Sunday, April 8, 2012

Syria 'demands' written guarantees? Were these already assured?

 UPDATED -scroll down!

The latest:

President Assad says he will need written agreement over violence, in move observers say is designed to divide opposition

UN-backed plans for a ceasefire and negotiations in Syria have been thrown into doubt by a new demand from President Bashar Al Assad that armed groups guarantee to halt all violence before regime forces are withdrawn from flashpoints across the country.

Scepticism about Assad's readiness to implement Annan's six-point plan was rife from the start, but the western governments who dominate the Friends of Syria group argue that it is the "only game in town", given Russian support for Assad and the lack of appetite for outside intervention.

"This is a totally predictable move," said Emile Hokayem, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "By accepting Annan's plan, Assad wanted to demand – and get – reciprocity to put pressure on a fragmented opposition. Russia will support this demand and the Friends of Syria have painted themselves into a corner. Can they really say no at this point?

The Assad merchandise is interesting. How many in the West are walking around with their leaders faces on their chests? None.

Has the West been fudging on their reporting? Not like that would be a surprise or anything?

"To say that Syria will pull back its forces from towns on April 10 is inaccurate, Kofi Annan having not yet presented written guarantees on the acceptance by armed terrorist groups of a halt to all violence," it said.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council formally endorsed the deadline for Syrian troops and big guns to be withdrawn from cities, but Damascus said a day later the number of "terrorist acts" has risen since the deal was agreed with UN and Arab League envoy Annan.

"Mr Annan has not submitted written guarantees from the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping their funding to terrorist groups," the ministry added of its northern neighbour and strongest critics in the Arab world.

Was Kofi Annan supposed to have these written guarantees in place before the ceasefire? If he was, this changes the dynamic of what has been reported on.

"Syria is not going to repeat what happened in the presence of Arab observers when armed forces left towns," Sunday's ministry statement said.
"Armed terrorist groups reorganised and rearmed to control entire neighbourhoods, committing every possible terrorist act, killing and kidnapping people and destroying public and private property."
The ministry said that when Annan met President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, the former UN chief "said he would work to stop the violence, disarm armed groups ... initiate a comprehensive national dialogue with opposition movements."
"It is this principle on which Syria accepted Annan's mission and his six-point plan."

The former UN Chief had better get moving.


  1. Well, it is better late than never I suppose for Assad to ask for written guarantees. It would have been a whole lot smarter to ask for the written guarantees from the NATO terrorists before signing an agreement with the UN which hasn't agreed to deliver anything and can't in any case.

    My guess is that the UN and the NATO terrorists will ignore this and if they are pressed will come back with, "we'll consider it after you (Assad) remove your troops from the positions we want to occupy." i.e. honour your already signed agreement!

    It is Negotiation 101 that you never concede anything without something in return. But in signing the 6 point agreement, Assad conceded heaps but got nothing in return. Never mind that the Syrian forces were in control and had no need to negotiate anything with anyone, anyway. Mind numbingly stupid!

    1. Hey James

      See the update, it appears as if there already were written guarantees requested- It is possible the western msm is playing this in their usual bullshit manner

      It looks as if there were supposed to be written guarantees in place before the ceasefire.
      Read the newest update

    2. But of course, all agreements were on principle. Nothing has been put to paper yet but Rice, Hillary, NATO talking heads and podium mercenaries, being the habitual warmongers that they are, insist on putting the cart before the horse. They want Assad to pull back for them to recover lost grounds. Nobody fights a year-long incursion to concede anything without some form of pay-out.

      We must always keep in mind who controls the news in this sordid affair. It wasn't in error that reports of Annan's meeting were one-sided, reporting only Assad's pledges and Russia's acquiescence to the 6-point plan. Who has Annan spoken to on the other side? What did they agree upon? Who spoke for a fragmented SNC? Why do the 'friends' of Syria maintain such leverage in this matter? What referendum gave them that voice in Syrian affairs?

      This so-called 'Friends' of Syria initiative is just another pressure cooker for boiling Assad and the Syrian people raw. I have learnt to pay a lot more attention to what is not being said. What did the SNC/NATO/US/EU/GCC/Turkey side undertake to do and why is it not being said/done? All parties have been asked to cease violence, why is one side being pushed to withdraw and lay down arms? Assad has said ok but wants written guarantees, it is simple protocol for arrangements of this nature. The surprise is for one side to ask for it in the first place.

