Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari: Why They ‘Punish’ Syria

SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Tim Anderson

Syria’s centuries-old refusal to take orders from foreign powers and its resistance to repeated foreign interventions has led to its ‘punishment’ by frustrated imperial forces, says Syria’s Vice Foreign Minister Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari.

Syria’s centuries-old refusal to take orders from foreign powers and its resistance to repeated foreign interventions has led to its ‘punishment’ by frustrated imperial forces, says Syria’s Vice Foreign Minister Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari. “We are like Cuba; or perhaps Cuba is like us”, said the veteran diplomat.

That independent history can be traced back to ancient times, when Queen Zenobia broke away from Roman rule. It was inflamed a century ago when Sultan Pasha Al-Atrash led the Great Arab Revolt of the 1920s against the French colonial power. And it rose again with Syria’s defeat of a massive, decade-long proxy war, driven by Washington and other NATO states, “Israel” and some of the Gulf monarchies.

But while Syria, at great cost, has defeated mass terrorism, according to Dr. Al-Jaafari, the “unprecedented” military interventions, occupations and economic war remain. The USA and Turkey, two NATO states, occupy huge swathes of Syrian land in the north and east and the Israeli occupation remains in the south. Each provides safe haven for terrorist groups.

These days Washington does not even bother to deny that it is stealing Syrian oil and wheat. It even signs UN declarations supporting the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Syria, while occupying Syrian land out of spite, to punish and divide the peoples of the region, for the benefit of Israeli and US hegemony.

Syria as an Arab nation once included current-day Iskenderun, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Colonists tried to crush its Pan-Arab ideology, which rose against the French and the British, leading to the hard-fought renewal of independence in 1947. Dr. Al-Jaafari says Pan-Arabism, which forms the basis of the Syrian Arab Baath Party and other groups (like Nasserites and the SSNP), is a reflection of the region’s Arab-speaking peoples, with a shared history, aspiration and culture.

Further, Syria, almost uniquely in the region, has led the process of separating religion from politics which, in turn, supports its broader, inclusive Arab traditions and historic defense of multiple and rich social communities. Syria’s famous pluralism was attacked by the NATO-sponsored terrorist groups, mainly Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS/DAESH, who abused minority communities while slaughtering anyone who backed the Damascus government.

The country remains under a severe US economic blockade, backed by the European Union, and subject to multiple foreign occupations. Repeated ‘chemical weapons of mass destruction’ scams, false flag massacres, fake claims of ‘freedom and democracy’, ‘moderate armed opposition’ slogans and the demonizing of President Assad were all part of a war to destroy, not just the Syrian government, but the Syrian state.

Dr. Al-Jaafari says that “from day one the Western strategy was based on making Syria a failed state”. That meant undermining Syria’s means of subsistence and strength – wheat, water, oil, the Tabqa dam, irrigation for agriculture, health systems and energy sources. “When you are a failed state, you lose your sovereignty; once you lose your sovereignty they can do to you whatever they want, because there is no state.”

“Our strength,” he says, “was to counter this strategy; and that is why they are extremely upset. We resisted their strategy and they failed It cost them trillions of dollars, eleven years of depriving the Syrian people of their basic needs. But they failed … We won the war, diplomatically speaking … militarily speaking, not yet”.

“The game is over … I think we preserved what is essential, we preserved the state, the country, the dignity, the independence and the political independence. It is costly yes, it has been so costly. But nowadays nobody says that we are wrong.”

Yet they do try to falsify history. If we look at the distorted ‘open source’ site Wikipedia we will see that ‘The Dirty War on Syria’ is listed as the ‘Syrian Civil War’. It is nothing of the sort. It is one of more than 20 proxy wars Washington has driven in the first two decades of this century.

Dr. Al-Jaafari points out that a UN sub-committee on Afghanistan’s Taliban in 2017 listed 101 countries as having exported terrorists to Syria. A number, like Indonesia, had governments friendly to Syria. On top of this, Israelis and the two largest NATO armies still occupy Syria. This is hardly a ‘civil war’.

Even though the Astana process (involving Russia, Iran and Turkey) has made some progress, by helping create ‘de-escalation zones’, Turkey under Erdogan has done tremendous damage to Syria. Dr Bashar says: “the Turkish policy has caused Syria and the Syrian people great damage, great damage.” On top of its support for the terrorist groups, the Turkish government has attacked critical civilian infrastructure.

Syria had an agreement with Turkey on sharing water which committed to passing 500 cubic meters per second, down the Euphrates. Yet for the last 10 years, “they have allowed less than half of this”, causing great damage to the electricity-generating Tabqa dam: “They did the same to a station in Al-Hasakah governate.”

So there have been chronic shortages of water for agriculture, as well as the theft of oil and wheat by the Americans. In Iraq, the situation is even worse. “Now the Iraqis walk in the [bed of the Tigris] river”.

Turkey is part of NATO and “is benefiting greatly from the American wrongdoings in the region… sharing benefits from the chaos that they themselves created.”

The Vice Minister made two points about aid and the refugees. He tells countries saying they want to provide ‘aid’: “We don’t need” your aid. He says Syria needs to rebuild its own capacities, reopening factories and creating employment.

He tells them “lift the sanctions so that the refugees can go back to their villages. “However these countries “know what they are doing … they spent millions of dollars on the refugees so that they don’t go back to their homeland.”

These foreign states use correct words about refugees having “dignified and safe” lives. But their programs serve to keep them forever in the camps. “They will not come back because they don’t have jobs and homes.”

Instead of spending billions of dollars on the refugees, Dr. Al-Jaafari aks, “why not give them all $10,000 each, enough to restart their lives back home? Why not pay them $10,000 once, instead of the same amount every year?”

What the enemies of Syria did to Syria “has gone beyond the threshold”, he says. “In my opinion, they did it … because we did not punish them for what they did in Iraq … that was the biggest mistake ever.”

Yet there have been great geopolitical changes in recent years. “The whole world is shifting”, he says, with the rise of BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and other blocs. “The whole Asian part of the world” has given up on Western-dominated organizations like the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.

“They don’t believe in that anymore and they want to create alternatives … let me say eastern alternatives, and this is very important.” The geopolitical center is shifting because the west has committed so many errors. This “might be a positive development, it might be a prelude to further confrontation, or it might be both.” In any case, he says, it is a sign that “enough is enough”.

Asked if Syria has applied to join the SCO, Dr. Al-Jaafari replies “of course, we submitted our request … recently.”

Meeting of the guarantor states of the Astana process to facilitate the Syrian settlement + Speech by President Vladimir Putin

July 20, 2022

Joint Statement by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Russian Federation, and the President of the Republic of Turkiey, Tehran

July 19, 2022

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Russian Federation, H.E. Vladimir Putin, and President of the Republic of Turkiey, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan gathered in Tehran on 19 July 2022 for a Tripartite Summit within the framework of Astana format.

The Presidents:

1. Discussed the current situation on the ground in Syria, reviewed the developments following the last virtual summit on 1 July 2020 and reiterated their determination to enhance the trilateral coordination in light of their agreements as well as conclusionsof foreign ministers and representatives’ meetings. Also, examined the latest international and regional developments and emphasized the leading role of the Astana Process in peaceful and sustainable settlement of the Syrian crisis.

2. Emphasized their unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as to the purposes and principles of UN Charter. Highlighted that these principles should be universally respected and that no actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine them.

3. Expressed their determination to continue working together to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations. Condemned increased presence and activities of terrorist groups and their affiliates under different names in various parts of Syria, including the attacks targeting civilian facilities, which result in loss of innocent lives. Highlighted the necessity to fully implement all arrangements related to the north of Syria.

4. Rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and expresses their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries including through cross-border attacks and infiltrations.

5. Discussed the situation in the north of Syria, emphasized that security and stability in this region can only be achieved on the basis of preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and decided to coordinate their efforts to this end. Expressed their opposition to the illegal seizure and transfer of oil revenues that should belong to Syria.

6. Reaffirmed the determination to continue their ongoing cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate terrorist individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, while ensuring the protection of the civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with the international humanitarian law.

7. Reviewed in detail the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area and underscored the necessity to maintain calm on the ground by fully implementing all agreements on Idlib. Expressed their serious concern over the presence and activities of terrorist groups that pose threat to civilians inside and outside the Idlib de-escalation area. Agreed to make further efforts to ensure sustainable normalization of the situation in and around the Idlib de-escalation area, including the humanitarian situation.

8. Expressed grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Syria and rejected all unilateral sanctions which are in contravention of international law, international humanitarian law and the UN Charter including, among other things, any discriminatory measures through waivers for certain regions which could lead to this country’s disintegration by assisting separatist agendas. In this regard, called upon the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies and other governmental/non-governmental international institutions to increase their assistance to all Syrianswithout discrimination, politicization and preconditions and in a more transparent manner.

9. Reaffirmed their conviction that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it could only be resolved through the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Emphasized in this regard the important role of the Constitutional Committee, created as a result of the decisive contribution of the Astana guarantors and the implementation of the decision of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. Reaffirmed the readiness to support the continuous interaction with its members and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen, as facilitator, in order to ensure the sustainable and effective work of the next sessions of the Constitutional Committee. Expressed the conviction that the Committee in its work should respect the Terms of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure to enable the Committee to implement its mandate of preparing and drafting for popular approval a constitutional reform as well as achieving progress in its work and be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines aimed at reaching general agreement of its members. Underlined the necessity that it should conduct its activities without any bureaucratic and logistical hindrances.

10. Reaffirmed their determination to continue operations on mutual release of detainees/abductees within the framework of the respective Working Group of the Astana format. Underscored that the Working Group was a unique mechanism that had proved to be effective and necessary for building confidence between the Syrian parties, and decided to further continue its work on the release of detainees and abductees and in line with its mandate on handover of bodies and identifications of missing persons.

11. Highlighted the need to facilitate safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria, ensuring their right to return and right to be supported. In this regard, they called upon the international community to provide appropriate contributions for their resettlement and normal life as well as to undertake greater responsibility in burden-sharing and to enhance their assistance to Syria, inter alia by developing early recovery projects, including basic infrastructure assets – water, electricity. sanitation, health, educations, schools, hospitals as well as the humanitarian mine action in accordance with international humanitarian law.

12. Condemned Israeli military attacks in Syria including to civilian infrastructures. Considered it as violating the international law, international humanitarian law, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and recognized it as destabilizing and intensifying the tension in the region. Reaffirmed the necessity to abide by universally recognized international legal decisions, including those provisions of the relevant UN resolutions rejecting the occupation of Syrian Golan, first and foremost UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 497, which also consider all decisions and measures taken by Israel in this regard null void and have no legal effect.

13. In addition to the Syrian issue, they confirmed their intention to strengthen trilateral coordination in different fields in order to promote joint political and economic cooperation.

14. Agreed to assign their representatives with the task of holding the 19th International Meeting on Syria in the Astana format by the end of 2022.

15. Decided to hold the next Tripartite Summit in the Russian Federation upon the invitation of President of the Russian Federation, H.E. Vladimir Putin.

16. The Presidents of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkiye expressed their sincere gratitude to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi for graciously hosting the Tripartite Summit within the framework of Astana format in Tehran.


Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the summit of the guarantor states of the Astana process

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Raisi, Mr Erdogan, colleagues,

First, I would like to thank President Raisi for inviting us to visit Tehran for our today’s meeting in the framework of the Astana process. Of course, it is best to talk in-person in this format, and now we have the opportunity to do so.

We hope to discuss in a practical and business-like spirit the urgent issues of stabilisation in Syria, and there are quite a few of them at present.

Overall, the joint efforts of Russia, Iran and Turkiye to facilitate the comprehensive settlement of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic are highly productive. Owing to the assistance and support of our countries, the level of violence in Syria has decreased significantly; peaceful life is returning and the country is gradually rebuilding its economy and social sphere.

And no less important, the real political and diplomatic process has been launched in line with Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council. We believe the Astana Troika must continue playing a key role in the efforts to achieve complete normalisation in Syria and establish durable peace and civil accord in the country.

Importantly, Russia proceeds from its firm commitment to the fundamental principles of unconditional respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.

We support the draft joint statement prepared for approval following the summit, which determines the priorities of cooperation in this trilateral format.

We believe our task for the near future is to agree on specific steps to promote the intra-Syrian inclusive political dialogue, that is, to implement our agreement on creating conditions that will allow the Syrians to determine their future themselves, without outside interference.

In fact, this is why our three states initiated the adoption of the decision to establish a Constitutional Committee at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in 2018. The Syrian parties achieved noticeable progress with support from Russia, Iran and Turkiye, and the participation of the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria. Importantly, the Syrians showed a willingness to come to terms, to search for and find consensus solutions on priority issues related to the future arrangement of their sovereign state.

I am convinced that our countries will continue promoting cooperation in the interests of the ultimate elimination of the remaining hotbeds of international terrorism on Syrian territory. It is necessary to put an end, once and for all, to the presence of ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria.

Let me stress that the situation on the territories outside the control of the Syrian government is particularly concerning. We see real threats of crime, extremism and separatism coming from those regions. This is largely allowed through the destructive policy of the Western states led by the US which are using a broad arsenal of political and economic measures, are strongly encouraging separatist sentiment in some areas of the country, as the President of Iran just mentioned, and plundering its natural resources with a view to ultimately pulling the Syrian state apart. So, it would be best to take extra steps in our trilateral format aimed at stabilising the situation in those areas and at returning control to the legitimate government of Syria.

I think it is important that Russia, Iran and Turkiye are making concerted efforts to render support to the Syrian people in the post-conflict recovery. We believe that everything needed must be done to restore the economy and social sphere, to return refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, and to create conditions for safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid for those who need it. And these activities must be continued, of course.

In addition, it is necessary to see that other members of the international community, the respective UN agencies, and international development institutions play a more substantial role in providing Syria with assistance without politicisation or any preconditions.

To conclude, I would like to express confidence that our talks will be useful and productive and the results will serve to enhance stability and security not only in Syria but also in the Middle East in general.

I would also like to note that the next Astana Troika summit is scheduled to be held in Russia, and we will definitely be happy to see all of you there.

Thank you for your attention.

قمة بوتين – رئيسي – أردوغان: الأسد المنتصر

July 18, 2022 

 ناصر قنديل


غالباً ما كانت الدولة السورية تتعرّض لضغوط مواطنيها في الشمال مطالبة بعمل عسكريّ يُنهي الاحتلال الأميركي والاحتلال التركي ومشروع الكانتون الكردي الذي تقيمه قوات قسد، وكان كثيرون يذهبون للتحذير من خطورة أن تكون صورة تقاسم جغرافيا الشمال السوري نهائيّة، وتعني تحوّل وحدة التراب السوري إلى شيء من الماضي، بينما كان كثيرون يرمون سهام الاتهام على حلفاء سورية، روسيا وإيران، بسبب علاقاتهما الجيدة مع تركيا ما يتيح اتهامهما بالتردد في دعم أية عملية عسكرية سورية نحو المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة الجماعات الإرهابيّة المدعومة من تركيا. وبالمثل لعلاقاتهما الجيّدة بقوات قسد التركية، واعتبار هذه العلاقة سبباً لتردد مماثل؛ بينما كان كل من القيادتين التركية والكردية يتقاسمان عدم الوفاء بالتعهدات، وتطبيق التفاهمات، ويواظبان على الخداع، فكلما اشتدت الضغوط العسكرية يبديان الاستعداد السياسي الإيجابي، ثم لا يلبثان يعودان إلى لغة المماطلة وأسلوب الخداع والتنصل من الالتزامات.

خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية، وبينما الأجواء السائدة محكومة بالإعلان التركيّ عن اكتمال الاستعدادات لعمليّة عسكريّة كبيرة شمال سورية، مرّة تحت ذريعة ضرب الجماعات الكردية التركية المناوئة، ومرة تحت عنوان ضمان منطقة آمنة لعودة النازحين المقيمين في تركيا، دخل الجيش السوري بلدة منبج الواقعة تحت سيطرة الميليشيات التابعة لقسد، والمرشّحة لتكون أول أهداف العملية العسكرية التركية، وبلغ عدد البلدات والمدن والقرى التي انتشر فيها الجيش السوري، بما فيها تل رفعت، أكثر من عشرين، وتجري الاستعدادات المتسارعة لتوسيع حجم الانتشار ليشمل المزيد، بينما تتجه المزيد من الحشود العسكريّة للجيش السوري شمالاً مزوّدة بالأسلحة الثقيلة.

يجري ذلك عشية انعقاد القمة الثلاثية الروسية الإيرانية التركية في طهران، التي تستضيف القمة التي ستجمع الرؤساء فلاديمير بوتين والسيد إبراهيم رئيسي ورجب أردوغان، وقد سبقتها تحضيرات ومشاورات ورسائل متبادلة ومبادرات، منذ إعلان الرئيس التركيّ محاولاً الاستفادة من حرب أوكرانيا، عن نيّته بتوسيع نفوذه داخل الأراضي السورية، وكان أول المواقف هو القرار الذي اتخذته الدولة السورية بالتصدّي العسكري لهذه العملية التركية، بمعزل عن كيفية تفاعل الميليشيات الكردية من جهة، وحدود قدرة الحلفاء على اتخاذ مواقف داعمة من جهة أخرى. وقد أبلغت سورية القيادتين الروسية والإيرانية بموقفها، كما أبلغت قيادة قسد أن قوات الجيش السوري ذاهبة الى الحدود لمنع التوغل التركي، وسنتصدّى لكل من يقف في طريقها.

