 70th session Plenary Meeting, Resolution A/C.1/70/L.47 on “No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space,” was adopted by a majority vote of 122 member states, including China, Russia, the DPRK, Iran, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria and a majority of other member states.  China’s vote is consistent with its declaration that it will not be the first to initiate a nuclear attack.  The US voted “no” on this resolution, along with only 3 other states, including Ukraine and Israel, which is alarming, since it indicates that the US reserves for itself the “right” to place its weapons in outer space, despite the fact that most other nuclear states, including India, Pakistan, China, the DPRK and The Russian Federation have eschewed the “right” to place weapons in outer space.

The related resolution A/C.1/70/L.3 entitled:  “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space” has an equally interesting recorded vote, with 173 UN member states voting “yes,” including all states which supported the resolution on “No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space,” and the US, Israel and Palau abstained.  It seems probable that, although most nuclear weapon states pledged not to be the first to place weapons in outer space, and the US reserved to itself the “right” to be the first to place weapons in outer space, the US is hedging its bets, and in the event that another state first places weapons in outer space, the US reserves to itself the “right” to engage in an arms race in outer space.

The very idea of placement of weapons in outer space, or an arms race in outer space, is insane, yet this is consistent with the US military doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance,” which asserts the US right to “Control of land, sea, air and outer space.”

On November 5th, the First Committee adopted Resolution A/C.1/70/L.18 on “Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace.”  The resolution was adopted by a majority of 116 member states, and opposed by only four countries, the US, UK, France and Tuvalu.  As usual, the EU abstained, voting as a bloc.  This voting pattern reflecting diametrically opposed interests was similarly repeated throughout the entire spectrum of UN General Assembly resolutions from disarmament to development.

On November 23, at the Third Committee Plenary, Resolution A/C.3/70/L.30 “Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order” was adopted by a majority vote of 121.  The US which espouses the rhetoric of “democracy” more than any other state, voted “no.”  The European Union, voting as a bloc, also voted “no” in opposition to most countries of the developing world, including China, the Russian Federation, the DPRK, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Argentina, etc.

On November 24, the Third Committee adopted Resolution A/C.3/70/L.37/Rev.1 on “The Right to Development.”  The resolution was adopted by a majority vote of 136.  Only 4 nations voted “no,” including the USA, the UK, Canada and Israel.

On November 23, the Third Committee Plenary adopted Resolution A/C.3/70/L.58 on the “Use of Mercenaries as a Means of Violating Human Rights and Impeding the Exercise of the Right of Peoples to Self Determination.”  The resolution  was adopted by a majority vote of 121.  The US, Ukraine and most of the Europeans voted “no,” which is an appalling revelation of their willingness to adopt unscrupulous measures to suit their perceived “interests,” or the interests of their ruling “elites.”

This is merely a sampling of the voting record of the US and often the EU, which reveals their readiness to violate the economic, social, civil and political rights of the “developing world,” which comprises the majority of member states belonging to the United Nations.  Scrutiny of the majority of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament, Second Committee on Economics, Third Committee on Human Rights reveals the same pattern of the US and EU consistently voting in opposition to the will and the interests of the developing world, many of whose states are former colonies of the EU states, and are currently in a form of “debt bondage” to the US and the West, trapped by IMF demands for “structural adjustment,” “conditionalities,” and other onerous and exploitative arrangements.

These UN General Assembly Resolutions without enforcement mechanisms merely express the gross contradiction between the “interests” of the West’s “1%” and the needs of the huge populace of the other “99%” of humanity.  As the income inequality increases, as described by French economist Thomas Piketty and US Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, these voting patterns will most probably continue unchanged, absent a global insurrection to eliminate the gross injustice in the distribution of power and resources that is currently entrenched, globally, and which the huge disparities in these votes reflects.

Carla Stea is Global Research’s Correspondent at UN headquarters, New York 

Ex-UN Envoy Blames US Invasion of Iraq for Rise of ISIS

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Sputnik – The rise of the Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group, operating across Middle East and North Africa, was caused by the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, former UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi told RT and RIA Novosti.

“The ISIL activity is the direct consequence of the US occupation of Iraq, they should have not invaded Iraq. And when [militants] saw what is happening in Syria they went there, too,” Brahimi said in an interview.

He added that the airstrikes, currently carried out by a US-led coalition against the ISIL positions in Syria and Iraq, did not prevent the spread of the jihadist cause in the region.

“Terrorism must be countered. An attempt was made to combat terrorism with aviation. But airstrikes do not solve the problem. These methods cannot resolve the political situation created by the ISIL,” Brahimi said.

The former UN envoy underscored the need for a non-violent political solution to the Iraqi and Syrian crisis as military operations have failed to yield results.

Brahimi also hailed Russia’s contribution to reconciliation attempts looking to bring an end to the ongoing civil war in Syria after Moscow hosted two rounds of intra-Syrian talks this year.

“There are no differences between us and Russia. We recognize that Russia has an important role, which we fully support… The efforts taken earlier by Russia in a bid to bring together some of the sides is the right direction,” Brahimi said.

The IS militant group controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and is notorious for publishing numerous videos showing many human rights atrocities including beheadings of foreign hostages.

Erdogan’s Visit to Riyadh Wins $70million for Terrorists in Syria

SYRIA 360°

Erdogan's Visit to Riyadh Wins $70mln-Backup for Terrorists in Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Syrian dissident politician disclosed that after the recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Saudi Arabia the Al Saud regime allocated a sum of $70 million for the militants fighting against President Bashar Al-Assad.

“Saudi Arabia’s 70-million-dollar aid to Syrian militants is the outcome of Erdogan’s recent visit to Riyadh,” Arabic-language Al-Ajel news website quoted Syrian dissident Ahmad Farid as saying on Monday.

He noted that the Saudi government has declined to comment on the nature of its aid to the Syrian militants fighting against the Syrian government.

President Erdogan and Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz in a recent meeting in Riyadh agreed on increasing their support for Syria’s foreign-backed militants.

Head of the Syrian Strategic Studies Center Taleb Zifa disclosed in November that Ankara and Doha were also doing their best for the reconciliation of the foreign-backed terrorists fighting against the Syrian government.

“Qatar and Turkey are doing their best to unite the terrorists in order to prepare them to stop the Syrian army advances in the coming days and months,” Zifa told FNA.

Zifa noted that both Ankara and Doha want to play a role in any upcoming negotiations between the Syrian government and the United Nations.

Last month, Syria’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations called on the world body to punish “the terrorist coalition of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel”.

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on Tuesday, Bashar al-Jaafari said the coalition has been seeking to destroy Syria by fanning the flames of terrorism and shedding the blood of Syrian people.

In October 2012, Haitham Manna, a Paris-based veteran Syrian opposition figure, slammed Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey for infiltrating terrorists into Syria.

Speaking at London School of Economics, Manna said the Syrian crisis would deteriorate if the status quo continues, adding that the world powers are responsible for the lack of a proper solution to the Syrian crisis.

Major powers have refused to take any measure for the settlement of the Syrian crisis so far and only resorted to theatrical conferences dubbed “Syrian friends”, he said, adding they have presented no democratic reform plan for the crisis-hit country.

The Syrian opposition figure supported the plan offered by the UN and Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, for truce in Syria during the Eid Al-Adha holiday (starting on October 26), and expressed the hope that the measure could serve as a prelude to ceasefire in Syria.

In September 2012, sources revealed that Turkey’s national air carrier, Turkish Air, transited Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants from North Waziristan in Pakistan to the Turkish borders with Syria, mentioning that the last group were flown to Hatay on a Turkish Air Airbus flight No. 709 on September 10, 2012.

“The Turkish intelligence agency sent 93 Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists from Waziristan to Hatay province near the border with Syria on a Turkish Air Airbus flight No. 709 on September 10, 2012 and via the Karachi-Istanbul flight route,” the source told FNA, adding that the flight had a short stop in Istanbul.

The 93 terrorists transited to the Turkish border with Syria included Al-Qaeda militants from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and a group of Arabs residing in Waziristan, he added.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of his information, further revealed that the Turkish intelligence agency is coordinating its measures with the CIA and the Saudi and Qatari secret services.

FNA dispatches from Pakistan said new al-Qaeda members were trained in North Waziristan until a few days ago and then sent to Syria, but now they are transferring their command center to the borders between Turkey and Syria as a first step to be followed by a last move directly into the restive parts of Syria on the other side of the border.

The al-Qaeda, backed by Turkey, the US and its regional Arab allies, had set up a new camp in Northern Waziristan in Pakistan to train Salafi and Jihadi terrorists and dispatched them to Syria via Turkish borders.

“A new Al-Qaeda has been created in the region through the financial and logistical backup of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a number of western states, specially the US,” a source told FNA earlier this month.

“Turkey has also been misusing extremist Salafis and Al-Qaeda terrorists to intensify the crisis in Syria and it has recently augmented its efforts in this regard by helping the new Al-Qaeda branch set up a camp in Northern Waziristan in Pakistan to train Al-Qaeda and Taliban members as well as Turkish Salafis and Arab Jihadis who are later sent to Syria for terrorist operations,” said the source.

He said the camp in Waziristan is not just a training center, but a command center for terrorist operations against Syria.

Yet, the source said the US and Britain are looking at the new Al-Qaeda force as an instrument to attain their goals and do not intend to support them to ascend to power, “because if Salafi elements in Syria ascend to power, they will create many problems for the US, the Western states and Turkey in future”.

“Thus, the US, Britain and Turkey are looking at the Al-Qaeda as a tactical instrument,” he said, and warned of the regional and global repercussions of the US and Turkish aid to the Al-Qaeda and Salafi groups.

“Unfortunately, these group of countries have just focused on the short-term benefits that the Salafis and the Al-Qaeda can provide for them and ignore the perils of this support in the long run,” he said.

“At present, the western countries, specially Britain which hosts and controls the Jihadi Salafi groups throughout the world are paving the ground for these extremists to leave their homes – mostly in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Untied Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as those who live in Europe and the US – for Waziristan,” the source added.

The US and its western and regional allies have long sought to topple Bashar al-Assad and his ruling system.