      That is what they want us to believe James, that Assad is "mind numbingly stupid" and it can only be Russia's and China's doing. You don't govern a country like Syria and get called stupid. You don't fight an insurgency all year long and be as stupid does. Let's just leave the verdict of Stupid to history and see on what side it falls. Assad has shown a good measure of goodwill, what is the SNC/NATO/US/EU/GCC/Turkey giving or showing - nada, zilch.

    3. Egoigwe:
      another one straight out of the ballpark!
      I went back to my old posts when it was first announced that Syria had accepted the Anan plan

      and there it is

      Commitments from the opposition to stop fighting and accept UN supervision “would be sought by the envoy.

      and that is what Syria is referencing!

      Then I realized it was more of the usual msm bullshit
      They had intentionally downplayed/underreported or ignored that the onus was also on the side of the opposition

      This is not a NEW demand, this is a request to abide by the agreement made

      The media is spinning this whole chapter and has been all along
      Wait a minute let me rephrase this- the media has been lying, as always!
      And dammit I missed it! Grrrr.

      Once I saw this other article and thought about it, the light bulb turned on, clearly there was more to the agreement then Assad just giving in
      There is no way he is going to cave to the NaTO goons
      Marty mentioned the upswing in violence
      I highly doubt there is any
      Just more media lies!

    4. "Commitments from the opposition to stop fighting and accept UN supervision “would be sought by the envoy."

      "This is not a NEW demand, this is a request to abide by the agreement made"

      You're a treasure, Penny, found in the rarest of places.

  2. Oh dear, I think this saga is playing out almost exactly as predicted on your blog Penny!

    Is there still 'fierce' fighting going on all aroud Syria - as is being reported by the UK/US media? I thought this had stopped?

    I've seen a lot of footage on Euronews with the 'unconfirmed' stamp on it just as Assad 'reportedly' requested written confirmation from the rebels!

    Let's not forget that the majority of info we are getting is from 'unconfirmed sources' and the UN ;-) Perhaps Assad made the request for written confirmation earlier - and it's only being reported to us now...which suits the narrative just right for Tuesday's failed deadline...oops...I just jumped into a momentary time-disturbance... into the future...what was that?

    Assad failed to keep his promise? No, he didn't. Did he? Oh, hold on a's still Sunday...right...right?

    I am waiting to hear about the Christians in Syria - I wonder how things are going now that it is Easter celebrations - we haven't heard anything about this aspect yet.

    aka Marty

    1. Hey Marty

      I have noticed all the reports also and of course their coming straight out of NATO's mouthpiece
      Is there any truth to them?
      That is anyone guess

    2. It feels like we know less of what really is going on in Syria now than at any other time. I don't see much detailed reporting in the Western media like there was the last few months--seems like they just report the rebels daily claims about numbers and that's about it.

      Unfortunately, both sides seem to be saying the violence is increasing, but are blaming the other. So that's not a good sign and I imagine this is probably the truth. So that may explain the relative silence we're hearing in the mainstream press.

      I think it's pretty obvious Assad and Syria will be blamed for failing to withdraw troops by the deadline no matter if they get written guarantees or not. The U.S. doesn't seem to be interested in written guarantees, for instance, just the deadline.

  3. hi Egoigwe, you ask a lot of very pertinent questions and they are all questions I have,too.
    However, my point remains. It is a fundamental error to sign ANYTHING on the basis of promises from the other side when the other side are documented liars. Further, it is an even larger error to sign anything on the basis of promises from a third party (who are also documented liars) on behalf of your lying opponents because the third party has no power to deliver on their promises.

    If I were Assad and I felt I absolutely HAD to negotiate, then I would only do it with the SNC face to face. If Kofi Annan wants to sit in as observer, then fine. But it is another fundamental negotiating error to allow anyone else, especially someone favourably disposed to your opponent to get in the middle and 'shuttle' back and forth because they then control what is happening and it is usual for this 'shuttle' diplomat to tell the different sides different stories and manipulate the outcome.

    Of course the western media will distort anything and everything. But why hasn't the Syrian govt put up a website and published all the documents associated with these 'negotiations'? Granted the NYT are not going to quote from this proposed website, but Penny could and so could hundreds of other bloggers! If you have to negotiate with people with no scrupples, then do it out in the light: put everything on the web; out in the open for everyone to see.

    I don't want to argue with anyone here. But as an experienced negotiator, I am just trying to make a couple of points that I believe are fundamental to a successful outcome.