تبلور الموقف الروسيّ الإيرانيّ المشترك الذي تبلغته سورية بالوقوف معها في قرارها، وتمّت صياغة موقف سياسيّ استراتيجيّ مشترك عنوانه، مسار أستانة سيسقط مع انطلاق العملية العسكرية التركية، وتبلغت القيادة التركية بذلك، وبدأت مبادرة روسية وأخرى إيرانية لبلورة مسار سياسي سوري تركي، يضع الاعتبارات السيادية السورية أولاً، حيث الالتزام التركي بالانسحاب العسكري من الأراضي السورية، واعتبار اتفاق أضنة أساساً لتنظيم الوضع عبر الحدود، كما تبلغت قيادة الميليشيا الكردية موقف كل من روسيا وإيران، بأن انتشار الجيش السوريّ وحده يمثل ضمانة تجنيب مناطق سيطرة هذه الميليشيات وسكانها مخاطر الحرب، وبدأت المساومة التركية التقليدية على جوائز ترضية، سواء في تولي ملف تجارة الحبوب الأوكرانيّة، أو الاتفاقيات التجارية التركية الإيرانية والروسية في مجال الطاقة وأسعار الغاز الذي يشكل أعلى فاتورة تركيّة بالعملات الصعبة، واحتمالات تسديدها بالعملة المحلية.

قمة طهران نقطة تحوّل في مسار الوضع شمال سورية، حيث الصبر الاستراتيجي، والتربّص عند المنعطفات، والمصداقية في التحالفات، عناصر منحت سورية فرصة أن تكون المنتصر الذي يخرج رابحاً في جغرافيا يتقاسمها الاحتلال التركي والاحتلال الأميركي، لتعود وحدة سورية وسيادتها في المقدّمة مجدداً.

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Assad: Syria Will Stand Firm against Any Turkish Onslaught on Its Territory

June 9, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has once again rejected Turkish military operations in the occupied northern part of the country, saying  the army will directly confront the Ankara government’s incursions and offensives wherever military facilities are present.

“If Turkish forces launch an attack in areas where Syrian military troops are present, the latter will definitely fight back and put up defense,” Assad said in an interview with Russia’s state-owned and Arabic-language RT Arabic television news network, which is scheduled to be broadcast in full on Thursday evening.

He added, “Two and a half years ago, there was a direct confrontation between Syrian and Turkish forces, and Syrian soldiers managed to strike a number of Turkish units that had encroached into our territories.”

“If it is not possible for Syrian army forces to face up to Turkish incursions, popular resistance will swing into action in the first place,” Assad pointed out.

On Saturday, Syria vehemently condemned Turkey’s acts of aggression against the Arab country, saying Turkish forces incursions into its territory violate international law.

“The aggressive threats of the Turkish regime pose a blatant violation of the international law and the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria,” the official news agency SANA cited an unnamed source in Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates as saying in a statement.

The statement added that Turkey’s incursions into the Syrian territory contradict the understandings and agreements reached through the Astana process and constitute a serious threat to peace and security in the region while undermining internationally-sponsored agreements on the lines of the de-escalation zones in Syria.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Assad censured the recent Western hawkish stance against Russia over its military campaign in neighboring Ukraine.

“Russia is facing a war that I personally believe has nothing to do with the eastward expansion of the [US-led] North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]. This is a war that existed before communism and World War II, and has been going on for a long time,” the Syrian president said.

He emphasized, “We can look at Russia from two perspectives. If we view Moscow as an ally of Damascus, either its victory in Ukraine campaign or stronger political role at the world stage will be highly beneficial for us.

“Moreover, Russia’s power can restore the lost international balance, albeit partially. This is the balance we are looking for as it will primarily affect small countries like Syria in the first place,” Assad said.

Lavrov x two

May 30, 2022

Source

Introduction by Amarynth

This posting contains one recent interview and one recent address by Mr Lavrov.  One is extensive and the second contains a few comments not included in the first.  One is directed to an international audience (more specifically the Arab world) and the other to a domestic audience.  Why should we look at these very carefully, and why do we post them on the Saker Blog?   Mr Lavrov is arguably one of the best diplomats in the world today.  In that role, he is a pleasure to read or listen to.  But, that is not the main reason.  He has a fine facility with language and explains exactly Russia’s position and further, the world position in its process toward multipolarity and a new financial system in a pragmatic realpolitik style, undergirded by an encyclopedic knowledge of world affairs.

Sidebar:  While Mr Lavrov is speaking to the Arab countries, his counterpart in China, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, is speaking to all of the smaller Pacific island countries (PICS).  Comparing the welcome that these statesmen receive, it is beginning to clarify that the other geopolitical axis (which we roughly and in shorthand refer to as Zone B)  of this war for the world is active and up and running.  Mr Lavrov mentions the organizations.   It is then worthwhile to mention that BRICS is expected to grow by at least two countries during the next general meeting.  It is expected that Argentina will be next, which will then start including the new Latin American groupings such as Celac (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) or ALBA-TCP.  Thus we see a coalescence of countries around the principles of international law, the true principles in the UN Charter, and a world community built on cooperation and collective values, instead of one ruler of the world.

First up is an interview with RT Arabic, clearly for an international audience.

Second up is remarks to the Heads of Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation, clearly a domestic audience.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT Arabic, Moscow, May 26, 2022

Question: Your recent visit to Algeria and Oman generated a lot of interest. What can you say about its results? Why did you decide to visit these states?

Sergey Lavrov: We communicate with all interested countries. As for this tour, it was planned long ago. The programme of my visits and their timeframe were coordinated some time ago.

In Algeria, I had good, lengthy talks with President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. We emphasised that for many years our relations were based on the Declaration on Strategic Partnership that was signed by our presidents in 2001. Since then we have intensively developed our strategic ties as partners in many areas. It is enough to mention our regular political dialogue, trade (it went up by several percent in 2021 to exceed $3 billion despite the pandemic), the economy, joint investment, our work in the OPEC+ and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, extensive military-technical ties and cultural and humanitarian exchanges.

We concluded (at the prompting of Algeria) that our relations are reaching a qualitatively new level. This should be reflected in a document that is already being drafted. We hope to sign this document when President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune visits Russia at the invitation of President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

We appreciate that the countries of the Arab world are refusing to follow in the wake of the West and are objectively assessing the events in Ukraine and refusing to join the anti-Russia sanctions. They understand that the current situation was caused by the flat refusal of our Western colleagues to reach an accommodation on equal and indivisible security in our common region.

As for Oman, this was the first visit since its new Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said acceded to the throne. The Sultan received me with good grace and devoted much time to me. I was particularly grateful to his Majesty for this gesture (the protocol of the Sultanate of Oman does not envisage communication with ministers in this format). Our detailed talks showed that we have a good potential for developing trade and economic ties. We want to raise them to the level of our trust-based political dialogue. We have many opportunities in energy and ICT and interesting cultural projects. A half-year exhibition of Islamic Art in Russia ended in the National Museum of Oman last March. This museum and the Hermitage have been closely cooperating since 2015. Both museums display their own expositions on each other’s territory.

These two planned visits to both countries at the planned time were useful, in my view.

Question: What about a top-level visit?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already said that during a telephone conversation with President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Russia Vladimir Putin invited him to visit the Russian Federation. Now we are preparing the documents required for this visit.

Question: And what about Oman?

Sergey Lavrov: No top-level visits are envisaged for Oman for the time being. We are planning to develop practical cooperation, make it more intensive and productive.

Question: Will there be additional agreements on military cooperation?

Sergey Lavrov: Our military-technical cooperation with many countries develops according to their wishes. We are always ready to examine ways to strengthen their defence capabilities. We consider them as we receive relevant requests.

Question: We are talking about Algeria, which also produces both gas and oil. The OPEC+ countries have shown firmness about the previously agreed positions within the organisation on the parameters of oil production and pricing on the oil market. Do you have confidence in the stability of your partners’ position?

Sergey Lavrov: We have discussed our further cooperation not only within OPEC+ but also the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), where Russia and Algeria are also included. All OPEC+ and GECF members without exception publicly affirmed their commitment to the agreements reached in these formats and their intention to continue working in this direction in order to stabilise the energy market.

Question: Where will you visit next?

Sergey Lavrov: The next visit will take place very soon. On May 31 and June 1, based on my invitations, I plan to visit Bahrain first. Later, on June 1, Riyadh will host a regular meeting of the Russia-GCC Foreign Ministers Forum. This forum has been around for a long time. Due to the pandemic, there was a break in our meetings. Now our friends have proposed resuming them. In addition to the Russia-GCC meeting, there will also be bilateral meetings with almost all members of this organisation.

Question: How do you find Arab countries’ position on the Ukrainian crisis?

Sergey Lavrov: Just now, answering the previous question, I said that all Arab countries have a responsible position. This proves that they rely solely on their national interests and are not ready to sacrifice them for the sake of anyone’s opportunistic geopolitical adventures. We have mutually respectful relations. We understand the vital interests of the Arab countries in connection with the threats to their security. They reciprocate our feelings and understand the threats to the security of the Russian Federation that the West has been creating right on our borders for decades, trying to use Ukraine to contain Russia and seriously harm us.

Question: Do you think these countries will continue to pursue this policy, despite the pressure from the West, particularly, from the Anglo-Saxon alliance?

Sergey Lavrov: The arrogance of the Anglo-Saxon alliance has no limits. We are offered evidence of that every day. Instead of delivering on their obligations under the UN Charter and honouring, as is written in this charter, the sovereign equality of states and abstaining from interfering in their domestic affairs, the West churns out ultimatums every day, issuing them through their ambassadors or envoys to each, without exception, capital not only in the Arab world but in other regions of the world as well, and, in so doing, blatantly blackmailing them, citing some subjective situations. The West is directly threatening their interlocutors, saying they will regret failing to join the sanctions against Russia and will be punished for this. It is blatant disrespect for sovereign countries. The reaction of Arab countries and almost all other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that we are seeing shows that these countries do not want to disregard their national dignity, running errands, in a servile manner, for their senior colleagues. This situation is yet another example of colonial thinking. The habits of our Western colleagues have not vanished. In their traditional style, the United States and Europe are still preaching the colonial customs they adhered to at a time when they could dictate to all others. It is wrong and regrettable, and flies in the face of the historical process, which objectively shows that a multipolar world is taking shape now. It has several centres of economic growth, financial power and political influence. Everyone understands now that China and India are fast-growing economies and influential countries, just like Brazil and other Latin American countries. The tapping of Africa’s enormous potential of natural resources has been held back by the colonialists during the period of neo-colonialism as well, which is not over yet. That is why Africa is also making its voice heard. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Arab world is objectively one of the pillars or one of the centres of a multipolar world that is being shaped now.

Question: We are talking about good relations between Russia, China and India. Can these countries form an alliance against US hegemony?

Sergey Lavrov: We never form alliances against anyone and never make friends with someone against others. We have a ramified network of partner organisations established many years ago. I will mention the organisations established after the Soviet Union’s disintegration. These are the CIS, the CSTO, the EAEU and the SCO on a broader geopolitical plane. The SCO has established and is developing close ties with the EAEU and as part of the linkage of Eurasian integration projects with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. The EAEU and the PRC have signed an agreement. The linkage of these integration projects is embracing more and more territories. Thus, in addition to EAEU-SCO cooperation, these organisations have memorandums on cooperation with ASEAN. The Greater Eurasia project (or the Greater Eurasia Partnership) should embrace the whole of Eurasia. President of Russia Vladimir Putin spoke about this at the Russia-ASEAN summit six years ago. It is based on the processes on the ground and has a Eurasian dimension.

Many countries of the Arab world are interested in establishing partner relations with the SCO that represents all other leading sub-regions of our enormous common continent. These are efforts to build constructive and positive (not antagonistic) alliances that are not aimed against anyone. They are gradually acquiring a global character, which is reflected in the development of the BRICS Five (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Our Saudi friends and Argentina are interested in it. Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero expressed his country’s desire to become a full member of BRICS.

BRICS is preparing for a regular summit. It will create an outreach format in which a dozen developing nations will take part. These processes are underway. We know that our Western friends have many phobias and complexes of their own superiority and infallibility. But they are also paranoid. The West sees opposition and a threat to its domination in any process in which it does not take part and which it does not control. It is time to get rid of these manners and customs.

Question: What about the recent Russia-China military exercises? What do they show?

Sergey Lavrov: This is the continuation of our cooperation aimed at enhancing security in this region. They supplement regular military undertakings: drills and training sessions with counterterrorism aims, efforts to strengthen the security of our common borders within the SCO. Russia-China bilateral military cooperation already has a long history. This is not the first year that we are holding events in the zone of our common borders where our security interests directly overlap; we do it regularly. They show that both Russia and China have a responsible attitude to fulfilling these tasks.

Question: Despite the evidence cited by Russia, the development of biological weapons by the United States in Ukraine has not evoked any concern in the West. What should be done for the world to understand how dangerous this is? The Arab press writes about the historical importance of Russia’s efforts to show how these laboratories operate.

Sergey Lavrov: This is a direct violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons. Enjoying support of all countries except the US, we have long been advocating the formation of a universal transparent verification mechanism within its framework that would allow all states to be sure that no participants of the Convention violate it. The United States has simply blocked this initiative since 2001 (for more than 20 years). Now it is clear why it occupies this position. During all these years, the Americans have been setting up their military bio laboratories all over the world. The Pentagon’s unit – the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) – is in charge of these activities. In developing a network of such laboratories, the Pentagon is focusing on the post-Soviet space and Eurasia. Available information shows that these laboratories have been or are being established along the perimeter of the Russian Federation and closer to the PRC. We initially suspected that the experiments made in these laboratories were not entirely peaceful and innocent. When the Russian Armed Forces and the militias of Donetsk and Lugansk liberated Mariupol during the military operation, they discovered laboratories left by the Americans in a rush. The Americans tried to get rid of documents and samples but didn’t destroy all of them. The samples of pathogens and the documents found there clearly pointed to the military character of these experiments. It is clear from the documents that there are several dozen such laboratories in Ukraine. We are pursuing two goals. First, we will convince the UN Security Council to take seriously the information we presented to it (you noted that the overwhelming majority of the developing nations do take it seriously). Second, we want this information to lead to specific actions that must be taken under the Biological Weapons Convention. It requires that the United States explain what it was doing there. We held five special briefings in the UN Security Council, one of them quite recently. We will work to make the US take specific actions proceeding from its commitments under the Convention. We will also analyse additional information about the involvement of other countries in these experiments and military bio laboratories in Ukraine. According to some sources, these are Great Britain and Germany.

Question: If you don’t mind my asking, where are other similar laboratories located in the vicinity of Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I don’t mind. There are such laboratories in Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asian countries. Russia and these countries have been analysing these problems both bilaterally and at the CSTO. We are signing (or have signed, or are preparing) memorandums on interaction in biological security with practically all CSTO and other CIS countries.  These documents stipulate that the signatories will inform each other of how biological programmes develop in each country.

What is important is transparency, which makes it possible to ascertain that these programmes have no military dimension, since this is prohibited under the Convention. These memorandums imply that the parties will pay mutual visits and familiarise themselves with the activities conducted by these laboratories.  In addition, it is stipulated that there should be no military representatives of any third party at the biological facilities in each of our countries.

Question: How are these countries motivated in having such laboratories? Will this bring them any material or political benefits?

Sergey Lavrov: The USSR pursued a large-scale biological programme. After the Soviet Union joined the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, this programme was stripped of its military aspects, but the scientific value of the biological research is retained.  We all remember the state in which this country was in 1991, when the USSR ceased to exist. We faced the problem of preserving the Russian Federation’s integrity. There were no state reserves to repay the national debt or even to purchase the basic necessities for the Russian population’s everyday life. At that time, our Western partners “hopped to it,” as we say, offering their services in all areas of life. They penetrated all spheres of the newly independent states, sending their advisers and advice-givers. Today we are experiencing the aftermath of those times. Major changes have occurred. There are no Soviet republics, which became independent overnight. They had no experience of independent international activity. But now all of this is a thing of the past. All the post-Soviet republics have consolidated their stand, asserting themselves as absolutely sovereign, independent states.  They decide what partners to choose on their own. We have agreements with them to the effect that the commitments assumed within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and the Eurasian Economic Union should be fully respected by other countries interested in developing relations with all post-Soviet states. We discussed the problems that all of us encountered during the emergence of the new statehood.  Various agencies exchange information about the risks involved in this sweeping cooperation with foreign countries in sensitive spheres. Biology is, of course, one of these spheres.  There is awareness that we have a unified biological security space. The CSTO’s purview includes security issues that are directly related to public health and the environment.  We will continue our constructive cooperation based on these statutes.

Question: Turkey and Italy have proposed a plan for organising talks between Russia and Kiev. Is Russia ready to continue the talks, which have not yielded any results lately?