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The EU shifting its strategy on Syria, Iraq and fighting ISIS

Civil defense members inspect the debris of a building collapsed after Syrian air forces’ ‘vacuum bomb’ attack, killed six people, three of them children, and wounded 40 others, in Ain Tarma town of Damascus, Syria on December 26, 2014. Anadolu Agency/Ebu Muhammed
Published Saturday, December 27, 2014
After the United States abandoned the idea of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stepping down and enhanced security coordination with the Syrian army against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it appears the Europeans began some time ago a series of meetings to change their policy on Syria. According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, some senior European officials did not hesitate to say at the last Council of European Union Foreign Ministers meeting that “this policy was wrong.” It is necessary, therefore, to change it and let the United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura’s initiative lead the way. Does that mean we will soon see favorable signs towards the Syrian regime and further disregard for the external opposition?
Geneva – A European official told Al-Akhbar about the proceedings of an important meeting between United Nations (UN) envoy Staffan de Mistura and European Union (EU) foreign affairs ministers on December 11, confirming that there is a change in the European position towards Syria. He said the meeting was closed like all meetings during which Europeans discuss sensitive matters. De Mistura began to explain the situation in Syria and the regional and international framework surrounding his plan that is supposed to be implemented in three months “otherwise it loses its ability to be implemented.”
This, in short, is what de Mistura said and the Europeans’ position towards it.
  • The plan to freeze the fighting in Aleppo is the only one currently available. There is no hope for another plan. Therefore, the EU should support it practically and not just verbally. It is the only plan capable of freezing the fighting, securing people’s needs and returning the displaced people who are burdening neighboring areas and states. It will also allow for the eventual process of reconstruction.
  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who showed readiness to ensure the success of the international plan in Aleppo, convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin of the plan and played a major role in convincing his Iranian allies as well. This was necessary because Moscow was reluctant, thinking that no US-Atlantic effort can be trusted and the plan might lead to dire consequences for Russia and its allies.
  • Although the Americans expressed reservations and doubt about the plan at the beginning, they have become more flexible, tying their approval with that of some of their regional allies, meaning of course Saudi Arabia primarily. In any case, I am going to Riyadh to convince Saudi officials of the plan’s feasibility. If we obtain preliminary approval from them, I will subsequently continue my efforts in Damascus so we can start as soon as possible because time is running out.

They [the Europeans] believe that since the resignation of former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, it was necessary to maintain political efforts between the regime and the opposition.

Theoretically, the Europeans support everything de Mistura said. They believe that since the resignation of former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, it was necessary to maintain political efforts between the regime and the opposition. First, so the regime will not unilaterally seek to settle the war militarily under the pretext of the absence of current political efforts. Second, to give the opposition – which is becoming increasingly divided with each side leveling accusations at the other – the impression that the West continues to support it. Third, there is no room for thinking beyond de Mistura given the crisis in US-Russian relations because of Ukraine. This crisis prompts the Europeans to think that Moscow has become more adamant about its support for Assad. Therefore, there is no hope of exerting pressure on the Syrian regime except through the Iranian ally. This, too, is an important development in Brussels.
Here, we should remember that Brahimi had told the Europeans once what he said on more than one occasion and in more than one place, namely, that his resignation will “relieve two people, Assad and Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Saud al-Faisal” because his personal relationship with both men was quite bad. He was probably speaking about “Saud al-Faisal’s personal hatred towards Assad being a hindrance to finding a solution.” It is also known that the Syrian president, from his very first meeting with Brahimi, questioned his intentions especially when the Algerian UN envoy suggested that Assad should step down and intended to meet Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa before Assad prevented him from doing so, arguing that this is improper on an official visit. Brahimi at the time had to make due with a phone call. After a while, Sharaa was removed from power.
  • Turkey remains a real problem for the Europeans. Some officials say it is impossible to predict what Ankara could do next. Others believe that Turkey is pretty much the only country still facilitating the passage of foreign fighters to Syria, it has not made up its mind about fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and is trying to blackmail the international community with its position. Here, the Europeans make two suggestions. Either put pressure on Turkey, including perhaps issuing a warning – which some believe is pointless because it might make the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s position more intransigent and push him further into Russia and Iran’s arms – or try to cajole and get closer to Turkey, prompting it to commit to the international decision to fight ISIS and stop the flow of foreign fighters. Either way, the Turkish position remains worrisome for Europe.
  • Iran has become a central player in both the Syrian and Iraqi crises. It is necessary to deal with this reality regardless of the reservations that some might have. There is nothing to prevent engaging with Iran in a serious dialogue about Syria, even before signing a nuclear agreement. This is useful because it could lead to political concessions from the Syrian regime and it could strengthen the presence of European companies in Iran. Perhaps this has become a European need despite French reservations, which are understandable, given French-Saudi relations and France’s concern not to upset Israel.
  • It is impossible to think of a serious solution or temporary solutions in Syria without Saudi Arabia, which has extensive relations with a number of Anti-Assad parties. It is important to reassure Riyadh that the European efforts do not intend to buoy up the regime. De Mistura said that Saudi Arabia implicitly welcomes his initiative. The Spanish foreign affairs minister was clearer, saying that Riyadh accepts the plan and it is in France’s interest to tone down its critique otherwise it will appear more extremist than Saudi Arabia, which is not an understandable position. The Spanish minister went as far as suggesting that an international conference for Syria be held in his country given that the idea might accepted by everybody.
  • Russia remains the main obstacle to any solution that does not satisfy the Kremlin and the Syrian regime. Since its relationship with the US and Europe is currently strained because of Ukraine, it is necessary to look for ways to separate any discussion with Russia about Syria from the position regarding Ukraine. Some European officials intend to strengthen the dialogue with Moscow because “it is unacceptable to return to the logic of the cold war.” Perhaps the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will visit Moscow soon. Besides, Russia is active and serious about finding a political solution. The Europeans keeping their distance from Moscow might mean distancing the US and Russia.
The Europeans with and against Assad

Since its [Russia] relationship with the US and Europe is currently strained because of Ukraine, it is necessary to look for ways to separate any discussion with Russia about Syria from the position regarding Ukraine.

After de Mistura discussed these points with the European ministers and talked about his latest contacts and the hope that his initiative revives in the hearts of the Syrian people, contradictory but important positions emerged among the Europeans regarding the future of the relationship with Assad that can be summed up as follows.
First, everyone agrees to de Mistura’s plan, but they want to support it because it is the only plan currently available while awaiting the results of Russian efforts to bring the opposition and the Syrian regime delegation together in Russia. However, France, which currently enjoys strong trade relations with Saudi Arabia and Britain, is ahead of other Europeans in its contacts with Iran and insists that the plan should not support the Syrian army against the moderate opposition in Aleppo. In other words, the issue should not be portrayed as standing with the army against ISIS because in Aleppo and its surroundings there are fighters affiliated with the moderate opposition and they should be taken into consideration and supported “so we won’t appear as though we are drawing a parallel between the regime and the opposition and that we view both sides equally.”
The French foreign affairs minister was the most intransigent even though some within the current French administration point out the need to take a new position towards Syria, especially after the terrorist attacks that took place on French soil. Laurent Fabius said, “We don’t want what happened to Homs to happen in Aleppo,” where suspending the fighting benefited the regime only and was not balanced. The fighters left after they turned in their weapons to the state and were transported in government buses to the areas they come from.
A European official with ties to the Syrian opposition said
“the departure of the fighters then was a farce for them. Imagine that the Grand Mufti, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, who is a regime loyalist showed up in the buses transporting the fighters joking with them and asking them isn’t it better to marry while they are young instead of getting killed on battlefronts? They were given cell phones to talk with their families and undermine their morale. In the end, the media image and the reality on the ground were in the interest of the regime.”
The French minister was insistent that “the regime should not benefit from this plan in terms of relieving it at the Aleppo front so it can focus on other fronts in other areas.” That is what Fabius was saying when the EU received information about the possibility of the Syrian and Iraqi armies engaging in a wide joint military operation in Deir Ezzor.
Second, the European relationship with Assad is possible, but it becomes evident during the discussions of the foreign affairs ministers and commissioners of the EU that they are at a loss on how to deal with Syria. For example, a European official in Geneva says that a number of his European colleagues have begun to talk about the failure of the policy adopted so far and about the “uncalculated mistake” of suggesting early on that Assad step down.

Some Europeans argue that their assessment of the situation was erroneous while others believe that trusting the US from the beginning was a mistake.

Some Europeans argue that their assessment of the situation was erroneous while others believe that trusting the US from the beginning was a mistake because Washington, as usual, places its interests ahead of all its alliances, often putting the Europeans in an awkward position. Still others argue that underestimating the capabilities of the Syrian army and its allies was their biggest mistake.
As such, EU officials are currently discussing how to “modify” the political position that has been adopted for more than three years in Syria. One sign of this change is abandoning the mantra of “Assad stepping down” and finding more realistic statements that have been repeated now and then, such as “Assad is not a final solution to the crisis” or “Assad will not stay at the end of the political solution” or “it is only natural that a political solution will eventually lead to transferring powers from the presidency and not all powers” according to Geneva I. Another sign of a change in position is abandoning the phrase “proceeding with a transitional process now” and replacing it with one accepted by all, namely, “calling for the start of a transitional process.”
It appears that Mogherini succeeded, to some extent, in promoting the point of view that “we agree on the end result but political realism and the developments of the situation require us to adjust our course and use new phrases.” In other words, even if everyone in Europe wanted Assad to step down, political realism suggests that this is not possible at this point and encouraging a political solution might eventually lead to this end, meaning this is no longer a European priority.
The security council in Aleppo?
In light of these discussions about modifying the European position towards the Syrian regime, the most important question in the EU is how to ensure the success of the Aleppo plan and how to implement it without portraying Assad as the winner, especially that the Syrian army advanced in a noticeable way in Aleppo recently?
The dominant trend is to find a monitoring mechanism by the UN Security Council. However, the Europeans realize that this is impossible due to the dual Sino-Russian veto that is always ready to protect Syria. Therefore, unlike the French and British positions which insist on an international force from the UNSC, the EU is more inclined towards finding a diplomatic formula that talks about “a monitoring mechanism linked to the UNSC.”
All of this will be released soon in what is now called “the EU strategy on Syria, Iraq and fighting ISIS.”
Despair with the Syrian opposition, particularly, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, which for a long time monopolized, with international support, the representation of the opposition has infiltrated EU states after the US. The Europeans too are now more inclined towards expanding the scope of the opposition to include forces that were previously not accepted and undermine the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is remarkable for instance that when the head of the Coalition, Hadi al-Bahra, visited the EU in Brussels few days ago, representatives from the Coalition were calling the Europeans to say that Bahra no longer represents them. A European official says jokingly:
“Everytime we begin to talk with an official from the Coalition, we discover that this Coalition held new elections and changed the official. So we start all over again. And every time we meet with a Coalition official, he repeats the same question, how are you going to prevent the regime from benefiting from the plan you are proposing? But we have noticed for some time now that some parties within the Coalition have come to accept the idea of negotiating with the regime and reaching a political agreement with it even if their ultimate goal is for Assad to step down. This is the case with Moaz al-Khatib and his team for instance. The problem of the Coalition is that it does not know the meaning of political realism and continues in its fragmentation as it is tossed around by conflicting foreign alliances.”
The problem of the Coalition is that it does not know the meaning of political realism and continues in its fragmentation as it is tossed around by conflicting foreign alliances.”
In light of all the above, is the EU starting to change its position towards Assad? Perhaps all its members still support the departure of the Syrian president. But political realism requires a change in behavior and approach and not insisting on Assad’s departure as a priority. This will become more evident in the future as terrorist attacks inside Europe have increased. The only solution left is to cooperate with Syrian security forces, the Syrian army and Iran in the context of fighting terrorism.
As for de Mistur’as plan in Aleppo, it is currently in a feverish race between a military solution and security arrangements that cannot be undertaken without the regime’s approval and that might be to its advantage.
Once again, history repeats the same old maxim, “international interests are more important than principles and people’s tragedies.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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SAA COMPLETES ACTUAL ENCIRCLEMENT OF ALEPPO; DE MISTURA EFFORT EXPOSED AS FRAUD

Ziad Fadel

الجيش

ALEPPO:

 

The encirclement of Aleppo and attendant choke-off of all supply and reinforcement pathways is now complete. Unlike the situation before when the encirclement was by virtue of artillery control, Aleppo is now hermetically sealed with the presence of the army at every artery serving this northern capital.  South and West Handaraat are firmly under the control of the SAA where our soldiers found a huge Turk-supplied arsenal of weapons in cleverly concealed locations defended by die-hard, suicidal degenerates.  The number of rodents killed has not been announced yet, but, it promises to be quite large.  Rat communications demonstrate desperation as their one last claim to fame has disappeared.