    1. Hey James, I quite understand the very valid points you're making. But I still think some clarifications are necessary. An agreement in principle is usually subject to some other proviso, especially aimed at the other party across the table. Something like "Yes, we agree provided the other party accepts too and stops shooting us". It isn't a binding agreement on negotiating parties but an intent to commit, provided the other party to the negotiation agrees to certain terms and conditions too.

      That said, it would not follow that Assad's government has signed anything at this stage of the negotiations and as Penny rightly noted "This is not a NEW demand, this is a request to abide by the agreement made". And an inquiry as to the state of the terms agreed upon in principle by BOTH parties.

      Industriously, Penny was able to dig this up "Commitments from the opposition to stop fighting and accept UN supervision would be sought by the envoy." Now, why place a one-sided deadline on performance for the Syrian government, without first confirming if those commitments sought of the 'opposition' have been obtained or not? The fact that commitments are still being sought means Assad's position can be nothing but conditional upon the final resolution of all issues. To take his early showing of goodwill towards Annan's peace plan and look to hang him for it can be nothing but ruthless and preconceived.

      It'd be nice to read Assad on Penny's blog but that won't stop the spin. The acreage belongs to the West's MSM and its Zionist financiers. AlJazeera's Anita McNaught is reporting today that the Syrian Army fired shots into Turkey's refugee camps which injured people they intended to stop from fleeing Syria. The Turkish Foreign Ministry is now saying Annan's peace plan is void, according to that AlJazeera report.

      Any insistence by Assad on who, what, when or where negotiations are to be held would be met with MSM fudge pooh: "He's trying to scuttle talks!" "We always knew he wasn't serious" "We only wanted to give peace a chance" "We've heard that before" bla bla blah. There is no light James, save the darkness the West's MSM envelopes us with. It's people like you, Penny and a host of others on this forum and the WWW that work at letting it trickle in, and even what gets through are often dimmed by fake counter stories, virus infected links and shills etc.

      Finally James, there can be no successful outcome. The whole process has been rigged to fail. Assad knows this but is refusing to give them an excuse, especially one they can count against him. It's all a game they hoped would help demonize Assad/Iran/Russia/China and if you ask me, Assad played it skillfully.

  4. Obviously the Syrians need to take this stand if they wish to defend themselves. They need to make this principle clear: they have the right to defend themselves from an armed attack, and will not agree to a one-sided ceasefire.

    I agree with James that it was silly to agree to anything with this group. Syria conceded the principle that it has the right to defend itself from armed terrorists/insurgents/mercenaries funded by the West/GCC, etc.

    Plus, if Assad was going to agree to the Anan plan in principle, why didn't he make it absolutely clear the acceptance of the plan was conditional? It was obvious from the beginning it was a one sided pledge so why did Assad pledge anything without making it crystal clear it was conditional? I know the media is totally corrupted but have they totally silenced Assad that he can't make this basic point to defend Syria sovereignty? He should be screaming this.

    I see how the media does distort his message when he starts to stand on principle--but it is reporting the basic fact that he's issuing demands.

  5. Earlier I put up a link to a short video regarding dirty tricks at the UN. I'm sure it went un-noticed. I think you might find it instructive to listen to Al Jaafari's press-conference as it is highly pertinent to this post.
    Bashar Al Jaafari Speaks of His Treatment at UN

    James, for once I have to disagree with you. What you say is valid if the negotiating parties are honest and rational; however it is abundantly clear that the NATO side have no interest in the Annan Plan. By accepting the plan Syria has wrong-footed the imperialists and shown them for what they are.

    SYRIA PEACE PLAN: West Moves To Kill Off "Important First Step" To End Violence; Clinton Pushes So-called Opposition’s Demand For ‘Regime Change Or Nothing’

    Now the Syrians are pointing out the bleeding obvious: that Syria needs a commitment from the other side that they will abide by the plan. It is fundamental to any negotiated settlement that the settlement is in place only when all sides agree and commit. I don't think the Syrians have lost anything by pointing out the bleeding obvious that there is no de-facto settlement until the 'rebels' also commit to the plan. By continuing to call for regime change and by continuing with the 2nd 'Friends of Syria' meeting the NATO backers of the insurgents have shown, once again, that they are not honest brokers.

    Kofi Annan is the "War-maker" in Syria

    This arguing amongst ourselves is futile. Syria has withstood a year of media lies and foreign backed insurgency - they must be doing something right.