Sergey Lavrov: We pointed out on numerous occasions that our Western colleagues want to use Vladimir Zelensky and all citizens of Ukraine to the last Ukrainian, which has become proverbial, to damage Russia as much as possible, to defeat it on the battlefield. This has been openly declared in Washington, Berlin, London and especially loudly in Warsaw. Poland has proposed that the Russian world must be destroyed like a “cancer” which is a deadly threat to the whole world. I would like to look at this world as it is represented by our Polish neighbours. For many years Russia has tried to explain why NATO’s eastward expansion and the drawing of Ukraine into the bloc are unacceptable to us. They listened to us but did not comprehend what we said.

When the coup was staged in 2014, the [Ukrainian] opposition trampled on the agreements reached despite the EU’s guarantees. The EU proved unable to force the putschists to respect the signatures of France, Germany and Poland. In 2015, the war in Donbass unleashed by the new Ukrainian authorities, who seized power in the coup, was stopped. The Minsk agreements were signed and guaranteed by France and Germany. All these years we called on Kiev to honour its commitments. Since the West had the decisive influence on it, we also worked with the Europeans and Americans, appealing to their conscience. Regrettably, they have no conscience.

Instead of forcing Kiev to implement the agreements, which should have been done through a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, the West tried to justify Zelensky and his team, even when they said publicly that they would never talk with “those people,” although this is stipulated in the UN Security Council resolution approving the Minsk agreements. They said that they would never implement the Minsk agreements or give a special status to these republics. At the same time, they adopted laws that prohibited the Russian language in education and media. Media outlets were shut down. The Russian language was even prohibited in everyday life. Only the Ukrainian language was allowed as the medium of interaction between people in Ukraine.

Moreover, Vladimir Zelensky stated that those who feel Russian must go to Russia. He said this in September 2021. We drew the attention of some Western countries, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the relevant UN bodies to these aggressively Russophobic and racist statements made in the spirit of the neo-Nazi policy which was gaining a foothold in the Ukrainian legislation. They did not react in any way. Some officials sometimes called for respect for international commitments. But Zelensky doesn’t give a damn about international commitments or the Constitution of Ukraine, which guarantees the rights of Russian speakers in Ukraine. They showed no respect for the Constitution and international conventions and adopted a lot of anti-Russian laws.

As for Russia’s readiness for talks, we have already explained why we couldn’t sit on our hands any longer. What we found on the Ukrainian army positions during the special military operation proved that we were barely in time with starting it, because Ukraine’s Plan B was to be enacted on March 8. A huge group of the Ukrainian armed forces, which was deployed on the contact line with Donbass by mid-February, planned to attack and occupy these territories in flagrant violation of the Minsk agreements and the UN Security Council resolution.

I have no doubt that had they succeeded the West would have turned a blind eye to these violations, just as it pretended not to notice Kiev’s disregard for all the agreements during the previous eight years.

When the Ukrainian authorities proposed negotiations several days after the operation began, we agreed immediately. We held several in-person rounds of talks in Belarus, trying to understand Ukraine’s position and what it wants to achieve at the talks, because we had presented our approach. After several rounds were held in Belarus and online, the idea of meeting in Istanbul was put forth, and the Ukrainian delegation brought, for the first time, written proposals signed by the head of the delegation to the meeting we held on March 29. We analysed these proposals, reported our opinion to President Putin and told our Ukrainian colleagues that we were ready to proceed on that basis. Since they didn’t present a complete agreement but only its individual provisions, we used them to quickly draft an agreement that was based on the Ukrainian proposals and turned it over to the Ukrainian delegation. The following day a flagrant provocation was staged in Bucha, where dead bodies were found in the streets three days after Russian troops had left the city, after three days of peaceful life. We were accused of killing those people. You remember what happened next.

The West adopted a new package of sanctions, as if it had been waiting for it to happen. The Ukrainians said that they had reviewed their position and would reformulate the principles underlying the agreement. Nevertheless, contacts between us continued. The latest draft agreement, which we submitted to Ukraine nearly a month ago, is gathering dust. If you ask who wants to hold and is ready for talks, Vladimir Zelensky said in an interview the other day (he does this almost every day) that he is ready for talks, but they must be held between himself and Vladimir Putin, because there is allegedly no use doing this at any other level. He said the talks should be held without any intermediaries and only after Ukraine resumed control of its territory as of February 23, 2022. Anyone can see that this is not serious. But it suits the West to keep up this unreasonable and unsubstantiated obstinacy. This is a fact.

The West has called for defeating Russia on the battlefield, which means that the war must continue and that increasingly more weapons must be provided to the Ukrainian nationalists, to the Ukrainian regime, including weapons that can hit targets in the Russian Federation. It is such weapons that Vladimir Zelensky demands publicly. We have issued most serious warnings to the West that it is, in fact, fighting a proxy war against the Russian Federation with the hands, bodies and brains of the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, which can become a major step towards an unacceptable escalation. I hope that the remaining reasonable forces in the West are aware of this.

As for Turkey and Italy, Turkey doesn’t have a plan. At least nobody has presented it to us, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has noted on many occasions that Turkey is ready to provide a venue just as it did in Istanbul on March 29.  In fact, it was a useful contact. For the first time the Ukrainians presented their vision of a peace agreement on paper in response to our numerous requests, which we accepted and translated into the legal language. I have told you what happened after that. President Erdogan stands for peace and is ready to do all he can to bring it about. But Vladimir Zelensky has said that he doesn’t need intermediaries. That’s his business. He is as fickle as the wind: first, he rallied the support of all the G7 countries, and now it appears that former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is creating an advisory group at Kiev’s request that will provide proposals on security guarantees for Ukraine in the context of a peace settlement.

I would like to remind you that initially the Ukrainians’ concept was to draft a comprehensive agreement which would include Ukraine’s pledge not to join any blocs or have nuclear weapons, as well as guarantees of its neutral status. It would also stipulate the guarantor countries’ guarantees that will take into account the security interests of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and other countries in the region. As I have mentioned, Kiev is moving away from that concept. If Andreas Fogh Rasmussen has been recruited to formulate certain “guarantees” in a narrow circle of the Ukrainian regime’s Western sponsors and to subsequently try to submit them to Russia, it is a path that leads nowhere.

Question: Is this a non-paper? Just an initiative of former [NATO] officials?

Sergey Lavrov: We are looking into this now. This has already been promoted as a breakthrough step. The same applies to the Italian initiative.  Luigi Di Maio is quite active in the media landscape promoting the Italian four-point initiative. All we know about it is that it can bring the long-awaited peace, and not just suit both Russia and Ukraine, but launch something like a new Helsinki process, a new agreement on European security, and that it already enjoys the support of the G7 and the UN Secretary-General. I don’t know whether this is true, or to whom he has shown it. No one has sent us anything. All we can go by is speculation, descriptions of this initiative as they appear in the media.

But what we have read (if it is true, of course) makes us regret that the sponsors of this initiative show so little understanding of what is happening or knowledge of the subject, the history of this matter. Allegedly, it says that Crimea and Donbass should be part of Ukraine, which should grant those regions broad autonomy. Serious politicians who want to achieve results, not just grandstand to impress their voters, cannot be proposing such things. Donbass could have returned to Ukraine a long time ago if the Ukrainian regimes (Petr Poroshenko, and then Vladimir Zelensky) had fulfilled the Minsk agreements and granted a special status to the people that refused to accept the coup. The package included the status of the Russian language. However, instead of granting that status, Ukraine banned the Russian language. Instead of unblocking economic ties, Poroshenko announced a transport embargo on those regions, making retirees travel many kilometres to receive their pension benefits.

This Italian initiative you asked me about – as reported by the media – also calls for launching a new Helsinki process, in addition to reconciliation between Russia and Ukraine, to ensure the safety of everyone and everything.  Our colleagues in Rome came to their senses too late. The Helsinki process has given a number of important gains to the world, to our region, to the Euro-Atlantic region, including declarations signed at the highest political level, at the OSCE summits, in particular in Istanbul in 1999, in Astana in 2010 – declarations on indivisible security. Those documents said security can only be equal and indivisible. Further elaborating on this, they said all participating states have the right to be or not to be a party to treaties of alliance, but no country can join any alliances or otherwise strengthen its security if it affects the security of any other state. The third component of this formula is that no country, no organisation in the OSCE area will claim to dominate security issues.

Anyone familiar with the situation in Europe understands that Western countries have been grossly violating the key components of that commitment by strengthening their security in violation of Russia’s right to its own security. They claim that only NATO can call the tune in this region, and no one else. We have tried to make those beautiful political words become reality, to make them work rather than keep them on paper signed off by the presidents of the United States and European countries. We proposed making that political commitment legally binding. As far back as in 2009, we proposed an agreement to NATO countries. They said they wouldn’t even discuss it because only NATO could provide legal security guarantees. When we asked about the OSCE’s role, they said those were just political promises and slogans. That showed how Western politicians treat the signatures of their presidents. But we did not stop there.

We made another attempt last year. In November 2021, President Vladimir Putin instructed his team to draft new documents to agree with the United States and NATO on the principles that would be approved by all at the highest level. We drafted those treaties and transferred them to Washington and Brussels in early December 2021. Several rounds of negotiations followed. I met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. We were told that we could discuss the arms control agenda, but NATO expansion was not our business or anybody’s business, for that matter. When we again quoted their commitment not to strengthen their security at the expense of others, they dismissed that as immaterial. What mattered was NATO’s so-called open door policy. We have warned them repeatedly – in 2009, then in 2013, 2014 (when a coup d’état occurred in Ukraine), and in 2015 (the Minsk agreements). All these years, we have been telling our Western colleagues that it will end badly because they continue to ignore our legitimate interests and rudely tell us no when we ask them to take us into consideration – not somewhere tens of thousands of kilometres away, but right on the borders of the Russian Federation. This arrogance, this air of being exceptional, this colonial mentality (I can do anything and you will do what I tell you) is not manifested only in their attitude to our interests.

Remember 1999, when the United States suddenly decided that Yugoslavia, lying 10,000 kilometres away from its coasts, posed a threat to its security? They bombed it to dust in a heartbeat. They used OSCE Mission leader William Walker from the United States to loudly declare that several dozen corpses discovered in the village of Racak were a crime against humanity. As it turned out later, these corpses were not civilians, but militants who were disguised as civilians and scattered around the place.

The same setup was used in Bucha near Kiev on April 3. It works regardless of whether the public finds it convincing or not. They didn’t need to convince anyone. They bombed Yugoslavia, created an independent Kosovo violating every OSCE principle in the process and then said it would be like that from then on.

They said no after the referendum in Crimea. According to them, self-determination in Kosovo is a good thing, but self-determination in Crimea is not. This is being done as if nothing were wrong. No one is even blushing, although it’s a shame for Western diplomacy which has lost its ability to provide elegant explanations for their grossly reckless moves.

In 2003, the United States decided that a threat was coming from another country located 10,000 kilometres away and produced a vial with what I think was tooth powder. Poor Colin Powell later lamented that he had been set up by the intelligence. Several years later, Tony Blair, too, said it was a mistake, but nothing could be done about it. Nothing can be done about it. They bombed the country killing under a million civilians. Until now, Iraq’s integrity has not been restored. There are enough problems there, including terrorism, which did not exist there before. Indeed, Iraq and Libya were authoritarian regimes, but there were no terrorists, ongoing hostilities, or military provocations.

Libya is on that list, as well. In 2011, President Obama said that they would be “leading from behind” Europe.  France, the most democratic nation in the Old World (freedom, equality, fraternity), led the NATO operation to destroy the regime. As a result, they destroyed the country. It is hard to put it back together now. Again, the French are trying to do so as they come up with initiatives, convene conferences and announce election dates. All in vain, because, before going in, they needed to think about what would become of Libya after the West ensured its “security” in that country.

I’m citing this example not to say: they can, but we can’t. That would be simplifying matters. What I’m saying is that the Western countries believe that the entire world is part of their security, and they must rule the world.

As NATO was crawling up to Russia’s borders, it told us not to be concerned about it, since NATO is a defensive alliance and does not threaten our country’s security. First, this sounds like a diplomatic effrontery. We must decide for ourselves on our security interests, just like any other country. Second, NATO was a defensive alliance when there was someone to stand up to like the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. There was the Berlin Wall between Western and Eastern Europe. Everyone was clear about the line of defence. After the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union ceased to exist, any lieutenant with basic training knew there was no longer any such thing as a defence line. All you need to do now is live a normal life based on shared values and a common European space.

We put our signature under multiple slogans including “from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean,” “from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” and “we are brothers and sisters now.” However, they retained their military nature as they continued to move the “line of defence” closer to our borders. We have just had an in-depth discussion on the outcomes of this policy. In recent months, the NATO Secretary General and warmongering politicians like the British Foreign Secretary have been publicly stating that the alliance must have global responsibility. NATO must be in charge of security in the Pacific. This may mean that next time NATO’s “defence line” will move to the South China Sea.

Not only NATO, but the EU leaders also decided to “play soldiers.” Ursula von der Leyen, who is rivalling EU top diplomat Josep Borrell in terms of bellicosity, claimed that the EU must be in charge of security matters in the Indo-Pacific region. How are they going to accomplish this? They keep talking about an EU “army.” No one will let them create this “army” as long as NATO exists.

To all appearances, no one is going to even reform NATO. They are going to turn this “defensive alliance” into a global alliance claiming global military dominance. This is a dangerous path that is definitely doomed to failure.

Question: To what extent are these developments affecting the Russian army’s presence in Syria?

Sergey Lavrov: We are present in Syria at the request of the legitimate President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the legitimate government of that country. We are there in full compliance with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and are addressing the tasks set by UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We will stick to this policy and support the Syrian government in its efforts to fully restore Syria’s territorial integrity. The armed forces of the countries that no one had invited to Syria are still deployed there. Until now, the US military, which has occupied a significant portion of the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, is openly building a quasi-state there and is directly encouraging separatism taking advantage of the sentiment of a portion of the Kurdish population of Iraq. Problems are arising between the various entities that unite the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds. All of that intensifies tensions in this region. Of course, Turkey cannot stay on the sidelines.

We want to address these issues solely on the basis of respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are talking to the Kurds. We have channels which we use to communicate with all of them. We encourage them to take a closer look at recent developments where the United States promised something to someone and then failed to deliver. Starting a serious dialogue with Damascus and agreeing on arrangements of living in a single state is a much more reliable approach even from these purely pragmatic considerations, not to mention international law.

Of course, Russia will continue to provide humanitarian aid. The United States is trying to keep the crisis situation unchanged and to encourage the sides to resume hostilities. The notorious Caesar Act is designed to strangle the Syrian economy. We see that a growing number of Arab countries are starting to understand the utter futility of this policy and are interested in resuming relations with Syria. Recently, the UAE restored its embassy’s activities in full. A number of Arab countries have never withdrawn their embassies from Damascus. Preparations are underway for a summit of the League of Arab States, which I discussed with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. The vast majority of the League members (as far as we can tell from our contacts) are in favour of a solution that will make it possible to resume Syria’s full Arab League membership.

Refugees are another issue. The UN mediators are trying to get involved in this matter, but the United States and the compliant Europeans are doing their utmost to make the return of these people impossible. Remember when Syria held a conference in Damascus a couple of years ago to raise funds and make it possible for the refugees to return, the Americans went out of the way to keep everyone from attending this conference. Not everyone listened to them and about 20 countries, primarily Arab countries, as well as the People’s Republic of China and other countries, took part in it.

The UN showed its weakness by refusing to participate in that conference and only sending its representative in Damascus to sit there as an observer. That decision hit the United Nations’ reputation hard because its Resolution 2254 explicitly calls for the return of refugees. Both the UN Secretariat and the Secretary-General personally have an obligation to contribute to this directly. Until recently, the European Union held its own conferences on refugees (and they were not devoted to creating conditions for their return, but to raising money to pay the host countries). The purpose of those conferences was to make the current situation permanent and prevent any chance of positive developments in Syria. Yet, the Secretary-General did not just send representatives to them, but participated in these conferences as a co-chair. We have been pointing out that serious misinterpretation of his direct responsibilities.

As for the process that is taking place in Geneva, including the Constitutional Committee, its Drafting Commission – I keep in touch with Geir Pedersen, who represents the UN as a mediator in this process. He visited Russia not long ago. We also communicate through our mission in Geneva. There is an agreement that the next meeting of the Drafting Commission will begin at the end of May. I believe that President Bashar al-Assad’s recent decision to grant amnesty to Syrians charged with terrorism-related crimes was an important positive step. As far as I understand, a lot of work has been done, and the amnesty was announced. It will be a good chance to see how it goes. Geir Pedersen as well as many of our Western colleagues said Bashar al-Assad should take some steps. Okay. Whatever prompted the Syrian president’s decision, he did take a step. Let’s reciprocate now. Let Geir Pedersen talk to the opposition and those who control it, and persuade them to show some constructive action in this regard.

Question:  Is Russia keeping the same number of troops in Syria?