 

Al-Mallaah Farms and Properties:  Completely under control of SAA.  The remnant rats have headed to the north for the security of Erdoghan’s Kingdom of Murder.

 

Handaraat:  Very important. And the most important parts are the south and west which fell to the SAA yesterday after the virulent plague-carrying rodents abandoned their sinking ship and headed north.  The Al-Kindi Hospital is also now under the control of the SAA although it has been pillaged by the scavenging heretics of Nusra rendering it useless for the treatment of human beings.

To find the Al-Mallaah Farms scroll to the northwest of Handaraat and you’ll see it.

 

Jaraabulus:  ISIS has reportedly executed 21 young men for blasphemy and “collaboration with the government”.

 

Manbij:  Once controlled only by rival gangs fighting for territory, this town is now infested with something even worse: English and German terrorists bent on murdering their way to Paradise.  For some time, the SAA had exercised partial control over the town in agreement with the gangs we mentioned, however, the troops were need elsewhere leaving the citizens with little protection from Erdoghan’s cockroaches.  If you think English soccer fans are a drag, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

 

De Mistura’s efforts to “freeze” fighting in Aleppo was exposed as motivated by a desire to preserve some terrorist control of the city for the purposes of negotiating.  All sources we have and to whom we have listened are saying the same thing: De Mistura, like Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi, is nothing more than a Saudi/Zionist/Erdoghani/NATO catamite hardly worth the time the Syrians have given him.   Let him freeze fighting now.

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Amid diplomatic offensive against Syria, France presses for war


May 15, 2014, WSW

During an official visit to Washington on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he regretted that Washington had not gone to war with Syria last autumn and again advanced unsubstantiated accusations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.

In making these accusations, Fabius was directly pressing for war in Syria. He recalled US President Barack Obama’s “red line” pledge to go to war if Assad used chemical weapons. Falsely claiming that the Syrian regime had used poison gas last August in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Fabius said he regretted that France could not go to war with Syria because Washington and London decided not to attack Syria in September.

“It was out of the question for France to act alone,” Fabius said. “We regret that, because we believe it would have changed many things, in many respects.”

Fabius’ accusations of chemical weapons use were a deliberate, politically criminal falsification. He ignored the fact that, when the British Parliament voted against war in Syria last September, British Prime Minister David Cameron himself admitted that the Western powers did not have proof that the Assad regime had carried out the Ghouta attacks.

Fabius also ignored the devastating report by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, which established that it was the Turkish government, a US and French ally, that organised the Ghouta attack. Its purpose, as with Fabius’s statements today, was to provide a pretext for launching war in Syria. (See: “New exposé by Seymour Hersh: Turkey staged gas attack to provoke US war on Syria”)

Fabius’s statements are a warning to the international working class. Not only does France’s Socialist Party (PS) government want war in Syria—which could escalate into a global war involving Syria’s main regional allies, Iran and Russia—but it is working closely with Washington and other NATO powers to launch it.

There are numerous signs of a renewed diplomatic push for war. Talks on Syria are starting today in London, headed by Kerry along with ministers from France, Germany, Britain, and several Arab countries, as well as Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba. Jarba just spent over a week in Washington in high-level meetings aimed to strengthen US support for the opposition in their battle against Assad.

On Tuesday, Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League peace envoy for Syria, announced his resignation after serving in that post since 2012.

Fabius’s accusations of chlorine gas use by Assad echoed a report published Tuesday by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization. HRW’s report alleged that pro-Assad forces used chlorine gas packed into crude bombs in attacks in mid-April on three towns in northern Syria, killing 11 people and wounding as many as 500. Neither HRW nor Fabius advanced any reliable factual evidence to support their allegations.

HRW claimed that it “cannot independently confirm” allegations of poison gas use, which it said were based largely on charges advanced by the Western powers’ far-right Islamist proxy fighters inside Syria.

As for Fabius, at a press conference with his US counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry, he said: “We have at least 14 indications that show us that, in the past recent weeks again, chemical weapons in a smaller scale have been used, in particular chlorine.” Cynically claiming it had been difficult to obtain definitive proof because chlorine evaporates too fast to collect samples, he said: “Right now we are examining the samples that were taken.”

Kerry echoed Fabius’s remarks, denouncing Assad “who will not negotiate, who absolutely refused to negotiate at every single session… This represents a continuation of the stubborn clinging to power of a man who is willing to drop barrel bombs on his people, to gas them, to shell artillery on innocent civilians, to starve people in their homes, and somehow claim a right to be able to run a country.”

Fabius’s “regret” that the Western powers did not launch a war with Syria, together with the new fabricated charges of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime, show that the Western powers are again mobilizing for war against Syria. It also underscores the significance of the military build-up Washington, Berlin, Paris and their allies are carrying out throughout Eastern Europe aimed at Russia, ostensibly over the Ukraine crisis.

Russia, a key ally of Syria, emerged as the critical obstacle to launching a war against Syria last September, vetoing UN Security Council resolutions prepared to justify a US-led war against Syria. Now, Russia faces not only the hostile, far-right Ukrainian regime in Kiev that emerged from the NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch this February, but NATO troops stationed all along its western border. It is in a far weaker position to oppose a war against Syria, its main ally in the Arab world, by Washington and Paris.

In pressing for such a conflict, which directly threatens to provoke a world war, the PS government of French President François Hollande is demonstrating its utterly reactionary and anti-working class character. It is trampling on deep public opposition to war in the French working class. During the war scare last September against Syria, polls found that 64 percent of the French population opposed going to war.

Hollande is pushing for war nonetheless, seeking to divert the escalating internal class tensions caused by his attacks on the working class—which have made it France’s most unpopular government since World War II—into the cauldron of war.

In his two years in power, Hollande has pursued aggressive wars in Africa, including military interventions in Mali and Central African Republic, as well as in the Middle East. As they launched the war in Mali, PS officials repeatedly stated that a major goal in launching the wars was to shift the political atmosphere in France and permit Hollande to move ahead with unpopular attacks on the working class.

They openly commented that they were modelling their wars on the 1982 British Falkland Islands war. In this war, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sought to boost support for her government in the middle classes and prepare for austerity measures against the workers, including the crushing of the 1984-5 miners strike. (See: “France seizes on murder of RFI journalists to intensify Mali war ”).

With such policies, Paris is setting in motion the drive towards either a catastrophic war, or a confrontation between the PS and the working class with revolutionary implications. As the imperialist pyromaniacs in Paris seek to resolve their intractable internal problems by staking everything on war, they are tobogganing with eyes closed towards catastrophe.

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His days are numbered- PRESIDENT ASSAD BIDS ADIEU TO LAKHDAR BRAHIMI

Dr. Assad waves a fond farewell to French factotum, French/Algerian Fuddy-Duddy, French Farcical Freak, Lakhdar Brahimi.
We awarded him the Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote Tilting at Windmills Award for 2013.  At that time we thought he would give it a good try as a mediator, but, would fail, despite his best intentions.  As it turned out, his best intentions were to overthrow the government of Syria despite the feelings of the Syrian people. You can’t imagine how pleased we are to see this senescent monkey head straight for the Barbary Coast Hospice for Devolving Dunderheads.  His efforts to please his Gallic sponsors were nauseating and his explanations for failure, naive and flaccid. He will not be missed and we wish him a lonely death away from anything that hints of the Syrian nation.  Our middle finger raised up proudly to him and his progeny.
Brahimi isn’t much of an intellect.  You can teach orangutans how to speak French.  Here he is asked what’s the capital of Kuwait.
Well, it looks like Dr. Assad has had a busy three years sending valedictory notes to departing degenerates:
Nicolas Sarkozy, Sergio Berlusconi, Hillary Clinton, Salim IdrisHamad bin Khalifa, Hamad bin Jassem, Bandar bin Sultan, Guido Westerwelle, Riyadh Al-As’ad, Muhammad Morsi, Jose Zapatero and so many others who did not grab the limelight like these losers.
Now, we add Lakhdar Brahimi.  ZAF

ايام الاسد معدودة…تاريخ الازمة السورية بالصورة (1)

 “ايام الاسد معدودة” كلمة سمعناها كثيرا وخصوصا في عام 2011 اي منذ بداية الازمة السورية وكل من قالها ذهب ولم يحدث ما تمناه ولم يذهب الاسد فما السبب؟، لنعرف السبب علينا اولا ان نعرف حقيقة الازمة في سوريا وفيما يلي شرح للاحداث السورية بطريقة موضوعية ومحايدة والتي سوف نسردها لكم عبر حلقات متواصلة.

الجزء الاول

درعا2011
خرجت في ال15 من اذار عام 2011 اول مظاهرة في سوريا وخرجت في مدينة درعا وكانت تدعوا للحرية واسقاط قانون الطوارئ وتغيير المادة الثامنة في الدستور التي تنص على ان”الحزب هو القائد للدولة والمجتمع” ووافقت الدولة على ذلك ودعت رئاسة الجمهورية لعقد جلسة لمجلس الشعب السوري في نهاية الشهر بوجود الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد، وبعدها خرجت مظاهرة في 18 من اذار مظاهرة بجمعة ما تسمى”جمعة الكرامة” تطالب بنفس الشيء وتطالب الحكومة بأقالة عاطف نجيب الذي كان يشغل منصب رئيس فرع الامن السياسي في درعا وفي منتصف الليل تم الاعتداء على سيارة طاقم طبي كانت تمر بجانب الجامع العمري وقتل في الحادثة طبيب ومسعف وسائق السيارة ونسبت الحكومة السورية ذلك للعصابات المسلحة حسب ما ورد في سانا ولكن المعارضة تنسب ذلك”للحكومة السورية” التي من جهتها نفته لأن الطاقم كان تابع للدولة السورية.
وكان تاريخ 20 من اذار 2011 هو لحظة مفصلية بعمر الازمة لأن بوقتها تم حمل السلاح بوجه الدولة وتم الاعتداء على المرافق الحكومية ومنها القصر العدلي والمجلس البلدي واقسام الشرطة ايضاً وتم الاعتصام لاكثر من يومين في الشوارع لنفس المطالب وتم الاعتداء على تمثال الرئيس الراحل حافظ الاسد وذلك قبل ان تندلع اشتباكات مسلحة بين قوات الامن والمسلحين الذي لاتوجد رواية دقيقة لعدد القتلى بينما الدولة السورية تؤكد سقوط 25 قتيل من طرف قوات الامن، والمعارضة تقول انه سقط من طرفها بين 50 وال200 قتيل.
وفي 23 من ابريل 2011 قامت جماعات مسلحة بالاعتراض على سيارة امنية واخذوا جندي اسير عندهم.