    1. Hey Freethinker: Your right in amongst all the links left here
      I missed that one
      can't speak for anyone else
      However I am in the process of listening at this moment

      "By accepting the plan Syria has wrong-footed the imperialists and shown them for what they are."

      I agree with that.
      I suspect that is why this was agreed to.
      Syria's government surely knew this was dead before it came to life.

      Bashar Al Jaafari is well spoken and articulate, rational etc
      "Media terrorism"
      I love it!
      I may have to adopt that, since the media commits terrorism against the populace every single day!

    2. This arguing amongst ourselves is futile. Syria has withstood a year of media lies and foreign backed insurgency - they must be doing something right.

      Agreed Syria has withstood a year of media lies and foreign backed terrorism-

      And they are still around.

      Loyal Army- Loyal government- Loyal populace

      Kudos to the Syrian people for knowing they do not want to become a NATO puppet nation. Kudos to the Syrian people knowing they do not want to become a religious fanatic nation

      And that has to be so difficult in the face of terrorism, incredible brutality.
      And ethnic cleansing
      The people of Syria have been key.
      They deserve that recognition and praise.

      As for the arguing amongst ourselves?
      If it is done well, it helps us all in the real world when we are talking to other people.
      Don't underestimate the value of good debating skills
      No personal attacks- they are pointless, futile and will turn anyone off quick as a wink

  6. Hey James:

    I want to address a couple of points you have brought up
    and explain why I disagree with them.

    If I were Assad and I felt I absolutely HAD to negotiate, then I would only do it with the SNC face to face

    Assad should not negotiate with SNC. This would serve to legitimize them and they deserve no such legitimization. None.

    Further to that: they(SNC) are not the ones who can call off the fighters as they are not in control of them.
    It is Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that are giving them shelter, paycheques and weapons.
    Not the SNC. SNC is a figurehead for the West.
    Make believe that there is a legitimate alternative to the Assad government There isn't and they aren't.

    Freethinker has sort of started on where I was going with Kofi Annan-

    If the two sides were serious about resolution there would never have been a need for Kofi Annan.

    That said the NATO side is not serious. They have no intention of resolving anything. Therefore their would be no legitimate chance of resolution. Making mediation , basically, the only option.

    RE: the Syrian angle on this the best place to go is SANA
    It has it's limitations, but, there has been some solid info coming from there

    1. Why is it OK or good to do the UN deal with Anan and not OK to do a deal with the SNC?
      Both are tools of the NATO axis of war, and a deal with either is not worth the paper it is written on.
      I agree that Syria should engage in some sort of truth telling effort online as suggested by James.

      It is possible the UN deal was a trap and a suckers bet as the only concrete result from it is this big new headline our fascist media get to run with.......SYRIA BREAKS PEACE DEAL!!!!
      That is how our media is playing it today. This new talking point allows a ratcheting up of pressure and sense of urgency to 'save Syria' before all is lost.
      The Pope on Easter, also weighed in on Syria and the need to do something. From Angelina to the Pope, we hear calls for war. Assad and Syria are in the cross hairs, and there is no chance for them to avoid NATO & pals desire for war, no politician could wheel or deal his way out of this one.
      Criticizing Syrian political calculus as they defend themselves from NATO seems unfair to me.

    2. Hey Heywood!

      The UN vs SNC

      I agree. Both are tools.

      That said, if Assad dealt with the SNC he is legitimizing them and they should not be legitimized, which is why Syria did not deal with them.

      As for the UN, they don't deserve legitimization period
      If your newer to the blog, you may not have noticed I often reference them as Useless Nations

      Sadly in our bizarro world Useless Nations is seen as legitimate

      I saw how the media is playing it today.
      (I have been hanging at the CBC website)

      But, would they (media)have played anything any differently
      No matter the circumstances on the ground? No.
      No matter what happens Syria was/is going to be demonized in the media. They have been for more then a year now, longer even.
      What is going on today in the lying media isn't any different then what has gone on all year long

  7. The West will be focusing on Syria's failure to comply with the April 10th deadline--they will not be focusing on the fact the insurgents/GCC/Turkey have failed to agree to the Anan plan.

    That is a failure of Syrian diplomacy. This is not to say the Syria people have been successful in putting down the insurrection until now. But, it means war. That is not a success.