Sergey Lavrov: We have not had any requests from the Syrian government. If any such decisions are deemed expedient, they will be implemented. The numbers on the ground are determined by the specific objectives our force is tasked with there. It is clear that there are practically no military objectives left, but only ensuring stability and security. As for the remaining military objectives that the Syrian army is working for, with our support – there is the terrorist threat in Idlib, and it has not gone anywhere. Our Turkish friends and neighbours are trying, as they are telling us, to fulfil what presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on a few years ago. As we all see, things are going hard. This objective remains on the agenda. However, thanks to the actions by our contingent and the Syrian armed forces, we have not seen any provocations from Idlib lately targeting the Syrian army strongholds or our bases in Syria.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 38th meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s Council of the Heads of Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation, Moscow, May 27, 2022

Colleagues,

We are holding a regular meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s Council of the Heads of Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation. The meeting is taking place against the background of the special military operation in Ukraine, which is being conducted in connection with the tasks set by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, tasks involving the protection of civilians, the elimination of the Ukraine-posed security threats to the Russian Federation, and the denazification of this kindred country whose people have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of a regime which encourages extreme neo-Nazi sentiments and practices.

You see the United States and its satellites double, triple and quadruple their efforts to contain Russia with the use of a broad range of tools, from unilateral economic sanctions to utterly false propaganda in the global media space. Popular Russophobia has taken on an unprecedented scale in many Western countries, where, to our regret, it is nurtured by government circles.

Under these circumstances, it is of crucial importance that the foreign policy course approved by President Vladimir Putin is based on a broad national accord and supported by the key political forces of Russia and the leading public and entrepreneurial associations. We also feel daily the support from all Russian regions. This country is witnessing the consolidation of all healthy and patriotic forces. This is an important aspect of the present stage.

Colleagues,

At our last meeting, we discussed regions’ cultural diplomacy. The recommendations that we approved have made it possible to give a new impetus to international cultural ties maintained by Russian regions and expand the geographical reach and range of partners (of Russia’s republics, regions and territories). But the situation has changed since that time: the West has declared a total war on us and the entire Russian world. No one is concealing this any longer.

The cancel culture directed at Russia and all things Russian is reaching the apogee of absurdity. Russian greats, including Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Alexander Pushkin, are banned. Russian cultural figures and artists representing our culture today are persecuted.

It may safely be said that this situation is here to stay. We should be ready to accept the fact that it has revealed the West’s true attitude to those fine-sounding slogans concerning human values and the need to create a united Europe, a “common European home” stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which were put forward 30 years ago after the end of the Cold War. Today we see the true worth of all these empty words.

Let us not become self-complacent. Under the current circumstances, we need a detailed analysis of the Foreign Ministry’s effort to promote cooperation with civil society, including at the level of regions.

A sufficiently effective system of collaboration between the Foreign Ministry and non-profit organisations focusing on international issues has been established. For example, the recent assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy has clearly demonstrated the high expert potential of scientific diplomacy. Our joint work has made it possible to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the highly intricate and complex developments in the world.

That said, the presence of NGOs from regions at international venues is insignificant. However, the inclusion of certain regional NGOs in Russian delegations to the UN General Assembly has been a success. This experience shows that this partnership has a promise. We would like to make it regular and broad in nature.

I would like to highlight a number of priority areas concerning interaction with civil society institutions:

1. Mobilising Russian NGOs’ capabilities to promote recovery and to provide humanitarian aid to residents of the DPR and the LPR, as well as the liberated Ukrainian territories.

2. Engaging public diplomacy channels for outreach activities with constructive international partners, including stepping up efforts to debunk fakes about the special military operation and promoting our views in social media and the blogosphere.

3. Using NGO resources, in particular, regional associations of entrepreneurs and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to minimise the consequences of unilateral sanctions, and to promote ties with the friendly countries, primarily, our allies and like-minded partners in the CSTO, the SCO, the CIS, the EAEU and BRICS.

On a separate note, regional consultative mechanisms with the participation of top executives from national cultural associations are working productively. Clearly, this helps maintain inter-ethnic and inter-religious peace and accord. I think broader use of this set of tools should be made in order to strengthen business ties with the expat communities’ countries of origin, primarily in the CIS.

4. Working with our compatriots residing abroad is particularly important. They are at the forefront of dealing with the phenomenon known as Neanderthal Russophobia. Our foreign-based communities are facing unprecedented pressure and are being discriminated against on national and linguistic grounds. In spite of everything, our compatriots are holding their own and bravely defending their right not to sever contacts with the Motherland even in the most challenging times. The Immortal Regiment drive that took place in over 80 countries, including the United States and Europe, clearly showed it. Our duty is to continue to support our compatriots, and we count on the regions’ proactive moves in this regard.

It is gratifying to know that many regions, in particular, Moscow, St Petersburg, Tatarstan, Crimea, the Altai Territory and the Yamalo-Nenets and Khanty-Mansi autonomous areas (the list goes on) are effectively working with the Russian expat communities and their coordinating bodies. The most recent examples include the Moscow Government holding, in conjunction with other regions, round table discussions on the topic “Interactions with compatriots abroad at the regional level.” Such events took place in certain regions, in particular, Kaliningrad in late March, and Khabarovsk and Vladikavkaz in April. More such meetings will be held this year. We strongly support these initiatives and will sponsor such events. We are ready to provide advice to our colleagues from non-governmental organisations on the corresponding issues. We will update them on the situation of their compatriots, including instances of their legal rights being violated.

5. The developments in Ukraine confirm the importance of continued efforts to counteract the falsification of history and glorification of Nazism. The absurd content of modern Ukrainian school textbooks is a case in point. However, the problem is not limited to Ukraine. The West does not stop trying to pit the peoples of the former Soviet Union against each other through a biased interpretation of historical facts.

The other day the German government approved plans for a World War II and the German Occupation of Europe documentation centre. At first glance, this concept raises serious questions regarding its historical truthfulness. The planned centre is structured not only to downplay the Soviet Union and the Soviet people’ decisive role in defeating German Nazism, but also to play down the crimes committed by the Third Reich against the Soviet people. These themes are not indicated in the planned expositions. The plans also contain language that seeks to equate German criminals to liberators of Europe. This is yet another step within the policy adopted by modern Berlin which seeks to rewrite the history of World War II and to rehabilitate the Third Reich.

It is important to focus on preserving the common chapters of history, primarily, the Great Patriotic War, and to promote shared memories of the war and the fallen war hero search movement, as well as the ongoing CIS historians’ dialogue on existing platforms.

Proper resources and staff are required in order to overcome these challenges, and the broad involvement of NGOs that should be issued targeted grants and subsidies to this end as well. Let’s not forget about this, either.

Many Russian regions are addressing these issues adequately, including through the use of extrabudgetary sources. We are ready to support this work and supplement these initiatives with increased funding from the federal budget.

In conjunction with Rossotrudnichestvo and the Civic Chamber, we will continue to help the regions use public and people’s diplomacy in the interest of promoting our foreign policy.

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

9 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mohamad Zreik 

As the world order shifts into a multipolar world, a new balance of power based on economic ties centered in Asia emerges.

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

Unanimity on a new American century had gone unchecked for a decade. The warhawk John Bolton lambasted Xi’s authoritarianism, claiming the new crackdown has made it practically hard for the CIA to keep agents in China.

Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has evolved enormously since its inception. Today, multipolarity has developed, promising long-term progress for everyone who follows its norms. And Syria is one among them, had lately returned to world prominence after defeating a decade-long military offensive by the traditional unipolar actors.

In spite of this, unlawful US sanctions continue to harm the hungry, impede the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and access to clean water, and restrict the livelihood of millions in Syria.

“We welcome Syria’s involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative,” stated Xi Jinping to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on November 5.

In July 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the Arab League’s head to discuss Syria’s return to the fold. A four-point plan to end Syria’s multi-faceted crisis was signed by China at the end of the tour, which coincided with Assad’s re-election.

Surrounded by western-backed separatist movements, Syria reiterated its support for China’s territorial integrity. In 2018, China gave Syria $28 million, and in September 2019, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi proposed China-Iraq oil for rebuilding and greater BRI integration.

Events orchestrated by foreign forces halted this progress. Protests swiftly overthrew Abdul Mahdi’s administration and the oil-for-reconstruction scheme. In recent months, Iraq has rekindled this endeavor, but progress has been modest.

These projects are currently mostly channeled through the 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership deal between China and Iran in March 2021. This might open the way for future rail and energy lines connecting Iran with Iraq and Syria.

At the first formal BRI meeting in April 2019, President Assad stated: “The Silk Route (Belt and Road Initiative) crossing through Syria is a foregone conclusion when this infrastructure is constructed, since it is not a road you can merely put on a map.”

China and Syria are now staying quiet on specifics. Assad’s wish list may be deduced from his previous strategic vision for Syria. Assad’s Five Seas Strategy, which he pushed from 2004 to 2011, has gone after the US began attacking Syria.

The “Five Seas Strategy” includes building rail, roads, and energy systems to connect Syria to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black, Red, and Caspian Seas. The project is a logical link that connects Mackinder’s world island’s states. This initiative was “the most significant thing” Assad has ever done, he claimed in 2009.

Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon were among the countries Assad led delegations to sign agreements with in 2011. President Qaddafi of Libya and a coalition of nations including Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt were building the Great Man-Made River at the time.

We can’t comprehend why Qaddafi was killed, why Sudan was partitioned in 2009, or why the US is presently financing a regime change in Ethiopia until we grasp this tremendous, game-changing strategic paradigm. Diplomatic confidentiality between China and West Asia is so essential in the post-regime transition situation.

Over the last decade, BRI-compliant initiatives throughout West Asia and Africa have been sabotaged in various ways. This has been a pattern. Neither Assad nor the Chinese want to go back to that.

The Arab League re-admitted Syria on November 23, revealing the substance of this hidden diplomacy. They have proved that they are prepared to accept their humiliation, acknowledge Assad’s legitimacy, and adjust to the new Middle Eastern powers of China and Russia: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Unlike decades of US promises that consider Arab participation as disposable short-term interests, the China-Russia cooperation provides genuine, demonstrable advantages for everybody.

The BRI now includes 17 Arab and 46 African countries, while the US has spent the last decade sanctioning and fining those who do not accept its global hegemony. Faced with a possible solution to its current economic problems and currency fluctuations, Turkey has turned to China for help.

Buying ISIS-controlled oil, sending extremist fighters to the region, and receiving arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar were all known methods of supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda operations in Iraq and Syria. The CIA’s funding has dwindled in recent months, leaving ISIS with little else to work with.

Though US President Joe Biden reiterated US military backing for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), the Kurds’ hand has been overplayed. Many people now realize that the Kurds have been tricked into acting as ISIS’ counter-gang, and that promises of a Kurdish state are as unreal as Assad’s demise. For a long time, it was evident that Syria’s only hope for survival was Russia’s military assistance and China’s BRI, both of which need Turkey to preserve Syria’s sovereignty.

This new reality and the impending collapse of the old unipolar order in West Asia give reason to believe that the region, or at least a significant portion of it, is already locked in and counting on the upcoming development and connectivity boom.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

الأسد للسيد خامنئي: علاقة دمشق بطهران منعت “إسرائيل” من التحكم بالمنطقة

الآحد 8 أيار 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد يجري زيارةً إلى طهران التقى خلالها نظيره الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي والمرشد الأعلى علي خامنئي.

الرئيس الإيراني ابراهيم رئيسي مع نظيره السوري بشار الأسد، والمرشد الإيراني السيد علي الخامنئي

دعا المرشد الإيراني السيد علي خامنئي، لدى استقباله الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، اليوم الأحد، إلى “ضرورة التعامل مع سوريا على أنها قوة إقليمية في المنطقة”، مشيراً إلى أنّ “دمشق لم تعد اليوم مثل مرحلة ما قبل الحرب”.

وقال السيد خامنئي، بحسب بيانٍ على موقعه الإلكتروني إنّ “سوريا لم تعد اليوم مثل ما قبل الحرب فمكانتها أصبحت أعلى بكثير من السابق وعلى الجميع أن ينظر إليها اليوم كقوة إقليمية”، مضيفاً أنه “بوجود الروح العالية والتصميم لدى الرئيس والحكومة الإيرانية على توسيع التعاون مع سوريا، يجب بذل الجهود لتحسين العلاقات بين البلدين أكثر من ذي قبل”.

وأشار السيد خامنئي إلى أنّ “بعض قادة دول جوار إيران وسوريا، يجلسون ويقفون مع قادة الكيان الصهيوني ويشربون القهوة سوياً مع بعضهم البعض، ولكن أهالي وشعوب هذه الدول في يوم القدس ملأت الشوارع بالحشود والشعارات المعادية للصهيونية والصهاينة، وهذا هو واقع المنطقة اليوم”.

الرئيس السوري مع السيد علي خامنئي

بدوره، قال الرئيس الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي خلال استقباله الأسد اليوم إنّ “ما يحدث اليوم في منطقة غرب آسيا هو ما توقعه قائد الثورة الإسلامية قبل فترة بأنّ مقاومة الشعوب أمام المعتدين والمستكبرين ستثمر”، مضيفاً أنّ “جنابكم كوالدكم، تمثّلون وجهاً من وجوه جبهة المقاومة”.

وأوضح رئيسي أنّ “مجاهدي المقاومة أثبتوا أنهم قوة يمكن الاعتماد عليها لإحلال الأمن والاستقرار في المنطقة ولا سيما في سوريا”، لافتاً إلى أنه “عندما كان بعض الزعماء في العالم العربي وخارجه يراهنون على انهيار النظام السوري، اصطفت إيران إلى جانب سوريا حكومةً وشعباً ووقفت معها”.

وشدد الرئيس الإيراني على ضرورة “تحرير كل الأراضي السورية من دنس المحتلين والعملاء الأجانب ويجب طردهم”، مضيفاً أنه يجب تنويع “معادلات ردع إسرائيل” في المنطقة.

وأشار رئيسي إلى أنّ “ما يحسم مصير المنطقة ليس طاولة المفاوضات وإنما مقاومة الشعوب التي تحدد النظام الإقليمي الجديد”.

الأسد: إيران كانت البلد الوحيد الذي وقف إلى جانبنا منذ بداية العدوان 

من جهته، أكد الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد أنّ “البعض يعتقد أنّ دعم إيران لجبهة المقاومة هو دعم بالسلاح فقط، ولكن أهم دعم ومساعدة للجمهورية الإسلامية هو بث روح المقاومة واستمرارها”، مشيراً إلى أنّ “ما جعل الكيان الصهيوني غير قادر على حكم المنطقة هو العلاقة الاستراتيجية بين إيران وسوريا التي يجب أن تستمرّ بقوة”.

وتابع الأسد أنّ “أنقاض الحرب يمكن إعادة بنائها، لكن إذا دمرت الأسس والمبادئ فلا يمكن إعادة بنائها”، لافتاً إلى أنّ بلاده “مستعدة لتعزيز التعاون والتنسيق مع إيران على الصعد الأمنية والسياسية والاقتصادية”.

وشدد الرئيس السوري على أنّ “دور إيران مهم في مكافحة الإرهاب وإيران كانت البلد الوحيد الذي وقف إلى جانبنا منذ بداية مواجهة العدوان الغربي التكفيري”، مضيفاً أنّ “علاقتنا مع إيران استراتيجية والصمود أثبت أنه مؤثر”.

وأردف الأسد: “نشهد انهياراً للدور الأميركي في المنطقة وقد أثبتنا أننا قادرون على الانتصار أمام أميركا والقوى المهيمنة من خلال التعاون الوثيق بين دول المنطقة”، مشيراً إلى أنّ “نجاح المقاومة الفلسطينية أثبت أنّ تطبيع بعض العرب مع إسرائيل له نتائج عكسية”.

وأكد الرئيس السوري أنّ “ما يمنع الكيان الصهيوني من السيطرة على المنطقة هو العلاقات الاستراتيجية الإيرانية السورية”.

حضور وزيري الخارجية وعدد من المسؤولين ولاسيما العميد اسماعيل قاآني قائد قوة القدس

الرئاسة السورية 

هذا وأكدت الرئاسة السورية أنّ “لقاءات الرئيس الأسد في إيران تناولت العلاقات التاريخية القائمة على مسار طويل من التعاون الثنائي”، مضيفةً أنّ “الرئيس الأسد أكد خلال لقاء السيد خامنئي أنّ مجريات الأحداث أثبتت مجدداً صوابية النهج الذي سار عليه البلدان”.

وتابعت أنّ “الأسد أكد أهمية استمرار التعاون لمنع أميركا من إعادة بناء منظومة الإرهاب التي استخدمتها للإضرار بالمنطقة”، مشيرةً إلى أنّ “الرئيس الأسد أكد خلال لقائه السيد خامنئي أنّ القضية الفلسطينية اليوم تعيد فرض حضورها وأهميتها أكثر فأكثر”.

وأردفت الرئاسة السورية أنّ السيد خامنئي “أكد استمرار إيران في دعمها لسوريا لاستكمال انتصارها على الإرهاب وتحرير باقي أراضيها”، لافتةً إلى أنّ “الرئيس الإيراني أكد للرئيس الأسد أنّ لدى إيران الإرادة الجادّة في توسيع العلاقات بين البلدين”.

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Would Syria Become the Main Gate for All Arabs?