حصار درعا
بعد عملية الاعتداء على سيارة الاسعاف  تم حصار مدينة درعا من قبل الدولة السورية وطالبت الدولة بأن يسلم الأهالي المسلحين الذين اعتدوا على قوات الامن وقتلوا بعضهم  للدولة وسوف يفك الحصار عنهم وكان ذلك بتاريخ 25 من ابرايل2011 وخلال الحصار تم تحويل الجامع العمري الى مخزن سلاح الذي كشفه الجيش السوري لاحقا وتم تصويره ونشره عبر التلفزيون الرسمي.
وفي 5 مايو عام2011 تم انهاء حصار درعا بعد تدخل وجهاء العشائر مع بقاء وجود الجماعات المسلحة.

مدينة حمص
في نفس الوقت الذي كانت فيه الاحتجاجات مشتعلة في درعا كانت هناك مناطق سورية اخرى تشتعل منها مدينة حمص حيث كانت اهم مناطق الاحتجاجات هي( باب سباع وباب عمرو والخالدية) وتحول مسجد الصحابي خالد بن الوليد لمخزن للسلاح ومخبئ للافراد مثله مثل الجامع العمري في درعا واستمرت المظاهرات في حمص منذ شهر اذار حتى شهر حزيران من عام 2011 وخلال هذه الفترة كان هناك عمليات لاطلاق النار بين الامن ومسلحين من المتظاهرين وكان حمل السلاح وقتها بين المتظاهرين بشكل سري وبعد شهر حزيران تحول حمل السلاح لشكل علني بحجة “حماية المظاهرات” وبعد ان خرج ما يسمى “الجيش الحر” وقتها انتسب جميع من حمل السلاح لهذا الفصيل وشكلوا اكثر من كتيبة بحمص وخصوصا الاحياء ( باب سباع، باب عمرو، الخالدية) وذلك قبل ان ينضم لهم(جورة الشياح، دير بعلبة) وكانت هذه لحظة مفصلية بتاريخ حمص حيث اعلنت حمل السلاح بوجه الدولة.

خلال الشهر السادس شهدت مدن كثيرة في سوريا اعمال عنف من قبل مسلحين ومنها مدينة جسر الشغور حيث تم حصار مفرزة الامن العسكري من قبل المسلحين وفي الخامس من حزيران من عام 2011 قامت الجماعات المسلحة بابشع المجازر بحق اكثر من مئة وعشرون شخصاً في مفرزة الامن العسكري حيث بعد حصار شديد للمفرزة تم اقتحامها من قبل 700 مسلح وتم قتل جميع من كان هناك والتمثيل بجثثهم وبعدها دفنوهم بمقابر جماعية.

المؤيدين للدولة

ومن الطرف الاخر نظم المؤيدون للدولة السورية مسيرات مليونية حيث تم رفع اكبر علم سوري في محافظة دمشق بتاريخ 16-6-2011 وبمدينة حلب ايضا تم رفعه بتاريخ 6-7-2011 وشهدت المدن السورية كلها مسيرات مؤيدة للدولة السورية.
 
وفي الجزء القادم سوف نسرد لكم احداث مدينة حماة منذ الاحتجاجات حتى الحصار بالاضافة لخروج المسلحين، خروج ما يسمى الجيش الحر، اعمال العنف في حمص،الجماعات المسلحة في ريف ادلب وادلب.

 العالم

يتبع..
مسيرة رفع العلم في حلب
ايام الاسد معدودة...تاريخ الازمة السورية بالصورة (1)
حريق القصر العدلي بدرعا
ايام الاسد معدودة...تاريخ الازمة السورية بالصورة (1)
بشار الأسد و زوجته يشاركا برفع العلم في دمشق
ايام الاسد معدودة...تاريخ الازمة السورية بالصورة (1)
احتجاجات درعا
ايام الاسد معدودة...تاريخ الازمة السورية بالصورة (1)
تشييع ضحايا مجزرة جسر الشغور بحق مفرزة الأمن
ايام الاسد معدودة...تاريخ الازمة السورية بالصورة (1)
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Mohammed Sadiq al-Husseini: On Syrian presidential elections and the regional and international scene محمد صادق الحسيني _ الاستحقاق الرئاسي السوري والمشهد الاقليمي والدولي

محمد صادق الحسيني _ الاستحقاق الرئاسي السوري والمشهد الاقليمي والدولي

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Syria is no longer an American priority


A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) arrives along with Grand Mufti Ahmed Hassun (C-L) a meeting with a group of various religious clerics from across Syria. (Photo: AFP-HO/SANA)

By: Sami Kleib

Published Monday, April 28, 2014

A few days ago, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon requested a meeting for the international quartet on Syria. His goal was to trigger consultations for holding Geneva III. The shocking response from the US Secretary of State John Kerry was: “Now is not a good time, the current priority is Ukraine.” 

The quartet committee consists of the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union (EU). All these parties seem unable at this point to revive the Geneva Conference or discuss any negotiated solution for the Syrian crisis. This was reinforced by everyone’s belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin has become more rigid on the Syrian issue after the crisis in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov now makes several statements a week in support of the official Syrian point of view. One day he criticizes the “West’s duplicity and hypocrisy,” regarding Syrian chemical weapons, and another day he condemns the West’s willingness to recognize the Ukrainian elections without political reforms while rejecting the same conditions for Syria. The tough diplomat makes statements opposing the arming of rebel groups on Syrian soil, alluding to states whose role has become known in that regard.

There is clear Russian support for the nomination of President Bashar al-Assad for a third term. Moscow gave the same support to General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt and to President Abdulaziz Bouteflika in Algeria. Before any of that, Lavrov himself expressed from the center of Baghdad, his country’s support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s war on terrorism.

Moscow went even further. It expanded its oil deals with Tehran. The Russians told whoever would listen that they do not recognize US sanctions but only sanctions by the UN Security Council. Washington was worried. Its treasury secretary said that any deal might fall under US sanctions. The warning was followed by a preliminary agreement between Moscow and Tehran valued at $20 billion stipulating that Moscow supply Tehran with equipment and Russian goods in return for Iranian oil.

It is not easy for Europe and the US to think of the possibility of Moscow’s success on more than one front. Oil and gas from Iran and Algeria raise concern. These two states do not fall within the scope of NATO. One of them is a strong ally of the Syrian regime and the second defends it diplomatically. It is not an easy matter for the US and the West to accept that Russia, once again, will have a serious foothold in Iraq and Egypt.

US diplomacy sprang into action. America rushed to support Bouteflika at the height of his electoral campaign. It opened the door for Egypt’s foreign secretary, Nabil Fahmy, who begins this week important political and security meetings in Washington.

No doubt that Fahmy, who was a powerful force behind pushing his country towards the Russian alternative, today visits Washington proudly. Sisi succeeded in pushing the US administration to reopen its treasury and forget the phase of toppling the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi. Interests always trump principles. Who still remembers the Arab Spring?

Because interests prevail over principles, there is no rush to hold Geneva III. A few days ago, Lavrov stressed in the presence of Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil the importance of returning to Geneva. Perhaps he realizes that this would be embarrassing for Washington. Russia might become more stringent in the next meeting.

Syrian opposition figure Michel Kilo who has ties with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US and Turkey says: “It appears that the Russians do not support a political solution, they do not support the interim governing body and they do not support the transition to a democratic system.” Whoever meets Kilo these days will hear that “the Europeans themselves admit that Obama let down everyone with his ineffective and weak policies.”

On May 8, nine European countries will meet in Brussels with representatives from the US, Turkey, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The goal is to confront “the disaster of the return of jihadis from Syria to their home countries and the continued passage of some of them towards Syria.” A European diplomat who formerly facilitated the passage of fighters, takfiris and terrorists to Syria is the one who characterized the matter as a “disaster.” I wonder what changed his mind.

The US and the West are in a real bind now. The same folly committed in Afghanistan with the Taliban is repeated in Syria. Terrorist cells began to appear in some of the countries that exported them in the first place. Security contacts with Damascus, Tehran, Hezbollah, Ankara, Baghdad and Amman are no longer adequate. A high-ranking French diplomat who is a veteran of the Syrian case goes to Iran. Some believe that it is a new attempt to probe further. Tehran happily opens its doors. The Iranian capital has become the destination for those seeking a solution or save face. The idea of “heroic flexibility” that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei adopted in terms of his country’s negotiations with the West on the nuclear issue applies to other issues as well.

Tehran supports Damascus in developing security contacts into diplomatic contacts. The Iranians told the French that there is no discussion of presidential elections in Lebanon without Syria. They also told them that it is necessary to allow the presidential elections in Syria to take place. Perhaps the French understood on their own that Iranian support contributed in helping Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the last election. The consequences of that might appear later on in the Turkish position vis a vis the Syrian border.

Militarily, information confirms that Saudi funding and French arming continue. An Arab official reports that a retired French admiral made a deal recently for $450 million for weapons that passed through the Aqaba in Jordan.

In brief, the Syrian scene is as follows: gradual US abandonment, giving priority to combating terrorism and dealing with Assad’s re-election as a fait accompli.

Based on the above, a visitor to Europe might hear these days from European officials or from Lakhdar Brahimi himself who suggests that there is no need to make a big issue of the Syrian presidential election. It is more important to focus on what is going on the ground. A few days from now, Brahimi will try to intensify efforts in New York to push the Geneva III wheel into motion but he may not get a lot of attention. No one is compelled to change the international priority at this stage, which is Ukraine.

Brahimi Desperate over Syria, Wants to Resign, No Successor Found

Local Editor

European sources reported that UN representative to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has really decided to resign as he was desperate to find a solution for the Syrian crisis.

The sources said that Brahimi told UN Chief Ban Ki-moon about his intention, noting that, unlike previous times, any state or side did not try to dissuade him from his decision.
Lakhdar Brahimi
The problem now lies in fining an alternative, for Brahimi, who can be accepted by the Arab League, the Security Council and the UN, the sources said.

Over the nationality of Brahimi’s successor, discussions in Geneva suggested that he should be from Arab Maghreb countries, sources revealed to al-Manar website.

Former Tunisian foreign minister, Kamal Marjan, was nominated for this post. However Tunis refused, according to the sources.

Morocco also refused that any of its diplomats would be nominated to succeed Brahimi. Therefore the Algerian troubleshooter’s successor should be Mauritanian or Libyan, and in the meantime there is no figure to hold this position.

Brahimi knows very well these difficulties that hinder finding a successor for him. For that he did not set a date for his resignation.

Meanwhile, the US-Russian dispute over Ukraine and Crimea indicates that the Syrian crisis is no more on the US agenda, the sources said, noting that Geneva III is not likely to take place in these circumstances.

The sources also pointed out that discussions over whether to hold Geneva III or not are likely to take place after the Syrian presidential elections, something that pushes the date of the international conference to the next fall because of the holy month of Ramadan and the summer vacation in West.

Read the Arabic text of Nidal Hamadeh article.