    There was no benefit to unilaterally agreeing to the Anan plan. Even if it was beneath Assad and Syria to "sit down" with the terrorists, they should at least have made sure there was someone on the other side of the deal with them. It's a little late in the game to be demanding a partner in peace.

    Hey, late is better than never, but again, the people that matter, like the U.S., could care less. The West will use the failure to evacuate civilian areas as an excuse to attack, it will not care about the failure to have two parties.

    I wish the Syrians were engaging in clever diplomacy. But I'm afraid it looks like they are being rolled. Just as happened in Libya.

    I agree that SANA is a good source. But why wasn't SANA screaming about the fact the Syrians only agreed to the plan conditionally, only if the GCC and Turkey stopped funding the insurgents? SANA similarly hasn't focused on media fakery like CNN complicity in terrorism.

  8. WWM

    They did make sure there was someone on the otherside.
    And these are not new demands

    "I wish the Syrians were engaging in clever diplomacy"

    IMO they are

    The western media is spinning so furiously, most of us don't realize it

    1. But why is it clever? Who's convinced? Me? You?

      That's about it. The rest of the world is talking about how Assad is violating his commitment. I hear no one taking Asad's demands seriously. Where is Russia? How come Russia is backing up Assad on this?

      I'm just not seeing it.

      Clever diplomacy would involve the world turning on the rebels for refusing to accept the cease fire. The Russians and Anan are merely requesting that the rebels do this, and they aren't saying Syria's obligations are CONDITIONAL upon rebel compliance. Russia and Anan certainly aren't taking it to the next step and demanding the GCC and Turkey, etc. stop funding the rebels. If Assad can't even get Anan and Russia to admit their agreement was conditional, they are screwed.

      I'm sorry. This stuff is starting to upset me. It seems so obvious to me.

    2. And maybe the Russians and Anan are "demanding" that outside forces stop supporting the insurgents, but there is no teeth in the demand. They are not saying that there is no Anan plan if the funding continues, for instance.

      The Russians and Anan appear to be saying Syria has to comply with the Anan plan regardless, no?

  9. Blammo....

    Got in touch with AP
    She is ok and is just having a break
    Understandable really
    Have no fears, she will be back.
    And that will be great!

    She thought it very nice that people were asking..

  10. If the ultimate goal is a 'regime change' in Syria spelled out by Obama, Hillary Clinton, GCC, and the rebels themselves, what does a written paper from Kofi Annan will do to Syrians...?!

    Annan's trip to Syria was created to
    1. Buy time for rebels, and
    2. To make the Syrian government look like it's committed to killing its own people and not interested in peace, by putting a phony deadline, while rebels keep mounting their own attacks inside Syria without any commitment to stop fighting.
    Then later Western media and governments will say that its Syria to be balmed for prolonging the crises, and it's time for another UNSC resolution.

    1. You're exactly right. All Syria did was to confirm the suspicions of the outside world--it had something to hide! Would the U.S. have agreed to a unilateral ceasefire if it was facing a terrorist attack on its border, for instance? No way! It would have insisted that it has the right to defend itself.

      If . . . and that's a big IF . . . the U.S. were to agree to a ceasefire with terrorist, it would only do so if the other side also agreed. Forget about the middle man, Anan and the U.N. The people shooting the guns have to put the guns down and they either promise this directly or the U.N. convinces them to put the guns down. The U.S. would make if very clear from the beginning that its acceptance of a ceasefire is CONDITIONAL.

      This is basic negotiating. As James says, it's negotiation 101. It's so basic, I find it hard to believe the Syrians would have fallen into the trap of not making it clear their acceptance was conditional.

      Sure, we can sort of read between the lines and see the Syrians accepted the Anan plan conditionally. But they sure hid the ball. Why weren't they SCREAMING about this with Anan and the press? Why wasn't Russia SCREAMING about this?

      Anyway, it's obvious they failed. Who else is talking about Syria accepting conditionally? I see no one of importance pointing this out.

      It's very clear the West will use Syrian non-compliance with the plan as an excuse to ratchet up the violence. There is no way to interpret this as a win for the Syrians. In fact, it's dangerous to put on the rose colored glasses right now. This is not the time for Syria to get cocky or complacent--in fact, the West is getting ready to finish Syria off!

    2. Oops, and I don't mean to say that Penny is not "no one of importance." Penny is much more important than the the elite jerks that run the mainstream media.

      So by "important" I mean the jerks in the mainstream media.