March 26 2022

By Mohammad Sleem

Beirut – Last Friday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited the United Arab Emirates [UAE] and met the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed [MBZ] Al Nhayan and the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

In terms of timing, Assad’s visit to an Arab country is the first since the crisis erupted in Syria11 years ago.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed wished that “this visit would be the beginning of peace and stability for Syria and the entire region.”

Moreover, the two leaders discussed “issues of common concern”, such as Syria’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of the foreign forces from the country.

The Assad-Al Maktoum meeting “dealt with the overall relations between the two countries and the prospects for expanding the circle of bilateral cooperation, especially at the economic, investment and commercial levels.”

MBZ, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince of and deputy commander-in-chief of the Emirati Armed Forces – summed up the Syrian President’s visit as “a good, peaceful and stable start for Syria and the entire region.”

Over the years, the UAE’s words had been put into action; starting with the reopening of its embassy in Damascus in December 2018, in the most significant Arab overture toward the Syrian government. However, relations remained cold.

Last fall, the Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs flew to Damascus for a meeting with Assad, the first visit by the country’s top diplomat since 2011. The United States, a close ally of the UAE, criticized the visit at the time, arguing that the US would not support any thawing in relations with the Assad government.

The visit also implies a remarkable dimension, namely that it coincides with the anniversary of the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in mid-March 2011, in an implicit message at this time that Syria is paving the way to consider solutions to its crisis, and that Assad is quite aware that the visit to the UAE will be a milestone in the road to resolving it.

Syria was expelled before from the 22-member Arab League and boycotted by its neighbors after the conflict broke out 11 years ago.

According to the aforementioned, the visit signals a clear message that some countries in the Arab World are willing to re-engage with Syria as several countries are reviving ties with the Syrian government, including Jordan and Lebanon.

US stance regarding Asaad’s visit

When asked about Assad’s UAE visit, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Washington was “profoundly disappointed and troubled by this apparent attempt to legitimize Bashar al-Assad, who remains responsible and accountable for the death and suffering of countless Syrians, the displacement of more than half of the pre-war Syrian population, and the arbitrary detention and disappearance of over 150,000 Syrian men, women and children.”

Price downplayed the US-led wars over the past 20 years, which resulted in the death of millions of people and the devastation of several countries.

Long ago Syria has been called the heart of Arabism. At present, amid the new political developments taking place between Syria and the UAE, Damascus might become the main gate for all the Arab countries. This step was first of its kind in terms of diplomatic relations between countries of the Axis of Resistance and the so-called neutral countries, who are normalizing ties with the Zionist entity.

Bearing in mind the crisis it has been confronting since 2011, Syria must definitely be granted the Medal of Honor for standing in the forefront of countries refusing to normalize relations with the “Israeli” regime. And the coming days will prove Syria’s real position in the Arab World.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Bouthaina Shaaban: ‘US Working With ISIS to Partition Syria!’

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

We speak to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s political advisor Bouthaina Shaaban. She alleges that the US has been working with ISIS to demographically change Syria and make way for a Syrian Kurdistan, the US’ theft of Syrian oil and natural resources, Israeli bombing of Syria, Syria’s inclusion into China’s Belt and Road Initiative and much more.

Assad, Syria and China’s new Silk Road

Count on Syria becoming an important West Asian hub in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

December 07 2021

By Matthew Ehret

https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Xi-assad.jpg
Photo Credit: The Cradle

Ever since Russia and China began challenging the Anglo-American scorched Earth doctrine in 2011 with their first vetoes against US intervention into Syria, the Gordian knots that have tied up the Arab world in chaos, division and ignorance for decades have finally begun to unravel.

Where just one decade ago the unipolar vision of the ‘new American century’ reigned unchallenged, by 2013 the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) had sprung into life, and the largest purges of China’s deep state on record were launched under Xi Jinping’s watch. This latter crackdown even earned the ire of the American intelligence community, with war hawk John Bolton complaining that Xi’s authoritarianism has made the CIA job of maintaining its spies inside China nearly impossible.

This new operating system, tied closely to Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, has grown in leaps and bounds. Today, a new multipolar future has emerged; one which plans to actually deliver long-term development for all those who choose to play by its rules.

One of these adherents will be Syria, which is re-emerging onto the world’s stage after having miraculously defended itself from a ten-year military onslaught launched by the old unipolar players.

Of course, the pain and destruction of the war is still deeply felt; illegal US sanctions continue to plague the hungry masses, prevent the reconstruction of basic infrastructure and access to potable water, and cripple schools, hospitals, businesses, and livelihoods.

The BRI and Syria’s new future

On 5 November, China’s President Xi Jinping spoke with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, saying “we welcome the Syrian side’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Development Initiative” and calling for reconstruction, development, and the defense of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The discussion came in the wake of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s whirlwind tour across West Asia and North Africa in July 2021, during which he met the Arab League’s chief to discuss Syria return to the fold.

By the end of this tour – which coincided with Assad’s re-election – China had signed a four-point proposal for solving Syria’s multifaceted crisis with a focus on large scale reconstruction, ending illegal sanctions and respecting Syria’s sovereignty.

Syria, in turn, re-affirmed its support for China’s territorial integrity in the face of western-sponsored separatist movements in Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

China’s interest in West Asian development was first made known in 2017 when Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated:

“Too many people in the Middle East are suffering at the brutal hands of terrorists. We support regional countries in forming synergy, consolidating the momentum of anti-terrorism and striving to restore regional stability and order. We support countries in the region in exploring a development path suited to their national conditions and are ready to share governance experience and jointly build the Belt and Road and promote peace and stability through common development.”

In 2018, China offered $28 billion in development aid to Syria while simultaneously coordinating the integration of Iraq into the BRI, made official in September 2019 when then-Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi unveiled the China-Iraq oil for reconstruction program and Iraq’s broader integration into the BRI framework.

Events coordinated by foreign interests did not permit this momentum for long. Mass protests soon toppled Abdul Mahdi’s government and, with it, the oil-for-reconstruction initiative. While recent months have seen a revival of this initiative from Iraq in piecemeal form, progress has been slow.

Instead, the 25 year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement struck between China and Iran in March 2021 has become the main gateway for extending Beijing’s infrastructure and connectivity projects into West Asia.

The construction of the Iran–Iraq Shalamcheh-Basra rail line is now underway, bringing the two neighboring states into an equal cooperative footing and opening prospects for greater rail and energy corridors extending from Iran through Iraq and into Syria, as a southern branch of the BRI.

In April 2019, Syria was invited to attend the first official BRI summit in Beijing, where President Assad stated:

“We have proposed around six projects to the Chinese government in line with the Belt and Road methodology and we are waiting to hear which project, or projects, will be in line with their thinking … I think when this infrastructure is developed, with time, the Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative) passing through Syria becomes a foregone conclusion, because it is not a road you only draw on a map.”

So what, specifically, are those projects?

China and Syria are keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to details for the moment. But it is not impossible to make some educated guesses about Assad’s wish-list by revisiting his earlier strategic vision for Syria.

Specifically, that would be the Five Seas Strategy that Assad had championed from 2004 to 2011, which disappeared from view once Syria was targeted for destruction.

The Five Seas strategy, in brief

The Five Seas strategy involves the construction of rail, roads and energy grids connecting the water systems of the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black Sea, Red Sea and Caspian Sea with Syria. The project serves as a logical node uniting the diverse nations of Mackinder’s world island behind a program of harmonization, integration and win-win industrial cooperation.

In a 2009 interview, President Assad described this project passionately:

“Once the economic space between Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran becomes integrated, we would link the Mediterranean, Caspian, Black Sea, and the [Persian] Gulf . . . we aren’t just important in the Middle East . . . Once we link these four seas, we become the unavoidable intersection of the whole world in investment, transport, and more.”

These weren’t empty words. By 2011, Assad had led delegations and signed agreements with Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to begin the Five Seas projects. This was done at a time when Libya’s President Qaddafi was well underway in building the Great Man-Made River, the largest water project in history alongside a coalition of nations that included Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt.

The true reasons for Qaddafi’s killing, the carving up of Sudan in 2009, and the current efforts at US-sponsored regime change in Ethiopia cannot be comprehended without an understanding of this potent, game-changing strategic paradigm that he and others were spearheading.

The need for secrecy

The secrecy of Chinese-West Asian diplomacy in the emerging post-regime change world now emerging should therefore be understood as an obvious necessity.

For the past decade, every time a West Asian or African nation makes a public announcement of a BRI-compatible program, that same nation has been promptly dragged through different degrees of foreign sabotage. Neither Assad nor the Chinese have any intention to replay that trend at this pivotal moment.

Soon after the heads of Syrian and Turkish intelligence agencies met in Baghdad in early September, Assad reportedly told a Lebanese delegation that “many Arab and non-Arab states are communicating with us, but asking us to keep this a secret.”

The nature of this secret diplomacy soon became clear, when the Arab League made its 23 November announcement of Syria’s re-admission into the fold.

Former sworn enemies of Bashar Assad, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have demonstrated their willingness to accept their humiliation, recognize Assad’s legitimacy and adapt to the new powers China and Russia. Unlike decades of Anglo-American promises which treat Arab participants like disposable temporary interests, the China-Russia alliance contains tangible, measurable benefits, like security and development for all participants.

Multipolarity vs the ‘rules-based international order’

While the US wasted the past decade imposing sanctions and punishments on nations, institutions and individuals unaccepting of its global hegemony, China was patiently recruiting West Asian and African states to the BRI: a whopping 17 Arab nations and 46 African nations are taking part today.

NATO member Turkey has also been on the receiving end of Washington’s punishments, and has begun to view China as a potential means to a more independent future – one that comes with the financial resources to mitigate the country’s current economic woes and currency fluctuations.

Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia had once provided vast support for ISIS and Al Qaeda operations across Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, primarily through the purchase of ISIS-controlled oil and the supply of extremist fighters, clandestine funding and arms transfers. Such support has increasingly dried up, leaving ISIS with very little to work outside of what the CIA provides.

Despite US President Joe Biden re-affirming military support in October for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) occupying north-east Syria, the Kurdish hand has also been overplayed. Many are finally recognizing that the Kurds have been duped into serving as a counter-gang to ISIS, and that promises for a Kurdish state have proved to be as illusory as the dream of Assad’s overthrow.

Erdogan may have tried to walk both worlds for some time, but it has increasingly become clear that Turkey’s only chance for survival rests with Russian military cooperation and China’s BRI (which crosses Turkey in the form of the Middle Corridor), both which demand a defense of Syria’s sovereignty.

As this new reality dawns on West Asia, and as the old unipolar order continues to veer towards a systemic collapse of historic proportions, there is good reason to believe that the region, or an important chunk of it, is already locked in and counting on the development and connectivity boom coming its way.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

China, Russia and India: Foreign Ministers Joint Communique

November 27, 2021

Joint Communique of the 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China

November 26, 2021

1. The 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China was held in the digital video-conference format on 26 November 2021. The meeting took place in the backdrop of negative impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic, on-going economic recovery as well as continuing threats of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, trans-national organized crime, natural and man-made disasters, food security and climate change.

2. The Ministers exchanged views on further strengthening the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral cooperation and also discussed various regional and international issues of importance. The Ministers recalled their last meeting in Moscow in September 2020 as well as the RIC Leaders’ Informal Summit in Osaka (Japan) in June 2019 and noted the need for regular high level meetings to foster closer cooperation among the RIC countries.

3. Expressing their solidarity with those who were negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers underlined the importance of a timely, transparent, effective and non-discriminatory international response to global health challenges including pandemics, with equitable and affordable access to medicines, vaccines and critical health supplies. They reiterated the need for continued cooperation in this fight inter-alia through sharing of vaccine doses, transfer of technology, development of local production capacities, promotion of supply chains for medical products. In this context, they noted the ongoing discussions in the WTO on COVID-19 vaccine Intellectual Property Rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.

4. Emphasizing the need for collective cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers noted the measures being taken by the World Health Organization (WHO), governments, non-profit organisations, academia, business and industry in combating the pandemic. In this context, the Ministers called for strengthening the policy responses of WHO in the fight against Covid-19 and other global health challenges. They also called for making Covid-19 vaccination a global public good.

5. The Ministers agreed that cooperation among the RIC countries will contribute not only to their own growth but also to global peace, security, stability and development. The Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening of an open, transparent, just, inclusive, equitable and representative multi-polar international system based on respect for international law and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and central coordinating role of the United Nations in the international system.

6. The Ministers reiterated that a multi-polar and rebalanced world based on sovereign equality of nations and respect for international law and reflecting contemporary realities requires strengthening and reforming of the multilateral system. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. The Ministers acknowledged that the current interconnected international challenges should be addressed through reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, especially of the UN and its principal organs, and other multilateral institutions such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), with a view to enhancing its capacity to effectively address the diverse challenges of our time and to adapt them to 21st century realities. The Ministers recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed the need for comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. Foreign Ministers of China and Russia reiterated the importance they attached to the status of India in international affairs and supported its aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations.Foreign Ministers of Russia and China congratulated India for its successful Presidency of the UNSC in August 2021.

7. Underlining the significance they attach to the intra-BRICS cooperation, the Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the 13th BRICS Summit held under India’s chairmanship on 9 September 2021. They agreed to work actively to implement the decisions of the successive BRICS Summits, deepen BRICS strategic partnership, strengthen cooperation in its three pillars namely political and security cooperation; economic and finance; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Russia and India extend full support to China for its BRICS Chairship in 2022 and hosting the XIV BRICS Summit.

8. In the year of the 20th Anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) the Ministers underlined that the SCO as an influential and responsible member of the modern system of international relations plays a constructive role in securing peace and sustainable development, advancing regional cooperation and consolidating ties of good-neighbourliness and mutual trust. In this context, they emphasized the importance of further strengthening the Organization’s multifaceted potential with a view to promote multilateral political, security, economic and people-to-people exchanges cooperation. The Ministers intend to pay special attention to ensuring stability in the SCO space, including to step up efforts in jointly countering terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and trans-border organized crime under the framework of SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure. They appreciated the Ministerial meeting in the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan format held on 14th July 2021 in Dushanbe.

9. The Ministers supported the G-20’s leading role in global economic governance and international economic cooperation. They expressed their readiness to enhance communication and cooperation including through G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other means, through consultations and mutual support in areas of respective interest.

10. The Ministers stand for maintaining and strengthening of ASEAN Centrality and the role of ASEAN-led mechanisms in the evolving regional architecture, including through fostering ties between ASEAN and other regional organizations such as the SCO, IORA, BIMSTEC. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the need for closer cooperation and consultations in various regional fora and organizations, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), to jointly contribute to regional peace, security and stability.

11. The Ministers consider it important to utilize the potential of the countries of the region, international organizations and multilateral associations in order to create a space in Eurasia for broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal interaction in accordance with international law and taking into account national interests. In that regard, they noted the idea of establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the SCO countries, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other interested States and multilateral associations.

12. The Ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The Ministers reaffirmed that terrorism must be comprehensively countered to achieve a world free of terrorism. They called on the international community to strengthen UN-led global counter-terrorism cooperation by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In this context, they called for early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The Ministers stressed that those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting, financing terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with existing international commitments on countering terrorism, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the FATF standards, international treaties, including on the basis of the principle “extradite or prosecute” and relevant international and bilateral obligations and in compliance with applicable domestic legislation.

13. The Ministers emphasized the importance of the three international drug control conventions and other relevant legal instruments which form the edifice of the drug control system. They reiterated their firm resolve to address the world drug problem, on a basis of common and shared responsibility. The Ministers expressed their determination to counter the spread of illicit drug trafficking in opiates and methamphetamine from Afghanistan and beyond, which poses a serious threat to regional security and stability and provides funding for terrorist organizations.

14. The Ministers reiterated the need for a holistic approach to development and security of ICTs, including technical progress, business development, safeguarding the security of States and public interests, and respecting the right to privacy of individuals. The Ministers noted that technology should be used responsibly in a human-centric manner. They underscored the leading role of the United Nations in promoting a dialogue to forge common understandings on the security of and in the use of ICTs and development of universally agreed norms, rules and principles for responsible behaviour of States in the area of ICTs and recognized the importance of strengthening its international cooperation. The Ministers recalled that the development of ICT capabilities for military purposes and the malicious use of ICTs by State and non-State actors including terrorists and criminal groups is a disturbing trend. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to principles of preventing conflicts stemming from the use of ICTs, as well as ensuring use of these technologies for peaceful purposes. In this context, they welcomed the work of recently concluded UN-mandated groups namely Open Ended Working Group on the developments in the fields of Information and Telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG) and the Sixth United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) on Advancing responsible State behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security and their consensual final reports. The Ministers supported the OEWG on the security of and in the use of ICTs 2021-2025.

15. The Ministers, while emphasizing the important role of the ICTs for growth and development, acknowledged the potential misuse of ICTs for criminal activities and threats. The Ministers expressed concern over the increasing level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs as well as the absence of a UN-led framework to counter the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. Noting that new challenges and threats in this respect require international cooperation, the Ministers appreciated the launch of the UN Open-Ended Ad-Hoc Intergovernmental Committee of Experts to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes under the auspices of the United Nations, pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 74/247.

16. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broadening and strengthening the participation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) in the international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, they emphasized the importance of constant efforts to reform the international financial architecture. They expressed concern that enhancing the voice and participation of EMDCs in the Bretton Woods institutions remains far from realization.

17. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for a transparent, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. In this context, they reiterated their support for the necessary reform which would preserve the centrality, core values and fundamental principles of the WTO while taking into account the interests of all members, especially developing countries and Least Developing Countries (LDCs). They emphasized the primary importance of ensuring the restoration and preservation of the normal functioning of a two-stage WTO Dispute Settlement system, including the expeditious appointment of all Appellate Body members. The post-pandemic world requires diversified global value chains that are based on resilience and reliability.

18. The Ministers agreed that the imposition of unilateral sanctions beyond those adopted by the UNSC as well as “long-arm jurisdiction” were inconsistent with the principles of international law, have reduced the effectiveness and legitimacy of the UNSC sanction regime, and had a negative impact on third States and international economic and trade relations. They called for a further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency.

19. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions- economic, social and environmental in a balanced and integrated manner – and reiterated that the Sustainable Development Goals are integrated and indivisible and must be achieved ‘leaving no one behind’. The Ministers called upon the international community to foster a more equitable and balanced global development partnership to address the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to accelerate the implementation of 2030 Agenda while giving special attention to the difficulties and needs of the developing countries. The Ministers urged developed countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, including the commitment to achieve the target of 0.7 percent of gross national income for official development assistance (ODA/GNI) to developing countries and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology to developing countries together with additional development resources, in line with national policy objectives of the recipients.

20. The Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to Climate action by implementation of Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of Equity, Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, the criticality of adequate finance and technology flows, judicious use of resources and the need for sustainable lifestyles. They recognized that peaking of Greenhouse Gas Emissions will take longer for developing countries, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. They stressed the importance of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that addresses the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in a balanced way. They welcomed the outcomes of the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-26) and the 15th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15).

21. The Ministers underlined the imperative of dialogue to strengthen international peace and security through political and diplomatic means. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to ensure prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization, through the adoption of a relevant multilateral legally binding instrument. In this regard, they noted the relevance of the draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects. They emphasized that the Conference on Disarmament, as the single multilateral negotiating forum on this subject, has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement, or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects. They expressed concern over the possibility of outer space turning into an arena of military confrontation. They stressed that practical transparency and confidence building measures, such as the No First Placement initiative may also contribute towards the prevention of an arms race in outer space. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for enhancing international cooperation in outer space in accordance with international law, based on the Outer Space Treaty. They recognized, in that regard, the leading role of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). They agreed to stand together for enhancing the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and safety of space operations through deliberations under UNCOPUOS.

22. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) as a key pillar of the global disarmament and security architecture. They highlighted the need for BTWC States Parties to comply with BTWC, and actively consult one another on addressing issues through cooperation in relation to the implementation of the Convention and strengthening it, including by negotiating a legally binding Protocol for the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. The BTWC functions should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. They also reaffirmed support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and called upon the State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to uphold the Convention and the integrity of the CWC and engage in a constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the spirit of consensus in the OPCW.

23. The Ministers showed deep concern about the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) falling into the hands of terrorist groups, including the use of chemicals and biological agents for terrorist purposes. To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, they emphasized the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism at the Conference on Disarmament. They urged all States to take and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.

24. The Ministers noted rising concerns regarding dramatic change of the situation in Afghanistan. They reaffirmed their support for basic principle of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and called for formation of a truly inclusive government that represents all the major ethnic and political groups of the country. The Ministers advocated a peaceful, secure, united, sovereign, stable and prosperous inclusive Afghanistan that exists in harmony with its neighbors. They called on the Taliban to take actions in accordance with the results of all the recently held international and regional formats of interaction on Afghanistan, including the UN Resolutions on Afghanistan. Expressing concern over deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the Ministers called for immediate and unhindered humanitarian assistance to be provided to Afghanistan. The Ministers also emphasized on the central role of UN in Afghanistan.

25. They stressed the necessity of urgent elimination of UNSC proscribed terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL and others for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region. The Ministers acknowledged the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for lasting peace. They reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any other country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.

26. The Ministers reiterated the importance of full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UNSC Resolution 2231 and expressed their support to the relevant efforts to ensure the earliest reinvigoration of the JCPOA which is a landmark achievement for multilateral diplomacy and the nuclear non-proliferation.

27. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar. They expressed support to the efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) aimed at implementation of its Five-Point Consensus in cooperation with Myanmar. They called on all sides to refrain from violence.

28. The Ministers underlined the importance of lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. They expressed their support for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to resolve all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula.

29. The Ministers welcomed the announcement of the Gaza ceasefire beginning 21 May 2021 and stressed the importance of the restoration of general stabilization. They recognized the efforts made by the UN and regional countries to prevent the hostilities from escalating. They mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence, called for the full respect of international humanitarian law and urged the international community’s immediate attention to providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza. They supported in this regard the Secretary General’s call for the international community to work with the United Nations, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on developing an integrated, robust package of support for a swift and sustainable reconstruction and recovery as well as for appropriate use of such aid. The Ministers reiterated their support for a two-State solution guided by the international legal framework previously in place, resulting in creating an independent and viable Palestinian State and based on the vision of a region where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders.

30. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They expressed their conviction that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. They also reaffirmed their support to a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in full compliance with UNSC Resolution 2254. They welcomed in this context the importance of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, launched with the decisive participation of the countries-guarantors of the Astana Process and other states engaged in efforts to address the conflict through political means, and expressed their support to the efforts of Mr. Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria, to ensure the sustainable and effective work of the Committee. They reiterated their conviction that in order to reach general agreement, members of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines. They emphasized the fundamental importance of allowing unhindered humanitarian aid to all Syrians in accordance with the UN humanitarian principles and the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria that would contribute to the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin thus paving the way to achieving long-term stability and security in Syria and the region in general.

31. The Ministers expressed grave concern over the ongoing conflict in Yemen which affects the security and stability not only of Yemen, but also of the entire region, and has caused what is being called by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis currently in the world. They called for a complete cessation of hostilities and the establishment of an inclusive, Yemeni-led negotiation process mediated by the UN. They also stressed the importance of providing urgent humanitarian access and assistance to all Yemenis.

32. The Ministers welcomed the formation of the new transitional Presidency Council and Government of National Unity in Libya as a positive development and hoped that it would promote reconciliation among all political parties and Libyan society, work towards restoration of peace and stability and conduct elections on 24 December 2021 to hand over power to the new government as per the wishes of the Libyan people. They also noted the important role of UN in this regard.

33. The Ministers noted that some of the planned activities under the RIC format could not take place in the physical format due to the global Covid-19 pandemic situation. They welcomed the outcomes of the 18th RIC Trilateral Academic Conference organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi (ICWA) in the video-conference format on 22-23 April 2021. In this context, they also commended the contribution of the Institute of Chinese Studies (New Delhi), Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) and China Institute of International Studies (Beijing) in establishing the RIC Academic Conference as the premier annual analytical forum for deepening RIC cooperation in diverse fields.

34. The Ministers expressed their support to China to host Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

35. Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation thanked the External Affairs Minister of India for successful organization of the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting. External Affairs Minister of India passed on the chairmanship in the RIC format to the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China. The date and venue of the next RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting will be agreed upon through the diplomatic channels.

سورية الأسد بيضة القبان في توازنات المنطقة

ألثلاثاء 9 نوفمبر 2021

 ناصر قنديل

أن يقال إن سورية ككيان سياسي يحمل ثقل أوزان المكانة التاريخية والمكان الجغرافي، بيضة قبان توازنات المنطقة، فتلك حقيقة تؤكدها الأحداث الكبرى التي عرفها العالم على الصعيد الحضاري والثقافي والسياسي والاجتماعي والفني والديني خلال أكثر من ألفي سنة، فهي سورية التي منحت الإسلام دولته الأولى التي انطلق إلى العالم منها، وهي سورية التي منحت المسيحية كنيستها الأولى التي انطلق منها تلامذة السيد المسيح إلى الغرب والشرق، وهي سورية أبجدية أوغاريت، وزنوبيا ملكة تدمر، ووجهة الغزوات من المغول إلى الفرنجة، وسورية الشريك الحتمي بتحرير القدس من معركة حطين، والشريك بذات المقدار في حرب تشرين قبل نصف قرن، وهي سورية التي شكلت وجهة الحرب الكونية الهادفة لتغيير العالم من خلال تغييرها، بقطع طريق المتوسط على عمالقة آسيا، روسيا والصين وإيران، وهي سورية التي تخرج منتصرة من هذه الحرب لتعلن تغيير العالم بصورة معكوسة، كما انتجت شرق أوسط جديداً من رحم إسقاط مشروع إنشاء مشروع شرق أوسط جديد آخر.

الحديث اليوم هو عن سورية الخارجة من الحرب بخط سياسي حوربت ليفرض عليها تغييره، هو الخط الذي مثله الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، وهو خط يقوم على التمسك باستقلال سورية ووحدتها وتمسكها باستعادة جولانها المحتل حتى خط الرابع من حزيران، ودعمها لقوى المقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين والعراق، ورفضها لكل الصيغ الطائفية والعرقية التي تصيب وحدة المجتمع والدولة، وهي سورية التي انتصرت، ومن قبيل التوصيف السياسي الدقيق، هي سورية الأسد، التي كان مطلوباً تفكيكها وإسقاطها لصالح سورية أخرى، سواء سورية التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال كما صرح عدد من قادة جماعات الحرب، أو سورية المقسمة إلى كيانات طائفية ومذهبية وعرقية، كما جاهر دعاة إعلان الإمارات الطائفية والإدارات الذاتية العرقية، أو سورية المتقاسمة تحت أشكال من الانتداب الأجنبي أو الرعاية الأجنبية كما تضمنت العروض الأميركية والتركية على كل من روسيا وإيران، وما نحن بصدده اليوم، هو أن سورية الأسد تنتصر وتنتقل بنصرها إلى إثبات أنها تستعيد لسورية التاريخ والجغرافيا مكانتها كبيضة قبان توازنات المنطقة، بعدما قيل الكثير عن أن بمستطاع سورية الأسد أن تنتصر لكنها لن تستعيد لسورية مكانتها، لأن استعادة هذه المكانة مشروط باعتراف الآخرين بها وبنصرها من دون أن تغير سياستها، بصفتها سورية الأسد، بثوابتها ومواقفها المعروفة.

ابن زايد يفتح طريق العرب: موسم العودة إلى سوريا

أهمية زيارة وزير خارجية الإمارات لدمشق وما تضمنته من إعلان نوايا واضح لترتيب العلاقات، أنها تفتح الطريق لمسار يشمل حلفاء الإمارات العرب وفي الغرب، وهم الحلفاء الذين قادوا وخاضوا الحرب على سورية بكل وحشيتها وعنفها والخراب الذي تسببت به، ويتم ذلك تحت عنوان التسليم بأنها سورية الأسد، أي سورية بثوابتها ومواقفها التي خيضت الحرب عليها لتغييرها، وتسليم دولة الإمارات التي كانت في طليعة حلفاء واشنطن ولا تزال، وطليعة خط التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال، هو أعلى مراتب التسليم، لأن سورية التي ترحب بكل اعتراف دولي وإقليمي بنصرها بما في ذلك الاعتراف الأميركي عندما تنضج واشنطن لفعل شبيه بما فعلته الإمارات، أي العودة العلنية من باب الدبلوماسية الذي تشترطه سورية لكل علاقة، هي سورية التي تعرف أن العودة والتسليم لا يعنيان تفاهماً على السياسات، فالدول التي تتبادل السفراء والاعتراف والزيارات والاتفاقات، لا تتطابق في السياسات، لكنها تنطلق من الاعتراف بحتمية التساكن مع الخلافات وتنظيم إدارتها من دون أوهام القدرة على فرض التغيير بالقوة أو بالقطيعة أو الضغوط، وسورية لا تطلب من الآخرين أكثر من ذلك، وسورية لا تخفي أن في طليعة ما لن يتغير فيها موقفها من التطبيع ومن موقع الجولان في ثوابتها، ومكانة فلسطين كبوصلة لسياساتها.

مزيد من الخطوات المقبلة ستشهدها علاقات العرب والغرب بسورية، وربما بينها زيارات رئاسية سورية إلى الخارج أو زيارات رئاسية خارجية إلى سورية، وصولاً للقمة العربية في الجزائر التي يفترض أن تشهد أول حضور سوري رسمي في الجامعة العربية، التي شكلت أداة من أدوات الحرب على سورية، ومع كل خطوة سيتأكد سوء طالع الذين راهنوا على إسقاط سورية، وخصوصاً الذين تطرفوا في العداء تبييضاً لوجوههم عند الذين خاضوا الحرب عليها، وهم يجدون من خاضوا الحرب يتراجعون ويرجعون إليها، ولم يبق للمبيضين إلا سواد الوجوه.

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Russia’s naval base in Tartous, Syria

Biden Forces Secretly Withdrawing from the Oil Fields Northeast of Syria

ARABI SOURI 

US Biden forces troops in Syria

Biden forces illegally deployed in Syria stealing Syrian oil, wheat, barley, cotton, and the food and future of Syrian children have evacuated 3 of its positions in the northeast of the country, Al Alam TV reported on the 2nd of September.

The report based on ‘private military sources’ identified the three oil fields left by the Biden forces as Al Omar oil field, the largest in Syria and is located in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside, in addition to Tal Baidar, and Qasrak in Qamishli, Al-Hasakah province northeast of Syria.

Biden forces continuing the legacy of Trump’s “keeping Syria’s oil because he likes oil” and we “don’t want to fight ISIS, let others fight terror”, maintains up to 13 illegal military bases in Syria breaching international law, the UN Charter, and exposing the lies about humanitarian intervention claims the US regimes ever claimed.

The video is available on BitChute

Transcript of the Al Alam TV video report:

A secret withdrawal, apparently, by the American forces present in Syria, where private military sources told Al-Alam TV that the American forces evacuated their positions from three military sites, adding that the evacuated sites are two of them in Al-Hasakah Governorate and the third in the areas of Deir Ezzor countryside.

The areas that were evacuated include the Al-Omar field area near the oil wells in Deir Ezzor and the areas of Tal Baidar and Qasrak in Qamishli, Al-Hasakah Governorate.

The US military bases are distributed in eastern Syria in the region extending from the east of the Euphrates River from southeast Syria near the Al-Tanf border crossing to the northeast near the Rmelan oil fields, and they are distributed in Al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.

The sources revealed that the number of American sites in Syria exceeds 13, but the Rumailan base, which is the first in Syria, Al-Malikiyah base, Tal Baidar base and Life Stone base are the most important of these American bases and sites.

The US presence in Syria faced rejectionist reactions, including by military attacks against this presence, and the Syrian government repeatedly demanded the US occupation forces to leave, the Syrian tribes in these areas also called on the occupation forces to leave and said that their presence is illegal.

Conoco Gas Field - Deir Ezzor, northern Syria

Transcript of the Al Alam TV video report:

A secret withdrawal, apparently, by the American forces present in Syria, where private military sources told Al-Alam TV that the American forces evacuated their positions from three military sites, adding that the evacuated sites are two of them in Al-Hasakah Governorate and the third in the areas of Deir Ezzor countryside.

The areas that were evacuated include the Al-Omar field area near the oil wells in Deir Ezzor and the areas of Tal Baidar and Qasrak in Qamishli, Al-Hasakah Governorate.

The US military bases are distributed in eastern Syria in the region extending from the east of the Euphrates River from southeast Syria near the Al-Tanf border crossing to the northeast near the Rmelan oil fields, and they are distributed in Al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.

The sources revealed that the number of American sites in Syria exceeds 13, but the Rumailan base, which is the first in Syria, Al-Malikiyah base, Tal Baidar base and Life Stone base are the most important of these American bases and sites.

The US presence in Syria faced rejectionist reactions, including by military attacks against this presence, and the Syrian government repeatedly demanded the US occupation forces to leave, the Syrian tribes in these areas also called on the occupation forces to leave and said that their presence is illegal.

Biden Forces Occupying Syrian Conoco Gas Field Bombed with Rockets

https://syrianews.cc/biden-forces-occupying-syrian-conoco-gas-field-bombed-with-rockets/embed/#?secret=SFGVOb8wVE

This American step comes in light of American fear of attacks on its bases and forces in the region, especially in light of the pressures that the American administration was subjected to in Afghanistan and the military defeat it received there.

Most sources say that the US administration is preparing for a total exit from the region due to its failure to manage the Afghan file and its exit from Kabul, which has sparked disputes within the United States itself.

End of the transcript.

Biden under Obama, later Trump, and now Biden again have deployed thousands of troops in Syria to fight for ISIS, not against it, to steal Syrian resources, and to divide the country into smaller isolated cantons based on ethnic lines which it can control through divide and conquer strategy, the goal was also to strangle both Iran and Russia economically allowing a Qatari gas pipeline to go through Syria to the Mediterranean and then Europe bypassing both countries, and the final goal was to secure Israel’s expansionist into more land to achieve the ‘Greater Israel Project’ dubbed the ‘Greater Middle East Project’ in which the Turkish madman Erdogan plays a leading role in as he stated he was tasked to play by George W. Bush in an interview on a Turkish TV.