Source: Al-Manar Website
22-04-2014 – 15:59 Last updated 22-04-2014

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Taking stock of Lakhdar Brahimi

After the failure of the Geneva 2 Peace Conference, the Special Envoy of the Secretaries General of the UN and the Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, has refrained from from setting a date for a new meeting. He pronounced accusations against Syria, which he blames for the war of which she is the victim. For Thierry Meyssan, Mr. Brahimi was not only judge and jury, but his mandate was to impose upon Syria what he had imposed on his own country: war
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Posing as a Third World activist, Lakhdar Brahimi as the last person to host the Vice-President of the Tricontinental, Mehdi Ben Barka, before the latter was mysteriously kidnapped and murdered. Following the independence of Algeria, he was successively secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to Egypt, and the High Representative of the Arab League and of the UN worldwide. Recalled to Algeria, he served as Foreign Affairs Minister from 1991 to 1992.——————–

The Geneva 2 Conference failed, first, because the United States decided to support the Saudi position rather than honor their signature on the Geneva 1 communiqué and, secondly, because it was chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi was not an impartial broker but served precisely Washington instead of seeking peace.
On the advice of Russia, Syria had accepted that the special envoy of Ban Ki-moon would chair the sessions. Moscow hoped at the time that Washington would keep its promises. Damascus remembered that twenty-five years earlier, at Taif, Brahimi had not been an opponent of Syria. However, the vote by the U.S. Congress granting funding to Al-Qaeda at a secret meeting [1], the lack of legitimacy and authority of the delegation of the Syrian opposition, the cancellation of the UN invitation to Iran on the eve of the conference and the keynote speech by Secretary of State John Kerry heaping all the responsibility on Syria [2], not to mention the hurdles put by the European Union to physically prevent the Syrian delegation from travelling to Switzerland [3] showed that Moscow had either miscalculated or been deceived.
The Montreux session was exclusively designed to put Syria in the dock, making it fall into a trap. Indeed, the United States had itself drafted the statement by the opposition and released two days earlier a supposedly independent report – actually a hoax sponsored by Qatar – comparing Syrian prisons to Auschwitz [4]. Though Walid al-Muallem reasonably addressed Syrian public opinion, John Kerry and his allies, for their part, spoke to the rest of the world to impose their propaganda.
The Geneva talks were an opportunity for Lakhdar Brahimi to frame Syria’s inflexibility and to blame her for the war of which she is the victim. Thus, in the eyes of the world, the victims became the executioners. He allowed talk about terrorism, while all the same time evoking the issue of transitional government. Then he accused Syria of not playing the game even though the discussion on terrorism had resulted in the clear endorsement of the “opposition” delegation of the abuses perpetrated by the jihadists.

Since the U.S. shieft, Lakhdar Brahimi has transformed himself into a relentless accuser of Syria. On March 14, before the United Nations General Assembly, he accused her of turning down international humanitarian aid and of starving her own people [5]. He presented the situation in Yarmouk Camp as Syria’s deliberate intent to starve the Palestinians, ignoring that the Palestinian Authority supports Syria and has thanked her for what she is doing in Yarmouk. Above all, he never ceased to assert that the conflict was between the government and some of its citizens and could not find a military solution.This is concealing the West’s ten-year involvement in prepararing for this war, the way in which they triggered it by sending snipers into Deraa and spreading disinformation about the torture of children. It is also ignoring the presence of foreign fighters, even though Mr. Brahimi had previously admitted they were at least 40,000. Even though this figure is three times lower than what it actually is, it is enough to indicate that this is a war of aggression comparable to that that suffered Nicaragua in the 80s.

In retrospect, it appears that Syria was wrong to follow Russia’s advice and trust Lakhdar Brahimi. His appointment was in itself a foreboding of the failure to come: while his predecessor, Kofi Annan, had resigned, saying the mission impossible due to the division of the Security Council, Brahimi himself had accepted it with a smile.
Then, Lakhdar Brahimi had combined his role as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General with that of Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the Arab League, from which Syria was improperly excluded. He was therefore judge and jury.
At the time of Brahimi’s appointment in August 2013, I wrote an article about his past and submitted it to a major Syrian newspaper – I did not yet have the privilege of writing for Al-Watan. I reported his engagement in 1992 among the ten members of the Algerian High Security Council [6]. This so-called champion of democracy then annulled the results of democratic elections, forcing President Bendjedid to resign, placedjanviéristes generals in power triggering a terrible decade of civil war, which the Algerian people still bear the scars and from which only the United States profited.
At the time, the leader of the Algerian Islamists, Abbasi Madani, took the pseudo secular Syrian, Bourhan Ghalioun (future president of the Syrian National Council) as a political advisor. The armed Islamist faction GSPC (renamed in 2007 Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) was trained in handling weapons alongside the Islamic Fighting Group in Libya (renamed in 1997 Al-Qaeda in Libya); most fighters of the two groups are today incorporated into the armed groups in Syria.
Very worried about the consequences of these revelations, some Syrian officials opposed their publication. According to them, the dissemination of such an article would have been interpreted, including by Russia, as a desire to break away on the part of Syria. So I published it in Algeria, on Mr. Brahimi’s turf, in El-Ekhbar, the country’s second daily [7]. It provoked a storm against him there.
Let’s observe today the legacy of Lakhdar Brahimi : even before taking part in triggering the Algerian civil war, he had negotiated the Taif Agreement (1989) for the Arab League which divided Lebanon along religious community lines and which, today, make it anything but a sovereign state. Mr. Brahimi is also the one who negotiated the Bonn Accords (2002), installing the Kabul Karzai clan in power on behalf of NATO. Finally, as for the famous report – to which he gave his name – of the UN Commission he chaired for the Peacekeeping Operations [8] dedicated to “humanitarian intervention”, the new name for colonialism. Above all, he endorses the drift of the Organization which invented interposition troops to impose the peace of the great powers instead of observers to monitor the application of a negotiated peace between the parties in conflict. He advocated to base this global governance on a doctrine of intervention and a supra-national intelligence service called “Decision Support”, which Ban Ki-moon entrusted … to NATO . ” [9].
Moreover, Mr. Brahimi has never been a “bargainer” or a “mediator” in the conflict. His mandate, signed by Ban Ki-moon, asks him to use his “talents and his extraordinary experience” to lead Syria to a “political transition, in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people [10]. And “transition” here does not mean transition from war to peace, but from a sovereign Syria to an enslaved Syria without Bashar el-Assad.
Lakhdar Brahimi, who presents himself as a former Third World militant, has never served the people of the Third World – not even his own – and has never broken with the major powers. He does not deserve the respect that we have accorded him.
Translation
Roger Lagassé

PRESIDENT AL-ASSAD AFFIRMS IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL COOPERATION TO CONFRONT EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM

Feb 26, 2014
Damascus, (SANA)

President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday received Chairman for the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee at the Iranian Shura Council, Alaeddin Boroujerdi and an accompanying delegation.

During the meeting, President al-Assad said that cooperation among countries of the region is key to confront extremism and terrorism, affirming the importance of coordination among parliaments of these courtiers and the friendly countries in this regards, as well as practicing more pressures to stop all forms of support offered by some states to the terrorist groups and extremist powers.
The president expressed the Syrian people’s appreciation for Iran’s stances in support of Syria on all levels in the interests of the two friendly countries, affirming that the victory achieved by the Iranian people in the nuclear file will be positively reflected on all peoples adhered to their sovereignty and independence of their decision.
For his part, Boroujerdi reiterated Iran’s firm stance in support of Syria’s struggle which stands in the first trench of resistance, saying that the successes gained by the Syrian people in the face of the most arrogant colonial powers and their tools in the region will form a juncture, not only in Syria’s history, but in the future of the peoples in the whole region.
Later, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi discussed with Boroujerdi the economic and trade relations and means of developing them as well as activating the credit line between both countries.
In the same context, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem met Boroujerdi, briefing him on the events of the first and second rounds of Geneva 2 conference
Boroujerdi: Solution to crisis in Syria comes through dialogue… the US cannot impose its dictatorial opinion on Syrian people
Chairman of the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee at the Iranian Shura Council, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, reiterated Iran’s support for Syria’s people and government in their war against terrorism.
At a press conference held in Damascus on Wednesday following his talks with Syrian officials , Boroujerdi said that one of the most important issues he discussed during his visit to Syria was supporting Syria which is at the forefront of resistance against the Zionist entity, in addition to discussing with Syrian officials political efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria.
Boroujerdi asserted that the Syrian people will decide upon their fate via free elections, and that all countries must accept this, stressing that the United States cannot impose their dictatorial opinion on the Syrian people.
“We have discussed the latest developments on the political and military arenas in Syria regarding the crisis which is imposed on it,” Boroujerdi said, adding that he dealt with the political efforts exerted to end this crisis, particularly Geneva 2 conference in detail during his meeting with Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem.
He noted that the role played by UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi during the Geneva 2 talks between the Syrian government and the so-called opposition wasn’t impartial; rather his role was biased in favor of the other side and this was quite surprising.
Boroujerdi said that the situation in Syria today is much better than it was before, saying that the alliance between armed terrorist groups and the Zionist entity is regrettable, expressing astonishment at watching those terrorists and how they received treatment in the hospitals of the Zionist entity, and the visit of the occupation entity’s prime Minister to them.
“President Bashar al-Assad, despite all the pressure exerted on him, stands in the front of resistance against the Zionist entity, and there are many who support this direction and adherence to stances,” he said.
Boroujerdi added that when the Americans and those who claim democracy say that President al-Assad shouldn’t run for the upcoming presidential elections, they through aside all what we know about democracy in the world.
He also affirmed that the danger posed by takfiri movements doesn’t threaten the region’s country; rather it threatens the entire world, calling on countries which didn’t deal through logic in the crisis in Syria and tried to have unrealistic ways, to retreat from these ways and return to the right way.
Boroujerdi said that the US and western countries which support terrorists with weapon and money and send hundreds of European and western-nationals to Syria should know that this support will pose a threat to their national security in the future inside their countries as the crisis in Syria will come to an end and those terrorists will have no place in the country.
Syrians alone have right of self-determination through ballot boxes
Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham affirmed that the Syrian people alone have the right of self-determination and elect their representatives through free, fair elections.
“Those who call themselves as external opposition fear to go to the ballot boxes because they have no popular base to depend on in any upcoming elections,” al-Laham added during a meeting with Chairman for the Committee of Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran Alaeddin Boroujerdi and an accompanying delegation.
He appreciated Iran’s stances in support of the Syrian people, its wise polices and morals, in addition to its standing by Syria in the face of the terrorist war against it, calling for setting strategic plans for cooperation between the Syrian people’s assembly and the Iranian Shura Council in the next stage.
Boroujerdi, for his part, said that Syria is targeted today by the western and imperialist countries because it stands in the first line in the war against the Zionist entity.
“In spite of the US plots against Syria to foil Geneva 2 Conference, the crisis in Syria will end in the interest of the Syrian people and government,” Boroujerdi added.
He affirmed that the armed terrorist groups in Syria seek to distort the moderate real image of Islam through their acts of heinous crimes and systemized violations against civilians.
The Iranian official said that the delegation’s visit to Damascus comes within the framework of the activities of Parliamentary Friendship Committee at the Iranian Shura Council.
M. Ismael/ Mazen

Al-Moallem: Second round of Geneva talks achieved a very important point which starts off by rejecting violence and combating terrorism.