Despite series of failures in achieving any of its goals and instead, losing more strategically while killing, maiming, and displacing millions of innocent people both in Syria and in Iraq, the Biden Obama, Trump, Biden again regimes needed a lesson like the defeat in Afghanistan to wake up.

Will the Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists wake up before it’s too late when they find themselves alone facing the Syrian people after their employers abandon them?

Hoping the above report is true, more pressure should be mounted on the oil thieves to force them to leave Syria and west Asia completely, US soldiers killed abroad are not heroes defending their country and families, they are war criminals, mercenary forces, oil thieves, who get killed while making few of the haves in the USA have more.

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Lavrov: West Openly Used Terrorists to Overthrow Syria’s President

AUGUST 30, 2021

Lavrov: West Openly Used Terrorists to Overthrow Syria’s President

By Staff, Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said while the West had openly used terrorists to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow helped the war-torn country preserve its statehood.

When real terrorists from Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] and its affiliates “were on the threshold of the Syrian capital city, when terrorists were about to seize power in Syria, the West was watching it quite calmly,” Lavrov said on Monday.

The Russian diplomat said his country has created conditions for a political process in Syria, but it is not its fault that the process is slackening.

“We have created conditions for a political settlement process [in Syria], which is currently slackening not through our fault. Nevertheless, it is underway,” he stated.  

Since January 2017, Russian, Iran and Turkey have been mediating peace negotiations between representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups in a series of talks held in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan, formerly called Astana, and other places, including Sochi.

The talks are collectively referred to as the Astana peace process.

The 16th round of the Astana process was held early last month, with the three guarantor states renewing their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defense minister said on Monday that all of Russia’s latest weapon systems have been tested in counter-terror operations in Syria.

“In Syria, where we have tested over 320 [types of weapons], in fact, we have tested all the weapons, except for easy-to-understand versions,” Sergei Shoigu said in an interview for the Solovyov-Live YouTube Channel, TASS reported.

The deliveries of the latest weaponry to Russian troops have increased substantially lately, Shoigu noted.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since 2011.

In recent years, the US has been maintaining an illegal military presence on Syrian soil, collaborating with militants against Syria’s legitimate government, stealing the country’s crude oil resources, and bombing the positions of the Syrian army and anti-terror popular forces.

The United States has also slapped sanctions on Syria, which have targeted the country’s oil and banking sectors, and in turn, created deep misery for millions of innocent people.

US bombing of Iraq and Syria is illegal aggression – Occupiers have no right to ‘self-defense’

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Independent journalist focused on geopolitics and US foreign policy.

 July 28, 2021

Source

Ben Norton

Militarily occupying Iraq and Syria is a thoroughly bipartisan policy in the United States. And bombing West Asia has become a favorite pastime that unites both Democrat and Republican presidents.

The United States believes it has the right to bomb, militarily occupy, and economically strangulate any country, anywhere, without consequence. But the world’s peoples are standing up more and more to the global dictatorship of US hegemony.

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On June 27, Washington launched airstrikes against forces in both Iraq and Syria, two sovereign countries illegally occupied by the US military, which have repeatedly called for American troops to leave.

The US attack proved to be a gift to the genocidal extremists in ISIS: it helped provide cover as remnants of the so-called “Islamic State” launched a terror attack on a power grid in northern Iraq. Similarly, the US bombing killed several members of Iraqi government-backed units who had been protecting their nation from ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

It is far from the first time Washington has clearly been on the same side as far-right Takfiri fanatics. For example, current US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan admitted in an email to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012 that “AQ is on our side in Syria.” And the US government supported al-Qaeda extremists in its wars on Yemen and Libya.

In addition to aiding notorious terrorist groups, these US strikes on Iraq and Syria were glaringly illegal under international law. Moreover, they constitute a clear act of aggression against the peoples of West Asia, who for decades have struggled for self-determination and control over their own, plentiful natural resources – resources that the US government and its all-powerful corporations seek to control and exploit.

The Pentagon tried to justify its attack claiming it was an act of “self-defense.” Absurdly, the US Department of Defense – the world champion in violating international law – even cited international law to try to legitimize the airstrikes.

In reality, the US military’s presence in Iraq and Syria is illegal. And under international law, a military power that is illegally occupying a territory does not have the right to self-defense. That is true just as much for apartheid “Israel” in its settler-colonial aggression against Palestine as it is for the United States in its imperial wars on the peoples of Iraq and Syria.

Iraq’s prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, made that clear. He condemned the US strikes as a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.”

In January 2020, in response to Washington’s assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis – a criminal act of war against both Iraq and Iran – the democratically elected parliament in Baghdad voted 170 to 0 to expel the thousands of US troops occupying Iraq.

Washington simply ignored the vote, silencing the voices of the Iraqi people – while threatening more economic sanctions on their government. In addition, the Pentagon stressed that the vote was nonbinding. Still, even the US government-backed RAND Corporation acknowledged that there “is no treaty or status of forces agreement (SOFA) authorizing the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.”

Likewise, the United States is illegally occupying one-third of Syrian sovereign territory. The internationally recognized government in Damascus has repeatedly called on the US military occupiers to leave, but they have refused, in a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty.

“The presence of Americans in Syria is a sign of occupation, and we believe that all nations and governments must stand up to their unlawful presence in the region,” Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis declared in 2020, after the US assassinations of the top Iraqi and Iranian military leaders.

While former Republican President Donald Trump radiated a kind of neocolonial arrogance, boasting that US troops would illegally remain in Syria because “we want to keep the oil,” the Democratic Joe Biden administration has not acted much differently.

President Biden appointed hardline neoconservative operative Dana Stroul as the top Pentagon official for Middle East policy. In 2019, Stroul bragged that Washington “owned” one-third of Syrian territory, including its “economic powerhouse,” which includes the vast majority of its oil and wheat reserves.

Stroul’s promotion was an unambiguous sign that the Democrats are endorsing the same sadistic Trumpian strategy, to militarily occupy Syria, steal its natural resources, starve its government of revenue, deny its people bread and gasoline, and prevent reconstruction of what Stroul snidely referred to as the widespread “rubble.”

The reality is that militarily occupying Iraq and Syria is a thoroughly bipartisan policy in the United States. And bombing West Asia has become a favorite pastime that unites both Democrat and Republican presidents.

Trump launched airstrikes against Syria in April 2018 on totally unsubstantiated accusations that Damascus had carried out “gas attacks,” claims that have since been proven false by multiple whistleblowers from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Then in December 2019, the Trump administration bombed anti-ISIS militias in both Syria and Iraq.

Biden carried out a similar, illegal attack on these same fighters in eastern Syria in February 2021. Another example of Washington serving as the de facto air force for the remnants of the so-called “Islamic State.”

The December 2019, February 2021, and June 2021 US airstrikes targeted the Iraqi government-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs), known in Arabic as the al-Hashd al-Sha’abi. In its official statement on the June bombing, the Pentagon stated unequivocally that it was attacking Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, two prominent Iraqi armed groups in the Hashd.

The Department of Defense misleadingly referred to these units as “Iran-backed militia groups.” The US government and the corporate media outlets that act as its obedient mouthpiece always describe the Hashd as “Iran-backed” to try to downplay their role as indigenous protectors of Iraqi sovereignty and deceptively portray them as foreign proxies of Washington’s favorite bogeyman.

In reality, the PMFs are Iraqi units supported by the elected, internationally recognized government in Baghdad. The Hashd played a leading role in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other extremist Takfiri groups in both Iraq and Syria – while the United States, apartheid “Israel”, and NATO allies spent billions of dollars backing Salafi-jihadist death squads in their genocidal war on the people of Syria.

The Hashd do indeed receive assistance from Tehran, and they have every right to do so. After all, Iran is Iraq’s neighbor, whereas the United States is on the other side of the planet. But Washington, NATO, and their de facto stenographers in the corporate press corps seek to discredit all resistance to criminal US aggression in West Asia by erasing its organic, indigenous roots and lazily depicting it as a vast conspiracy controlled by an omnipresent Iranian controller.

The PMFs made it clear that they will not tolerate Washington’s assault on their nation’s sovereignty. “We reserve the legal right to respond to these attacks and hold the perpetrators accountable on Iraqi soil,” the Hashd declared.

Unlike the US military occupiers, the people of Iraq and Syria do have a right to exercise self-defense in response to strikes by foreign aggressors. They can legally resist American military occupation and neocolonialism, just as the people of Palestine have the right to resist Israeli military occupation and Zionist settler-colonialism. It is a right enshrined in international law – and an inalienable right that any nation would defend.

If Washington wants to stop attacks on its troops, there is an easy way to do that: withdraw them from the region where they are not wanted. American soldiers will be much safer at home.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

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Syrians filled the polling stations to defend their sovereignty and now fill the streets to celebrate the result

28 May, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

The Western leadership and establishment media have once again derided the Syrian presidential vote, but the people don’t care. They’re too busy celebrating the outcome of the election and the defeat of terrorism in their country.

The irony of media outlets and pundits from America tweeting about what they view as the failure to hold free and fair elections in Syria was not lost on some.

wrote yesterday of the jubilation I saw in eastern Ghouta, where Syrians were celebrating the arrival of election day and proudly voting. I also noted that people “in eastern Ghouta were put through a hell that most of us, living safely far from war, cannot begin to fathom.” Back in 2018, I had seen their tortured faces shortly after their liberation. That made seeing them this week smiling incredibly moving.

Just ahead of the vote, I predicted there would be Western cynicism if President Assad won again, which would mean the West had failed in its regime-change project. I was right.

Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian, of Syriana Analysis, tweeted a thread about the mass celebrations around Syria, including in Homs, once dubbed the “capital of the revolution” by the delusional crowd, and Aleppo, the city the Western media said “fell” when it was liberated of the terrorists who reportedly murdered up to 11,000 civilians via their bombings and snipings.

He also noted that the media’s claims of Sunni Muslims hating Assad had no basis in reality (never mind the fact that the First Lady is Sunni, as are many in top leadership positions), tweeting photos of masses of Sunnis voting.

The Guardian, guilty of some of the filthiest war propaganda against Syrians, and usually reporting from Istanbul, deemed the 2021 elections “fake” and a “sham”. But the Guardian has never liked to give voice to the vast majority of Syrians in Syria, preferring instead to quote al-Qaeda-linked “media activists” and “unnamed sources”. So, it’s hardly surprising it would denigrate the event that Syrians are currently celebrating around the country.

Likewise, the BBC, another contender for the most outstanding war propaganda on Syria, unsurprisingly cited the “opposition” as calling the elections a “farce”.

The Western media likewise bleated “farce” when Syria provided 17 witnesses to testify at the Hague against the claims that Syria had used a chemical agent in Douma – a narrative that has been thoroughly debunked. And they’re still lying after all these years.

This outstanding report from Syria by Eva Bartlett penetrates the ‘iron dome’ of Western propaganda, also known as news.
It is about a chemical attack that never happened in a country attacked, subverted and blockaded in your name.https://t.co/AX1Zwbg0g0— John Pilger (@johnpilger) May 27, 2021

Speaking to Syrian media yesterday in Douma, Assad said of the West’s derision of the elections: “The best response to colonialist countries with histories of genocide and occupations was the mass turnout of the people for the vote.”

And, regarding what the West thinks of the legitimacy of those elections, he concluded: “Your opinions are worth zero, and you are worth 10 zeros.”

Amen to that.

On Wednesday, the government extended the time in which people could vote by an additional five hours, as they did back in 2014, due to the high turnout. It even had to provide more voting boxes. In fact, in 2014, in Lebanon, which hosts the largest per capita population of Syrian refugees in the world, voting was extended not merely by five hours, but by an entire day.

As I wrote recently, Western nations have closed Syrian embassies globally to prevent those eligible from voting. But interestingly, as I learned from political analyst Laith Marouf in our discussion this week, “Syrians in the US went to the embassy at the UN and voted. That was a direct challenge to American hegemony, since the Americans closed the Syrian embassy in DC. But there is still a Syrian embassy at the UN, and that they can’t touch, the Americans. So many people showed up at the UN headquarters, waving flags, and so on.”

According to Marouf, in Beirut, tens of thousands Syrians went to the Syrian embassy last week, but “members of the Lebanese Forces party cut the roads towards the embassy and attacked cars and buses carrying Syrian citizens,” allegedly killing one in front of his children and on national live television.

“The other two countries that host the majority of Syrian refugees or immigrant populations, Germany and Turkey, again blocked the Syrian votes from happening,” he said. 

Marouf spoke of the candidates, noting there were three: a leader of the opposition, a former minister, and President Assad.

“They have been vetted through security, making sure that they stand for the sovereignty of Syria, given that Syria has been living under a global war of terrorism, led by the US.”

On the ground on election day

I wrote on election day of the vibrance and peace I witnessed in Douma, and tweeted about the celebrations, about the Syrians singing and dancing.

One woman in Irbeen, a village in eastern Ghouta, told me“Today is historic. He is writing victory, a renewed victory for Syria, the general and protector of Syria, Bashar al Assad. The people you see coming, do so by their free will.”

A side note: from the cross necklace she wore, I knew the woman was a Christian. The “rebel” terrorists the West supports and whose sadistic death cult they would have installed to govern Syria would have persecuted, even killed, women like her.

And that’s the crux of it: Syrians aren’t just celebrating the leader they overwhelmingly love and respect, they’re celebrating the defeat of this terrorism in their country and of the imperialists’ regime-change project in Syria.

A Syrian-American friend, Johnny Achi, flew to Syria expressly to vote in the elections. He told me“I’m a Syrian citizen and have lived in the United States for about 30 years. I’m here in Damascus to exercise my rights and duties as a Syrian citizen, since the US chose to close our embassies. As long as the embassies are closed, we’re going to keep making the trip here, to exercise our duty and our democratic right.”

“I chose Douma, in eastern Ghouta, under the ‘rebels’ until 2018, to show that there is a big turnout here, that people are happy to be back in a government-controlled area. Everyone I talked to is so jubilant that they got rid of all of Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman, and all those brigades that were making their lives miserable,” he said. 

In Achi’s view, the US would not have accepted any of the candidates, no matter who won.

“They decided that this election was illegal. Their excuse this time is how can you have a democratic election when you have land under occupation? But the land is occupied by Turkey and the US. If they would leave us alone, we would have freed those three provinces and would have all 14 provinces under Syrian control,” he said. “But this vote will help us liberate those provinces still under occupation.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/7DqvJwn3oLQ?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

The pundits will opine, the media will screech, but aside from addressing that, I don’t care, and Syrians don’t care because they’re too busy celebrating.

On Thursday, while the votes were still being counted, I passed through Umayyad Square, a massive roundabout in central Damascus, where a party was beginning. Later in the evening, I returned, staying until after the votes had been counted and Assad had been declared the winner. Electric doesn’t even begin to describe the mood of triumphant Syrians celebrating their victory.

I’ve been coming to Syria since 2014, making 15 visits in all, gathering many heartbreaking testimonies, being caught up in many dangerous encounters with mortars and terrorist sniper fire. I, too, celebrate the return of peace to Syria. But, moreover, I celebrate the Syrians’ shunning of Western diktats and for continuing to live their lives as they choose.

As I stood filming cheering Syrians, the results were announced. The crowd went wild and the party continued. Of course, Western media outlets won’t accept Assad’s 95.1% result, but those Syrians simply do not care. They know the West has lost the plot.

Stayed till after midnight, amazing energy. pic.twitter.com/RlCaWlXxf1— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) May 27, 2021

RELATED LINKS:

Douma: Three Years On: How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

SYRIA: My Published Articles From and on Syria (2014-2021)

ليس مجرد انتخاب رئاسيّ… هذا تحوّل تاريخيّ Not just a presidential election…this is a historic shift

26/05/2021

Photo of ملايين السوريين من حلب إلى دمشق والساحل يفوّضون الأسد قيادة الإعمار بعد التحرير/ الأسد من الغوطة: الاستحقاق تتويج للتحرير… وشعبان: تطوّرات إيجابيّة قريبة مع الرياض / نصرالله يرسم معادلة الردع التاريخيّة: المساس بالقدس يعادل حرباً إقليميّة تُنهي الكيان/

ليس مجرد انتخاب رئاسيّ… هذا تحوّل تاريخيّ

ناصر قنديل

يتعامل بعض المتابعين السياسيين والدبلوماسيين والإعلاميين في الغرب وبعض البلاد العربية مع الانتخابات الرئاسيّة السوريّة بصفتها عمليّة انتخابية، تتم عملية تقييمها بهذه الصفة الحصرية، فيتجاهلون أن هذه الانتخابات هي ثمرة لمسار عبرته سورية خلال السنوات الفاصلة عن الاستحقاق الرئاسي الأخير قبل سبعة أعوام، سواء على مستوى إسقاط داعش واستعادة أغلبية الأراضي السورية من أيدي الجماعات الإرهابية، أو لجهة المراجعة التي أجراها الكثير من السوريين لمصير بلدهم الذي سلّموه لدول أجنبية وحركات إرهابية وهم يعتقدون أنهم يخدمون مساراً إصلاحياً ضمن موجة الربيع العربي، ليحسموا خيارهم بأولوية الحفاظ على وحدة الوطن وهياكل الدولة ومؤسساتها، والسعي من قلب هذه المعادلة لخوض النضال السلمي لإصلاح وتطوير ما يحتاج للإصلاح والتطوير، وهو كثير، وقد اكشتف أغلب السوريين الذين خاضوا غمار الرهان على المعارضة أن ثوابت سورية الوطنية ورمزية الرئيس بشار الأسد والجيش السوري تشكل جزءاً عضوياً من مسار الوحدة والسيادة والدولة.