Al-Moallem: Second round of Geneva talks did not fail


Posted on February 16, 2014 by 
Al-Moallem: Second round of talks achieved very important point thanks to awareness of Syrian negotiators
Feb 16, 2014
Syrian official delegation’s plane, (SANA delegate)
Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, said that the second round of talks in the Geneva conference did not fail, contrary to the some media analysis or the reactions of the French and British foreign ministers.
Al-Moallem said that the second round achieved a very important point thanks to the awareness of Syrian negotiators when they announced Syria’s agreement to the agenda proposed by UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi which starts off by rejecting violence and combating terrorism.
He reiterated that talks did not fail; rather they resulted in what the Syrian official delegation always demanded which is an agenda for upcoming Geneva meetings.
On the premade orchestra in which the French and British foreign ministers held the Syrian Arab Republic delegation responsible for the failure of talks, al-Moallem said that this isn’t surprising as France and Britain have always been part of the conspiracy against Syria, noting that they made their accusations even before they were informed about what happened in the talks.
Regarding the arming of the opposition, al-Moallem noted that the US has announced its funding and arming of what it calls “moderate opposition” since the beginning of the first round of talks, describing this as “amusing.”
“The United States tried to create very negative atmospheres for dialogue in Geneva, but this didn’t dissuade our delegation from moving forward with constructive dialogue to reach results,” he said, adding that those who think that the US stopped or will stop conspiring against Syria are delusional, as the US has always been conspiring against Syria due to the Syrian people’s steadfastness in the face of Israel, and as long as Syria is confronting Israel, then the US will continue to conspire against it.
On whether this conspiring will reach the point of a direct US military aggression, al-Moallem said that such talk is mere media and psychological warfare aiming at pressuring the Syrian negotiator to hand over what the coalition delegation came to receive, adding “this is a delusion that will never happen.”
In response to a question on the French and American losses after the Geneva talks, the Minister said that Syrian Arab Republic delegation went to Geneva only to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people by finding a solution to the crisis in Syria and relay the Syrians’ desire for the cessation of violence and terrorism.
Al-Moallem said that the US was very much in a rush to hand over power before carrying out any political work, because its pawns on the inside failed on the ground, adding “I believe that this delusional they planted in the minds of members of the coalition has failed, but that doesn’t mean that they stopped conspiring.”
On the Russian position towards the talks in Geneva, al-Moallem said that Russia has been fully informed on daily basis about the results of each session, which is why it wasn’t surprised by what happened.
Regarding his expectations on what Brahimi will submit to the UN in his report, the Minister said that Brahimi prefaced his report in his recent press conference, stressing that Brahimi, as a mediator, must be impartial, noting that Brahimi’s press conference indicates that he will be impartial, and adding that the minutes of the sessions are available.
He stressed the need for Brahimi to be committed to continuing this process, whether in a third or fourth round or something else, saying that those that one session will be enough to resolve an issue as complicated as the Syrian issue – which is becoming more complex with every day due to foreign interference – are delusional.
“An impartial mediator is the one that commits to the continuation of this process until it reaches it purposes, whether the Geneva processes continues or through talks that will be held between this round and the coming round,” the Minister said.
On Wendy Sherman’s statement that the document presented by the coalition is good, al-Moallem said that the coalition didn’t present a document; rather they read an interposition, asserting that the decision about the presidency isn’t up to Sherman or the coalition delegation, as this decision belongs to the Syrian people who alone have the right to decide upon Syria’s future.
“As for the interim government, we have full studies based on laws and the standing constitution with which we can argue their biggest legal advisors,” he added.
In response to the statement by British Foreign Minister William Hague who said that not reaching an agenda for the next stage is a very serious matter and his blaming the Syrian official delegation for this, al-Moallem said “I’d rather not respond to him, because he is ignorant about what happened during the talks. The agenda proposed by Brahimi is clear, and the Syrian delegation agreed to it.”
Back on the topic of talk of a wide-scale US military action against Syria, al-Moallem opined that it’s very unlikely that there will be any wide-scale or small-scale military action, as the Americans have their pawns who fight on their behalf and receive paychecks and weapons, so why would they involve themselves directly?
He added that the American side was surprised by the achievements made by the Syrian Arab Army, by the reconciliations talking place, and the resilience of the Syrian Arab Republic delegation in talks.
On whether the Syrian Arab Republic delegation is ready at any time to discuss the interim government, al-Moallem affirmed that the delegation is prepared to discuss this issue when its time comes in the agenda, reiterating that the interim government will not be discussed before finding out if the other delegation is against terrorism and not with it.
“Some would ask if the coalition delegation can stop violence and terrorism in Syria when it doesn’t have a popular base or a base among the armed groups? Our answer, quite simply, is that we know that this delegation cannot stop violence and terrorism. However, we are addressing its employers who are the United States, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. When this delegation agrees to stopping terrorism, this means that its employers agreed to stop terrorism, therefore this agreement must oblige them to stop funding, arming and training terrorists,” he said.
On whether the Syrian government is worried over what is happening in the southern front of the Syrian borders, al-Moallem said that those who love their country must always be worried about it, but nothing is currently different what has been happening for over two years; as the smuggling of arms and terrorists from the south and the attempts to attack the Syrian people continue, but the Syrian leadership and the Syrian Arab Army will be ready for them.
Al-Moallem concluded by thanking the accompanying media delegation which relayed to the Syrian people the truth about what was happening in the meetings.

Syria peace talks break off, no new date set: Brahimi

الفرسان الخمسة في جنيف

الفرسان الخمسة في جنيف

الصلابة السورية والخيبة الأميركية

ED: As Expected, Geneva 2 reached a dead end and Obama failed to achieve in Geneva what he failed to achieve during three years. He called his boy in Amman to discuss “the rising extremist threat emanating from Syria and what might be done to counter it.” To counter the US-Made “extremist threat”  Saudis will supply the “moderate” terrorists in Syria with Mobile Antiaircraft Missiles, to Impose No-Fly Zone over Syria and bring down the extremist terrorist while flying to hell. 

2014.. عـام الـتـسـويـات الـكبـرى أو الـحسـم الـعـظـيـم

 Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army tighghtens its grip on Yabrud and continued eliminating armed terrorist groups across Syria, 


And suddenly, 
Lebanon announced that it has formed a government on Saturday after more than 330 days of deadlock between the various political blocs.

مؤتمر صحفي لكبير مفاوضي الوفد السوري الرسمي د بشار الجعفري

Syria peace talks break off, no new date set: Brahimi
Updated 2:00 pm: A second round of peace talks between Syria’s warring sides broke off Saturday without making any progress and without a date being set for a third round, UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said.
“I think it is better that every side goes back and reflects on their responsibility, (and on whether) they want this process to continue or not,” Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva.
Speaking on the final day of a second round of talks that have been mired from the start by blame-trading over the violence ravaging Syria, he apologized to the Syrian people for not making progress.
“I’m very, very sorry,” he said.
Brahimi said that the two sides now at least had reached agreement on an agenda for future talks – if they happen – something they had failed to do throughout the past week.
“At least we have agreed on an agenda. But we also have to agree on how we tackle that agenda,” Brahimi said, adding: “I very much hope there we will be a third round.”
Syria’s warring sides met in a last-ditch effort to save deadlocked peace talks amid fears that they could collapse altogether.
The second round of talks already appeared to fizzle out on Friday, but UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi at the last moment invited the two sides to come back for a final joint meeting Saturday morning.
After days of discussions, the rivals stood further apart than ever, seeming to agree on only one thing: that the negotiations were going nowhere.
“We deeply regret that this round did not make any progress,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said after meeting Brahimi on Friday.
Opposition spokesman Louay Safi agreed: “The negotiations have reached an impasse.”
As the parties in Geneva failed to agree even on an agenda for their talks, the death toll mounted in Syria, where more than 100,000 people have been killed in three years.
A monitoring group this week that more than 5,000 people had been killed since a first round of talks began on January 22.
توقعات بتطورات لافتة خلال 48 ساعة في معركة يبرود
The United Nations warned Friday that more than 2,700 refugees had poured across the Lebanese border as the Syrian army carries out an offensive in the Qalamun mountains and heads towards the opposition-held town of Yabrud.
Thousands had already fled the town, but as many as 50,000 people were believed to still be inside.
In Geneva, the second round of talks, which began Monday, appeared set to wrap up Saturday with no sign of progress and it was unclear if Brahimi could convince the foes to come back for a third round of negotiations.
Washington, which backs the opposition and initiated the so-called Geneva II talks with regime ally Russia, voiced deep frustration Friday at the stalemate.
“Talks for show make no sense,” a senior US official said Friday.
US President Barack Obama vowed to push the regime harder.
“There will be some intermediate steps that we can take to apply more pressure to the Assad regime,” he said after talks with Jordanian King Abdullah II in California, but did not specify what such steps might be.
In an effort to inject life into the talks, both the United States and Russia sent top envoys to Geneva this week to meet Brahimi and the two sides.
But after a meeting with high-ranking US and Russian diplomats Thursday, the veteran peacemaker admitted that “failure is still staring us in the face”.
Washington blamed the impasse squarely on the Syrian regime, and chastised Moscow for not doing enough to push its ally to engage “seriously” in the process.
 

Regime representatives have so far refused to discuss anything beyond the “terrorism” it blames on its opponents and their foreign backers, and stubbornly insist President Bashar al-Assad’s position is non-negotiable.

They have declined to discuss the opposition coalition’s 24-point proposal for a political transition, or to consider Brahimi’s suggestion that the parties discuss the two issues in parallel.
Observers said the talks were hanging in the balance.
“We are in a dead end,” said a Western diplomat, warning prospects looked “grim” and that it would be tough for Brahimi to organize a third round.
Spokesman Safi said the opposition was appealing to the international community to “make a difference to push this process forward” but that a “pause” looked likely in the meantime.
Algerian veteran peacemaker Brahimi, who helped broker past deals in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq, has pledged not to “leave one stone unturned if there is a possibility to move forward”.
But the Western diplomat cautioned: “I would not assume he will stay indefinitely,” saying Brahimi might have “concerns about his own credibility” if he allows the process to continue like a broken record.
The ongoing evacuation of civilians from besieged rebel-held areas of Homs – seen as the only tangible result so far of the Geneva II talks – has been hailed as a relative success.
But UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos expressed frustration at the “extremely limited and painstakingly slow” process of getting 1,400 people out, given that 250,000 are under siege across Syria.
Syria’s deputy foreign minister Mikdad had sharp words for Amos, accusing her of an “unacceptable” failure to recognize there was “terrorism” in Syria and that it hindered aid operations.
(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

A Faux “Humanitarian Pause” in Homs?

Evacuation of civilians from Homs Old City

Franklin Lamb

El Nubek, Syria.
Al-manar

As two delegations, one representing the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, led by Bashar Assad, and the other claiming to represent the popular opposition which is seeking its overthrow, arrived in Switzerland this morning to continue with Round Two of Geneva II, there is uncertainty over the agenda and whether to extend this weekend’s 36 hour “Humanitarian pause” to allow aid into the Old City of Homs. Such a deal, which could come at any time, would bolster confidence ahead of the Round Two of the peace talks.

Homs aid workersSome observers, including this one, predict that the Evacuation of civilians from Homs Old City ceasefire will in fact be extended as a result of a meeting on 2/10/14 being held between Syrian government officials here in Homs and UN representatives that will likely result in more civilians being allowed out of the old city later today or tomorrow.

But it is not certain. And meanwhile, on 2/10/14, the meager amounts of aid trickling into Yamouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus was stopped due to yet another breach of a “humanitarian pause” that was agreed upon last week.

The governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, has advised journalists and observers gathered in his office yesterday that the ceasefire may be extended by a further three days; to allow all those who might want to leave the chance to do so. The operation to help trapped civilians in Homs was the one concrete agreement reached at recent peace talks in Geneva, which are due to resume on Monday.

There remains much mistrust and plenty of PR jockeying from both sides as the public awaits the sound of the gavel from UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to resume discussions to end the killing in Syria. The new opposition team, at press time, is not fully identified but has announced that it wants the focus of Round Two to be solely or how to transition ( it demands a clean slate in Damascus) and nothing else.

In contradistinction, Syrian government Presidential Political and Media Adviser Dr. Buthaina Shaaban argues that the continuing essential problem in the search for a political solution through the Geneva track lies in the fact that “we don’t know whom is representing those who came by the name of opposition, how many, and what is their relation to Syria.” She added that the coalition delegation came to Geneva for discussing one word in the 12/12/13 Geneva I Communiqué; transition. Whereas the Syrian official delegation wants initially to discuss the first item in the Communiqué, the halt of violence, combating terrorism and the preservation of state institutions.


Whether there will be an extension of the just competed “Homs aid workers three day” humanitarian pause cease-fire” is not yet sure. In point of clarification, the so-called “three day” partial ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to the area which for more than 600 days has experienced nearly daily bombardment of the city which is labeled by some as the ‘Birthplace of the Revolution.” is a misnomer in the extreme. The so-called “Humanitarian Pause” such as it was, never comprised three days. Rather in reality it was for less than 36 hours given that aid deliveries and evacuations were strictly limited to 12 hours, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. over three days.

One spokesman for a European aid organization, attempted to enlighten this observer on the ceasefire terms by claiming that “After 6 p.m. any aid distributors within a snipers scope is fair game and they are for warned. I told them it is kind of like caveat emptor after six or before six.”

Frankly, the gentleman could not be more mistaken and he should have known better given his job. His view constitutes a shocking and fundamentally flawed edict and misstatement of applicable binding international norms anchored in black letter public international humanitarian law, including but not limited to the Geneva Conventions and other principles, standards and rule of international humanitarian law requiring protection by all belligerents of aid workers whenever and wherever they perform their humanitarian work. Nor can International customary law and treaty law on this subject be abrogated bilaterally by warring parties who may choose not to kill aid workers or civilians only during a mutually declared 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. day shift.

The aid workers in Homs, as are all civilians, are inviolate during military action. Nor is there any suggestion that either party has complied international law, which requires all warring factions to allow unconditional humanitarian access. It is no excuse, but there does appear, according to information given to these observers from local residents, that more than 30 different armed groups operate in the Old City, making any agreement among them unlikely. The Regional Advisor of UNICEF, Mr. Geoffrey Ijumba a reasonable sounding fellow, claims that “the main stumbling block is that the 30 plus militia groups inside Homs want guarantees that the aid will still be delivered to the Old City once the civilians are evacuated.” An extended ceasefire, given recent government military gains is, according to some observers monitoring developments in Homs, a rather tough precondition to expect from the Syrian government given the price it has paid for advancing militarily over the past two years in this area.

There is currently plenty of mistrust and much PR jockeying from both sides. The new opposition team, at press time not fully identified, wants the focus of Round Two to be solely transition and nothing else. Syrian government Presidential Political and Media Adviser Dr. Buthaina Shaaban strongly argues that an essential problem in the search for a political solution through the Geneva track lies in the fact that “we don’t know whom is representing those who came by the name of opposition, how many, and what is their relation to Syria.” She added that the coalition delegation came to Geneva for discussing one word in the Geneva I Communiqué; transition whereas the Syrian official delegation wants initially to discuss the first item in the Communiqué, the halt of violence, combating terrorism and the preservation of state institutions.

Evacuation of civilians from Homs Old CityFor its part, Damascus has been keen to portray the humanitarian deal outside the framework of talks, with pundits and parliamentarians taking to the airwaves to tout the deal as evidence of the government’s ongoing efforts to aid civilians. It has come under pressure from its allies Russia and Iran to make humanitarian concessions.

Evacuation of civilians from Homs Old City

Predictably perhaps, both sides accuse the other of violations of the claimed three-day humanitarian aid ceasefire as the Opposition team announced that its delegation to “Round Two” was being re-configured.

Many observers of Genera II judged that the strong personalities and intellects of the Syrian delegation, including Foreign Minister Walid Mouallum, Dr. Bouthania Shaaban, and Minister of Information Omran Zoubi as well as Faisal Mekdad, among others, “won” Round I of the public relations challenge of G II and that the Obama Administration via John Kerry advised the opposition to that, “It had better field a stronger team or risk losing ground”.

The first civilians were evacuated from a rebel-held area of the Syrian city of Homs on 2/8/14 after more than a year and half of struggling to survive. Six buses arrived with three UN vehicles and six Red Crescent ambulances to pick up women, children, and elderly. Dina Elkassaby, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program, said its staff had reported that many of the evacuees were in “very, very bad shape,” with children showing signs of malnutrition.

Humanitarian workers braved mortar shells and gunfire on 2/9/14 as they pushed forward with their mission to deliver aid into besieged parts of the Syrian city of Homs through Jouret al Shayah al Qoubaisi. 12 civilians came out on the first bus from the rebel enclave.

Syria state television said four members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARCS) were wounded by ”armed terrorist groups”, on 2/9/14)as the aid workers tried to deliver humanitarian supplies to a besieged, rebel-held district of Homs city. At sunset on 2/9/14 Abu Bilal, an activist trapped in the old city since June 2012 explained: “We hope more aid will come in, and we hope the civilians can be evacuated, but we don’t know whether that will happen. We are afraid that we will only see more of yesterday’s shelling.” The Syrian Red Crescent Society told observers that it has been “a challenge” to get its staff and the UN team out of the area. SARCS official Khaled Erksoussi said the convoy came under attack from mortars and gunfire as it was leaving the Qarabis neighborhood.

Many of those evacuated on 2/7/14 looked frail and described extreme hardships inside the area, which has been under army siege for nearly a year-and-a-half. They said bread had not been available for months, and many residents were gathering weeds and leaves to eat. As the BBC’s Lyse Doucet reported: “The tide of people continued – elderly men and women on stretchers or crutches, exhausted mothers in tears, children who went straight into the arms of waiting aid officials from the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society. Water, bread, even polio vaccinations were provided on the spot. Many residents who have finally escaped speak of having only grass and olives to eat.”

On Sunday, 2/9/14, 611 civilians, an increase from 83 on 2/7/14, who were besieged for more than 600 days in the old city of Homs were evacuated, the majority being women, children and elderly. According to one of the Governate of Homs officials responsible for monitoring their evacuation, their ages ranged between 16 and 54 years of age. It is not yet clear if the warring parties will agree to a three day (36 hour) extension of the aid mission and if so that it will be honored. The governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi sated on 2/0/14 that his administration will cooperate if the UN mission and the Syrian Red Crescent are the ones delivering the aid. Food and hygiene kits and have also been distributed in the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Diwan and al-Hamidieh.

The humanitarian aid gesture in the Old City of Homs is modest, compared to the more than four million civilians living under siege across this great country, being war deprived of adequate food, water, or sanitation. In all, some 9.3 million people in Syria need some form of aid, according to the U.N.

This past week, the U.N. Security Council pushed for a resolution that would enable broad-based aid deliveries to Syria. So did France. On the morning of 2/10/14, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France and other countries would present a resolution at the UN calling for greater access for humanitarian aid. He told the media in Homs and internationally, “It is absolutely scandalous that there have been discussions for quite a while and that people are still being starved every day, and so along with a number of other countries, we will present a resolution at the UN along those lines.” Yet, many in Homs voice skepticism that Moscow would allow UN Security Council Chapter Seven action given its rivalry with Washington on this and other Syria related regional issues.

Some 3,000 people are slated to receive aid during the humanitarian pause. At sunset on 2/9/14 Abu Bilal, an activist trapped in the old city since June 2012 explained: “We hope more aid will come in, and we hope the civilians can be evacuated, but we don’t know whether that will happen. We are afraid that we will only see more of yesterday’s shelling.”

It appears certain that in the coming few days the intentions of both sides will become clearer with respect to the Geneva process and their willingness to allow full humanitarian aid into Homs and the evacuation of those who want to exit the Old City.

Whichever side fails in its humanitarian duties will be harshly judged by history and quite possibly by a Special Tribunal for Syria, already being planned by some, to be held at The Hague.

Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (sssp-lb.com). He can be reached c/o fplamb@gmail.com.

Source: Al-Manar Website

14-02-2014 – 10:26 Last updated 14-02-2014 – 11:31

Geneva II Battle: Failure is staring at Brahimi and “Friends of Syria” in the face

“If what happened in Geneva 2 continues in Geneva 4,4,5.6,7, then after 20, 30 years, BANDAR BIN AHMAD BIN JARBA (Son of Jarba), would ask TARIK BIN WALID AL-MOAALIM (Son of Moaalim) to confice HAFEZ BIN BASHAR AL-ASSAD (Son of Bashar) to quit. – Mohammad Sadick Al-Husaini,

——–
Published Friday, February 14, 2014Al-Akhbar
Updates at 4:45 pm: Syria’s warring sides are due to end another round of peace talks in Geneva Friday, with hopes of progress dim as the foes remain mired in blame-trading over the violence ravaging their country.
The gridlock, which has seen the rivals fail to even agree on an agenda for the talks, has prompted Washington and Moscow to use their clout with their respective allies to help revive the process.
A Western diplomat said prospects were “grim” as the second round of talks drew to a close, and UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi admitted that “failure is always staring at us in the face.”
“Until now, we are not making much progress,” Brahimi said Thursday after meeting high-level diplomats from Russia and the United States.
Washington, which backs the opposition, and Moscow, a key ally of the Syrian government, “promised that they will help both here and in their capitals and elsewhere to unblock the situation for us,” said Brahimi.
The so-called Geneva II negotiations, which began on January 22, have so far done nothing to end the nearly three-year civil war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives and forced millions from their homes.
Syria’s foes did not meet Thursday, and were expected to hold only separate meetings with Brahimi on Friday.
“We expected that the talks would be difficult. We didn’t expect that (the parties) would be unable to compromise on an agenda, and that frankly is not good. That’s a very bad omen for the process,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be identified.
The talks, which started Monday, have achieved little more than an endless restating of positions and trading of accusations.
The opposition National Coalition maintains that the only way forward is to create a transitional government that can guide Syria towards peace, without President Bashar al-Assad.
20140213-183734.jpg
The government, however, says Assad’s future is not up for discussion, and insists the top priority of the talks must be halting the violence and “terrorism,” which it blames squarely on its opponents and their foreign backers.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the opposition on Friday of seeking “regime change” and said the creation of a transitional governing body must not be the sole focus of peace talks.
Lavrov said there were ongoing attempts to derail the talks and suggested the opposition and its backers were to blame, saying warnings that the negotiations could not go on forever were neither constructive nor logical after only two rounds.
Brahimi has attempted to find a middle ground, suggesting that the parties discuss the two issues in parallel.
But the government delegation has so far refused, insisting it would be catastrophic to touch on politics before completely resolving the “terrorism” issue.
“There is no hint of flexibility on the Syrian government position,” the diplomat said, warning that without “an agreement on an agenda, I don’t know how Brahimi will uphold a round three.”
Brahimi himself has said he has “tons of patience” and that he would “certainly not leave one stone unturned if there is a possibility to move forward.”
But the diplomat cautioned: “I would not assume he will stay indefinitely,” pointing out that the Algerian peacemaker might have “concerns about his own credibility” if he allows the process to continue turning like a broken record with no progress in sight.
If the parties are unable to announce Friday that they have agreed upon an agenda, “the prospects look much dimmer than they did a week ago… It is very grim,” the diplomat said.
Opposition chief negotiator Hadi Bahra told AFP that Russia and the United States needed to “pressure the regime to be more serious.”
Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Meqdad, meanwhile told AFP “all the pressure should be put on the other side.”