كان الاستحقاق الرئاسي عام 2014 بداية هذا التحوّل، وقد كانت المحطة الانتخابية التي شهدتها السفارة السورية في لبنان تعبيراً انفجارياً عن هذا التحوّل أذهل العالم كله، وخلال هذه السنوات السبع كبرت كرة الثلج وتوسّعت وتعاظمت، حتى صارت الانتخابات الرئاسية الحالية أكبر من انتخابات، ترجمة لإرادة الشعب السوري بالدفاع عن حقه بوطن ودولة، واختياره لقائد مسيرة الحفاظ على الوطن وبناء الدولة، على قاعدة حقيقة أن بلادنا لا تزال في مرحلة تحرر ومواجهة مع مشاريع استهداف، تحتاج الى قادة تاريخيين كبار، أكثر مما تحتاج للعبة تداول السلطة التي يمارسها الغرب بترف تغيير الوجوه، لحساب تأبيد سلطة الدولة العميقة التي تدير وترسم السياسات وتلعب عبر الميديا والمال واللوبيات لعبة ترف تداول السلطة.

العملية الانتخابية في سورية تعبير عن هذا التعاظم في الاستيقاظ السوري على نعمة العودة الى وطن ودولة وتفويض قائد ينتخبه السوريون لما فعله وليس لما وعد بفعله، كما يفترض أن تتم الانتخابات، وهذا الاستيقاظ السوريّ يرافقه استيقاظ دوليّ وعربيّ ليس ناتجاً عن محبة سورية، ولا عن الرغبة بتعافيها بقدر ما هو ناتج عن التسليم بأن كلفة بقاء سورية نهباً للفوضى وخطر الإرهاب صارت على الجميع أكبر من عائدات الرهان على السيطرة عليها وتقاسمها، وأن الرئيس بشار الأسد قد انتصر بسورية ولسورية وبجيشها ومعه، وأن ما سيفعل لإنكار هذا النصر سيكلف مزيداً من الوقت والجهود والأموال بلا أمل بتغيير الواقع، بينما يتيح الرئيس الأسد بعقلانيته وحكمته الفرصة ليتراجع الجميع نحو منطقة وسطية لا تهدر ماء وجه الذين تورّطوا، وتفتح لهم الباب الخلفيّ للتراجع والتموضع بهدوء.

هذه ليست مجرد انتخابات، إنها عودة سورية القوية والمقتدرة الى لعب دورها بصفتها دولة السوريين التي ترعاهم وتحميهم وتوفر لهم أمناً افتقدوه كثيراً، ورعاية حرموا منها طويلاً، لكنها أيضاً سورية دولة العرب المقاومة لمشاريع الهيمنة والتفتيت والتطبيع، الملتزمة بفلسطين ومقاومتها وحقوقها، وسورية دولة المشرق التي تتوسّط كياناته التي تختنق داخل حدودها وتحتاج لتكامل مقدراتها لتنهض باقتصاداتها، وتوفر لشعوبها ظروفاً أفضل للتنمية والأمن، وهي سورية الدولة الإقليمية المحورية التي تشكل بيضة القبان في حفظ الاستقرار في منطقة تتعرّض للاهتزاز، وكانت حتى الأمس مهدّدة بمخاطر الفوضى والإرهاب.

هذا أكثر من انتخاب رئاسيّ بكثير، فهو التحوّل التاريخيّ الذي يعبر عن انتقال الشرق من مرحلة الى مرحلة، مرحلة عنوانها الضياع والتفكك والحروب الأهلية والفتن الطائفية والمذهبية، الى مرحلة نهوض الدولة الوطنية وتكامل نماذجها في الإقليم الأشد خطراً في الانزلاق الى الفوضى، وهو الإقليم الذي تتوسطه سورية ويضم لبنان والعراق والأردن، وبعد الذي جرى في فلسطين، فإن صعود سورية مجدداً يتزامن مع تراجع مكانة ومهابة وسطوة كيان الاحتلال، بما يردّ الاعتبار لفرص الاستقرار بنظام إقليمي تكون سورية ركيزته، ولا يكون كيان الاحتلال جزءاً منه، بعدما كان أحد أهداف الحرب على سورية تمهيد الطريق لنظام إقليميّ يتزعمه كيان الاحتلال.


Translated by Sister Zara Al

Not just a presidential election…this is a historic shift

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Nasser Kandil

Some political, diplomatic and media followers in the West and some Arab countries perceive the Syrian presidential election as part of the electoral process, assessing it exclusively in this capacity, while ignoring that this election is set in the context of Syria taking a defined path in the years since the last presidential election seven years ago. Both in terms of overthrowing ISIS and restoring the majority of Syrian territory from the hands of terrorist groups. And also in terms of the review of the circumstance caused by many Syrians who risked the fate of their country by handing it over to foreign powers and movements. Terrorists believe that they are walking the path of reform as part of the rise of the Arab Spring to exercise their right of choice to preserve the unity of the nation and the structure of the state and its institutions by seeking to equate their fight with the peaceful struggle intended to reform and develop what needs reform and development. While most Syrians who have fought the opposition have complained that the national constants of Syria and the symbolism encompassed by President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian army forms the organic core of the struggle for unity of nation and the sovereignty of state.

The presidential entitlement in 2014 was the beginning of this transformation, and the electoral station witnessed by the Syrian Embassy in Lebanon was an explosive expression of this transformation that stunned the whole world. And, during these seven years the snowball grew and expanded, until the current presidential election emerged as an event bigger than just an election, as a manifestation of the will of the Syrian people to defend their right to a homeland, state, and leader. Based on the fact that our country is still in the phase of attaining liberation and confronting the forces targeting it, Syria needs great historical leaders who have the power and the will to annihilate the authority of the USA deep state which manages and formulates policies and plays through media, with money and lobbying in order to win the game of power trade. What Syria does not need is this game of power trading practiced by the West which involves comfortable changing of faces.

The electoral process in Syria is an expression of the rising sense of awakening among Syrians who realize the blessing of returning to a homeland and a state, and the opportunity to support the mandate of a leader elected by them for what he did and not for what he promised to do. As the elections are due to take place, this Syrian awakening accompanied by an international and Arab awakening is not the result of love for Syria, nor the desire to recover, as much as it is the result of the recognition of the fact that the cost Syria must pay for its survival is chaos caused by the threat of terrorism which is greater for everyone than the proceeds of betting on controlling and sharing it. And that President Bashar al-Assad has won in Syria, and Syrians and the army are with him, and that what he will do if denied this victory will cost more time, effort and money without the hope to change the reality. While President Assad’s rationality and wisdom gives the opportunity to everyone involved to retreat towards a middle ground for face saving, and position themselves quietly into a retreat via the opening of the back door.

This is not just an election. It is the return of a strong and capable Syria able to play its role as the State takes care of its people, protects them, provides them with security that they have missed so much, and the care that they have long been deprived of. This election is also about Syria, the Arab state, that resists hegemonic undertakings and endeavors geared towards fragmentation, a state committed to normalization, committed to Palestine and its resistance and rights. Syria is the State of the Orient, which is able to mediate with entities suffocating within its borders, so as to integrate its capabilities to boost its economy, and provide its people with better conditions for development and security. It is the central regional state that constitutes the egg of the domes as far as maintaining stability in a shaken region, albeit until yesterday it was threatened by the dangers of chaos caused by terrorism.

This is much more than a presidential election, it is the historic event that reflects the transition of the East from one stage to another. From the stage of loss and disintegration, civil wars and sectarian strife to the stage of the rise of the national state and the integration of its models, in a region that is susceptible to the most dangerous slide into chaos, a region mediated by Syria which includes Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. After what happened in Palestine, the rise of Syria again coincides with the decline in the status, prestige and power of the occupation entity, as it takes into account the opportunities for stability in a regional system with Syria as its pillar, and the occupation entity having no part of it. After all one of the objectives of the war on Syria was to pave the way for a regional regime led by the occupation entity.

51 Candidates Running for Syria’s Presidential Election, 7 Are Women

 ARABI SOURI 

51 candidates for Syria Presidential elections - Parliament Speaker seals ballot

51 candidates submitted their applications for the presidential election to the Syrian Parliament through the Constitutional Court by the end of the 10 days period given, among the candidates are 7 women.

The Syrian Constitutional Court audited the applications and sent the parliament the applications that met the conditions stipulated by Syria’s current constitution of 2012, there might have been many more applications that failed the process.

Taking into consideration the affiliations of the MPs in regard to their political parties and the 63 independent candidates, there would be only 7 candidates maximum to move to the second phase, the Syrian Parliament has 252 members.

Also, taking into consideration that the Baath ruling party has 166 members in the parliament, theoretically, they will endorse President Bashar Assad, the leader of the party, this would leave 23 members of the other 19 political parties and the 63 independent to endorse the rest, meaning only 2 other candidates can get enough endorsements for the second phase, and in light of the large number of candidates, the author here thinks there will be a second filtering process among the 50 candidates other than incumbent President Assad. If, however, some Baath Party members might endorse candidates other than President Assad, this would increase the number of candidates moving to the presidential race.

The presidential election date is set for the 26th of next month, May 2021. The Syrian leadership insists on carrying out these constitutional milestones at their set times despite the heinous, ludicrous, terrorist, hysterical, and hypocrite interventions by NATO member states, who do not like other countries intervene in their elections however flawed their political systems are, who also happen to support and protect autocratic regimes who do not have a constitution to start with, let alone never had any sort of elections like in Saudi Arabia for instance, or their so-called ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ Israel, whose ‘prime minister’ is in power for most of the past 2 decades if not more and who keeps repeating the elections until he secures a majority!

NATO member states said they will not recognize the results of this election, which is not needed anyway, because they couldn’t have their Navalny, or whatever that Venezuelan guy whose name slipped from my memory now wanted to kill President Maduro and take his place ‘democratically’, win a fake election they control.

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Clarifications of the Relevant Articles of the Syrian Constitution:

Constitution of the Syrian Arabic Republic – Syrian Arab News Agency

 Article 83

The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister exercise executive authority on behalf of the people within the limits provided for in the constitution.

Article 84

The candidate for the office of President of the Republic should:

1. Have completed forty years of age;

2. Be of Syrian nationality by birth, of parents who are of Syrian nationality by birth;

3. Enjoy civil and political rights and not convicted of a dishonorable felony, even if he was reinstated;

4. Not be married to a non-Syrian wife;

5. Be a resident of the Syrian Arab Republic for no less than 10 years continuously upon being nominated.

Article 85

The nomination of a candidate for the office of President of the Republic shall be as follows:

1. The Speaker of the People’s Assembly calls for the election of the President of the Republic before the end of the term of office of the existing president by no less than 60 days and no more than 90 days;

2. The candidacy application shall be made to the Supreme Constitutional Court, and is entered in a special register, within 10 days of announcing the call for electing the president;

3. The candidacy application shall not be accepted unless the applicant has acquired the support of at least 35 members of the People’s Assembly; and no member of the assembly might support more than one candidate;

4. Applications shall be examined by the Supreme Constitutional Court; and should be ruled on within 5 days of the deadline for application;

5. If the conditions required for candidacy were met by only one candidate during the period set for applying, the Speaker of the people’s assembly should call for fresh nominations according to the same conditions.

Article 86

1. The President of the Republic shall be elected directly by the people;

2. The candidate who wins the election for the President of the Republic is the one who gets the absolute majority of those who take part in the elections. If no candidate receives that majority, a rerun is carried out between the two candidates who receive the largest number of votes;

3. The results shall be announced by the Speaker of the People’s Assembly.

Article 87

1. If the People’s Assembly was dissolved during the period set for electing a new President of the Republic, the existing President of the Republic continues to exercise his duties until after the new Assembly is elected and convened; and the new President of the Republic shall be elected within the 90 days which follow the date of convening this Assembly;

2. If the term of the President of the Republic finished and no new president was elected, the Existing President of the Republic continues to assume his duties until the new president is elected.

Article 88

The President of the Republic is elected for 7 years as of the end of the term of the existing President. The President can be elected for only one more successive term.

Article 89

1. The Supreme Constitutional Court has the jurisdiction to examine the challenges to the election of the President of the Republic;

2. The challenges shall be made by the candidate within 3 days of announcing the results; and the court rules on them finally within 7 days of the end of the deadline for making the challenges.

Article 90

The President of the Republic shall be sworn in before the People’s Assembly before assuming his duties by repeating the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.

Article 91

1. The President of the Republic might name one or more deputies and delegate to them some of his authorities;

2. The Vice-president is sworn in before the President of the Republic by repeating the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.

Article 92

If an impediment prevented the President of the Republic from continuing to carry out his duties, the Vice-president shall deputize for him.

Article 93

1. If the office of the President of the Republic becomes vacant or if he is permanently incapacitated, the first Vice-president assumes the President’s duties for a period of no more than 90 days of the President of the Republic’s office becoming vacant. During this period new presidential elections shall be conducted;

2. If the office of the President of the Republic becomes vacant, and he does not have a Vice-president, his duties shall be assumed temporarily by the Prime Minister for a period of no more than 90 days of the date of the President of the Republic’s office becoming vacant. During this period new presidential elections shall be conducted.

Article 94

If the President of the Republic resigned from office, he should address the resignation letter to the People’s Assembly.

Article 95

The protocol, privileges and allocations required for the office of President of the Republic shall be set out in a law.

Article 96

The President of the Republic shall insure respect for the Constitution, the regular running of public authorities, protection of national unity and survival of the state.

Article 97

The President of the Republic shall name the Prime Minister, his deputies, ministers and their deputies, accept their resignation and dismiss them from office.

Article 98

In a meeting chaired by him, the President of the Republic lays down the general policy of the state and oversees its implementation.

Article 99

The President of the Republic might call the Council of Ministers to a meeting chaired by him; and might ask for reports from the Prime Minister and the ministers.

Article 100

The President of the Republic shall pass the laws approved by the People’s Assembly. He might also reject them through a justified decision within one month of these laws being received by the Presidency. If they are approved a second time by the People’s Assembly with a two thirds majority, they shall be passed by the President of the Republic.

Article 101

The President of the Republic shall pass decrees, decisions and orders in accordance with the laws.

Article 102

The President of the Republic declares war, calls for general mobilization and concludes peace agreements after obtaining the approval of the People’s Assembly.

Article 103

The President of the Republic declares the state of emergency and repeals it in a decree taken at the Council of Ministers chaired by him with a two thirds majority, provided that the decree is presented to the People’s Assembly in its first session. The law sets out the relevant provisions.

Article 104

The President of the Republic accredits heads of diplomatic missions in foreign countries and accepts the credentials of heads of foreign diplomatic missions in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Article 105

The President of the Republic is the Commander in Chief of the army and armed forces; and he issues all the decisions necessary to exercise this authority. He might delegate some of these authorities.

Article 106

The President of the Republic appoints civilian and military employees and ends their services in accordance with the law.

Article 107

The President of the Republic concludes international treaties and agreements and revokes them in accordance with provisions of the Constitution and rules of international law.

Article 108

The President of the Republic grants special amnesty and might reinstate individuals.

Article 109

The President of the Republic has the right to award medals and honors.

Article 110

The President of the Republic might address letters to the People’s Assembly and make statements before it.

Article 111

1. The President of the Republic might decide to dissolve the People’s Assembly in a justified decision he makes;

2. Elections for a new People’s Assembly shall be conducted within 60 days of the date of dissolution;

3. The People’s Assembly might not be dissolved more than once for the same reason.

Article 112

The President of the Republic might prepare draft laws and refer them to the People’s Assembly to consider them for approval.

Article 113

1. The President of the Republic assumes the authority of legislation when the People’s Assembly is not in session, or during sessions if absolute necessity requires this, or in the period during which the Assembly is dissolved.

Article 114

If a grave danger and a situation threatening national unity, the safety and integrity of the territories of the homeland occurs, or prevents state institutions from shouldering their constitutional responsibilities, the President of the Republic might take the quick measures necessitated by these circumstances to face that danger.

Article 115

The President of the Republic might set up special bodies, councils and committees whose tasks and mandates are set out in the decisions taken to create them.

Article 116

The President of the Republic might call for a referendum on important issues which affect the higher interests of the country. The result of the referendum shall be binding and come into force as of the date of its announcement; and it shall be published by the President of the Republic.

Article 117

The President of the Republic is not responsible for the acts he does in carrying out his duties except in the case of high treason; and the accusation should be made through a People’s Assembly decision taken by the Assembly in a public vote and with a two thirds majority in a secret session based on a proposal made by at least one third of the members. He shall be tried before the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Prepared by: O. al- Mohammad / Inas Abdulkareem


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