Al-Moallem meeting Gatilov: We are committed to implementing Geneva 1 communiqué with seriousness and responsibility

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov met the government delegation chief, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, on Wednesday, and the opposition delegation met US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Thursday evening.
It was unclear though if they could push the sides closer to actual dialogue.
Opposition delegation member Badr Jamous told AFP: “Things are not positive … I don’t think there will be a third round.”
Meanwhile, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos hailed the evacuation of civilians from the besieged Syrian city of Homs, but expressed frustration at the “extremely limited and painstakingly slow” progress.
“It was a success given the extremely difficult circumstances, but not a progress,” she said. “We evacuated 1,400 people but there (are) nearly 250,000 more to go if you look at all the besieged communities.”

Syria’s government is doing its best to improve humanitarian aid access, Meqdad said on Friday, a day after Amos urged the UN Security Council to act to improve access.
“While we have done our best and will continue to do our best, I think some of her statements were absolutely unacceptable,” Meqdad told a news conference in Geneva.
“Mrs Amos, in many of her statements does not recognize that there is terrorism in Syria and there are terrorist organizations which are hindering the movement of goods and humanitarian assistance to many parts of Syria in addition to ignoring very important places where the assistance should go.”
Washington and London, meanwhile, demanded Damascus honor a pledge to release hundreds of men detained after being evacuated from Homs this week.
“The regime should know that the world is watching with deep concern what is taking place in Homs and the status of these male evacuees,” said State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the detentions “outrageous”.
(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

ED COMMENT:


It is Slap on the face of  Daniel Hamayeh, posing as spokeman for the Axis of resistance, and Khalid Hamayreh, the sectarian mouthpiece of American brothers.

Daniel Hamayreh – A Political Anal-ysist

The real outcome (Of Geneva 2) is being cooked elsewhere and the choices are not many . In order to continue to rule , Assad who agreed to shift the battle – according to Russia’s instructions – would have to present concessions not only to US but to Russia as well and this has already started in approving of the Egyptian military coup in Egypt and in turning the war against NATO and Israel into a war against Terrorism.”

the World Order is now supporting the Arab armies in their war against Terror. This is a serious shift in the struggle because this so called Terror is exclusive of Israel and NATO and targets the gangs sent by the World Order to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and also to Sinai , financed and supplied by Gulf countries through Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and directly from Libya to Sinai but does not target the real sponsors of world terrorism in the form of US and allies.” 

Do the Muslim Brothers constitute the major threat? And is Erdogan a Muslim Brother before being a NATO stooge ? And are the Muslim Brothers the most prominent danger threatening the area . What about Israel ?”  He asked

——
YOU DECIDE
——


Khalid Hamayreh – A Sectarian Mouthpiece of American Brotherhood Hasbra

“However, the worst possible outcome of the Geneva conference would be the survival of the Assad regime.”” 

“We are not against the Nusseiri sect per se, e.g. because of its religion, however heretical it may be. No one can play God in this world and all citizens must be treated equally under a modern civil state….But we cannot escape the fact that this sect has effectively been at the forefront of Assad’s genocidal blitz against the Syrian people.  

And by readily accepting this nefarious role, the Nusseiri sect effectively put itself on a collision course with the rest of the Syrian people. We would be dishonest if we ignored or overlooked this fact…..I know it is politically incorrect to invoke sectarian issues. However, we all know that the sectarian dimension was conspicuous from the very inception in the Syrian quagmire. 

And we can’t pretend that sectarianism is not at the heart of the conflict, especially with the presence in Syria of tens of thousands of Hizbullah, Iraqi Shiite and Iranian fighters who are sent to Syria to murder Syrian children and rape Syrian women in the name of Hussein, Ali and Zaynab.

This evil is absolutely and totally unacceptable. It must be stopped.” Khalid Hamayreh

There is no doubt in my mind that these Egyptian officials represent the “Mossad lobby” within the Egyptian army. They are the Sisi men, par excellence, who are trying  to invent “red herrings” and imaginary enemies abroad to justify- and divert attention from- their tyranny and terror at home…

“In the final analysis, we are talking about the disciples of Abdul Hakim Amer, the infamous Mossad agent and Gamal Abdul Nasser’s top military general who made sure that all Egyptian warplanes remained grounded in their bases on 5 June 1967, only to become sitting ducks for the Israeli air-force….We know the rest of the story.”

Hamas, like all Muslims should, back the choice of the people of Egypt, not the choice of Israel and the American Jewish lobby.” Khalid Hamayreh

“Flying in the face of common sense, some Egyptian officials have been claiming that the new “constitution,” written by liberals, secularists and other enemies of the Islamic faith, is one of the most democratic in the world.” 

“We, Muslims, will not allow this scandal to pass. We will sacrifice blood and soul for our liberty. The days when a bankrupt army general could impose his will on millions of people are over.”Khalid Hamayreh

Geneva II: Coalition Delegation Refuses to Tackle Counterterrorism


Al-Manar

The coalition delegation rejected including counterteGeneva IIrrorism on the conference’s agenda, and that no agreement was reached on the agenda, SANA reported.

The delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic began discussing the issue of terrorism and will continue to do so until a common national project for counterterrorism is reached.

The Syrian official delegation said that no other item will be discussed before discussing the issue of combating terrorism which is affecting the Syrian people, in accordance with the first Geneva communiqué, wondering how there can be discussion of political issues when the coalition delegation refuses to include counterterrorism in the agenda.

Upon the request of Syria’s official delegation, the morning session between Syria’s official delegation and the coalition delegation started on Tuesday by observing a minute of silence for the souls of Maan martyrs in Hama countryside and Syria’s martyrs.

Earlier, Syria’s official delegation arrived to UN HQ in Geneva to take part in the morning session in the presence of UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.

Source: Agencies
11-02-2014 – 16:46 Last updated 11-02-2014 – 16:46

Syria, since 1980’s, asked for a universal definition of terrorism.

الشيخ عبد السلام الحراش والقاضي عمار بلال _ ارهاب العصابات المسلحة / الفضائية 1

Brahimi: Syria peace talks show little progress

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi arrives at a press briefing in Geneva on January 29, 2014. (Photo: AFP – Fabrice Coffrini)
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014
International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday that he does not expect to achieve anything substantive in the first round of Syria talks ending on Friday, but hoped for a more productive second round starting about a week later.
His sombre assessment came as the two sides took a first tentative step forward by agreeing to use the same 2012 roadmap as the basis of discussions to end the three-year civil war, though they disagreed about how talks should proceed.
“We talked about the TGB (Transitional Governing Body), but of course it is a very, very preliminary discussion and more generally of what each side expects,” Brahimi told reporters.
Asked his expectations for the first week-long round expected to end on Friday, he said: “To be blunt, I do not expect that we will achieve anything substantive.
“I am very happy that we are still talking, but the ice is breaking slowly. But it is breaking,” he said, adding that he was not disappointed.
Opposition and government sides said they agreed to use the “Geneva communique”, a document endorsed by world powers at a conference in June 2012, and which sets out the stages needed to end the fighting and agree on a political transition.
“We have agreed that Geneva 1 is the basis of the talks,” opposition spokesman Louay al-Safi told reporters.
The Syrian government delegation, which had earlier submitted its own document that it wanted the talks to focus on, said it would use the Geneva communique, with reservations. Syrian state television said the government wanted to discuss the text of Geneva 1 “paragraph by paragraph”.
While the opposition wants to start by addressing the question of the transitional governing body that the talks aim to create, the government says the first step is to discuss “terrorism”.
There was still no sign of a breakthrough in attempts to relieve the suffering of thousands of besieged residents of the rebel-held Old City of Homs, an issue that had been put forward to break the ice and build confidence at the start of the talks.
“We also tried to see what is happening over the humanitarian issues, in particular about Homs. Negotiations between the United Nations and the Syrian authorities are still ongoing,” Brahimi said of the stalled UN aid convoy.
“Mr Brahimi said tomorrow they are going to discuss terrorism because stopping terrorism is the first issue that should be handled,” said
Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Geneva communique refers to the government and “armed opposition groups”, but there is no mention of “terrorism” or “terrorists”, terms
used by the Syrian government to describe those fighting to overthrow Assad.
The opposition delegation wants discussion of the transitional governing body to come first, including its size and responsibilities, Safi said.
“They seem to be more ready to discuss that issue, but still they are trying to push it to the back of the discussion. We told them this has to come first, because nothing else can be achieved unless we can form the transitional governing body.”
The opposition says transitional arrangements must include the removal of Assad, which the government rejects.
Despite contradictory interpretations of Geneva 1 by the two sides, organizers of the talks at United Nations headquarters in Geneva have
made it a priority to keep the process going and dissuade either side from walking out.
The absence from the talks of powerful Islamist groups opposed to Assad, and of Iran, Assad’s main regional ally, has put a major
question mark over what can be achieved.
The United States and Russia, the joint sponsors of the conference, agreed on Wednesday to increase pressure on the two sides to reach a
compromise, Russia’s state-run RIA news agency reported, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.
Brahimi said he was in touch with both powers and hoped that they would exert greater influence in the future.
(Reuters)

Mikdad: Assad to Remain President Until Syrian People Say Otherwise

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad stressed that only Syrian people can decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad. During a press conference on the sidelines of the Geneva II conference on Syria, Mikdad said Assad remain presidFaisal Mikdadent until the people decide otherwise in the next election. “The president of the Syrian Arab Republic stays until the Syrian people says something else,” he said, stating the government position that Assad can stay and win another election. “This is a red line. If some people think we are coming here to give them the keys of Damascus they are wrong,” he added. Mikdad also said that those seeking to demonize the Syrian government have misled international media. The Syrian official said that the international public opinion and media have been misguided in every possible way since the unrest broke out in Syria almost three years ago. He went on to say that the government delegation has a sincere desire to resolve the Syrian crisis and end the bloodshed there.

Source: Agencies
27-01-2014 – 12:00 Last updated 27-01-2014 – 12:00
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