Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Syria: The fulcrum on which world peace pivots

After a brief break were back to Syria-
Figuratively speaking.
Syria's Foreign Minister is in China .This follows a visit to Russia last week.

Syria's foreign minister will arrive in Beijing on Monday to brief Chinese officials about a United Nations-brokered ceasefire for the conflict-torn country.
The report from Damascus, which quoted a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman, said Walid Muallem would visit China for two days.

The first UN observers arrived in Syria on Sunday to monitor a ceasefire between government troops and rebels, part of the Annan plan.

Speaking of UN observers? Russia claims ceasefire is fragile

 "There really are those who are interested in the failure of Kofi Annan's plan and they actually mentioned that (opinion) even before this plan was made public" Mr Lavrov

"There are countries – there are outside forces – that are not interested in the success of current UN Security Council efforts"

In amongst some of the changes at the UN covered in this post, I hadn't seen this mentioned

Moscow backed the resolution after successfully insisting on including one Russian officer in the observers group.

One Russian observer in the initial team with more to come?

Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister, said Russia would be "substantially" represented in the mission.
"The specifics of our participation in the observers mission are being worked on right now," Interfax quoted Mr Ryabkov as saying.
"Without a well-functioning observers mission working in the field, it is impossible to obtain a reliable and objective picture of what is happening."
Don't get excited about the  meeting, mentioned below. This has been one of many meetings Russia has had with internal Syrian opposition.
Russia on Monday also hosted members of the National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change – a splinter opposition group that was not invited to the latest Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul.

Interesting op-ed : Iran and Syria: Small Glimmer of Hope in a Bleak Scenario
Read in full at above link

As of now, the slide down in West Asia towards war – both on Iran and in Syria – seems to have come to a fragile halt. The negotiations in Istanbul on Iran's nuclear enrichment have not ended in mutual recriminations as was expected but in a promise to meet again in Baghdad in 6 weeks time. In Syria, the brittle peace engineered by Kofi Annan is mostly holding, albeit with some breaches.

Iran and Nuclear Weapons 
The Iran issue should have been a simple one. Legally, Iran has a right to uranium enrichment up to 20% – as long as the fissile material is under IAEA safeguards. This is what NPT guarantees. Iran has no obligation to give up uranium enrichment or technologies that can help in making a bomb. Such technologies are dual use technologies and giving up these technologies is equivalent to Iran giving up whole sectors of the economy. A course that is not asked of say, Germany and Japan. Probably about 40 countries in the world have the capability that Iran is being asked to give up.
IAEA under the current Director General Amano concedes that Iran's fissile material inventory is fully accounted for – Iran has not diverted any of it for weapons purpose.
The issue for Israel and also the US has never been the actual violation of NPT by Iran. There is near unanimity that Iran has not renewed its weapons program after 2003. Developing weapons capability is allowed to it under NPT, as also building fuel enrichment facilities. Therefore, when Israel and echoing Israel, the US asks for dismantling its nuclear enrichment facilities and not building weapons capability, they are asking Iran to capitulate and give up what is permitted under NPT.

Israel has argued that a weapons capable Iran is an existential threat to it. The US has also been talking about various red-lines for Iran, some times actual nuclear weapons development, some times nuclear weapons capability. For both, the argument has been Iran should give up fuel enrichment. Therefore, if Ashton's statement is taken as the basis, this is a significant change. Not surprisingly, Netanyahu has criticised the talks in Istanbul, claiming that Iran is being given a “freebie”. Israel wants ratcheting up of the sanctions and driving the US into a war with Iran. This was proceeding quite nicely with brutal sanctions including cutting off Iran from the global banking network, with threats of more to come. What may have given the US pause is the realisation that turning Iran's oil spigot off will do far more damage than the current increase of 25 cents per gallon. With Russia, China and even India now not willing to hurt their own economy to please the US, the sanction route was hitting a huge road block.

Syria – part of the Iran-Israel-US Mix
For Israel and the US, Iran's influence is now spreading – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even Palestine is under its influence. Therefore knocking out Syria – either regime change or a civil war – serves the larger interests of Israel and the US in the region.
Syria has also drawn the other West Asian powers into its fray. The Saudis, the Gulf Emirates and Qatar are all aligning with rising Muslim Brotherhood as is Turkey. For them, either secular nationalism or radical Islamic nationalism of the Iranian kind are threats to their relationship with the US and the NATO. They are all a part of the neo-liberal consensus, as are the Muslim Brothers. While they differ on Israel with the US and NATO, on the issue of Iran and its radical influence, they are all united.




  1. "This follows a visit to Russia last week."
    It seems that Gen. Mood the chief UN honcho at the Syrian meeting took umbrage at the Syrians taking less than a day out of their talks in order to keep a pre-arranged visit with the Russians. Mood just packed his bags and flew home.

    Some straight talking (by diplomatic standards) from the Russian at the UN Security Council Media Stakeout
    The talks from the UK's Grant was heavily laced with invective and the US's Rice was pure venom as usual.

  2. thanks for that video, I will embed it in the post.

  3. If the ultimate goal of US,Western countrie,and Israel is to remove Bashar AlAssad from power by all means,then all these peace scenarios put by the UN and Annan is just a show.
    Even after Kofi Annan made his famous six points peace& ceasefire plan, Hillary Clinton and many other Western leaders said that AlAssad must step down.
    If the intent is to topple the regime at any cost,I can't see how talks at this moment can produce real peace.
    The outside powers, whether media, government,and military& financial support powers seem to increase as the crisis goes on.
    If a woman you know,or a girlfriend has no intention of marrying you, all the flowers , the smiles, and the gifts will not do it.
    If the intention of making peace with the Assad's regime is not there, then the outcome will fruitless.

  4. completely OT Penny, but something I thought might interest you


    The Mr Denis O'Brien mentioned was recently declared to be 'corrupt' by an Irish Gov't Tribumal

    He also controls the Cell Phone Networks in numerous Caribeann and some Central American countries - Haiti fer insdtance.

    For some strange and possibly perverse reason I don't see anyone getting that much of a slice of numerous Caribeann and some Central American countries Cell Networks under their control without it all being very definitely US approved.

    1. Hu Bris

      This is a blast from the past, no?
      How have you been?
      well I hope?

      This is the Hu Bris whose blog I have linked in my sidebar, correct?

      If not, hello to a new commenter!

  5. Perps corner....Paul Conroy update. Quite funny, really: in the London Evening Standard, 17 Apr, we read:
    Meanwhile, Paul Conroy, the photographer who escaped from Homs after his colleague Marie Colvin died, arrived at last night’s 5x15 event still on a drip, having had an operation yesterday. The final speaker, historian Bettany Hughes, pointed out that “No author will ever be able to cancel a speaking engagement again, since Paul arrived with his blood bag.”

    I look in vain for the blood bag and drip at the 5x15 event*.
    Yet, he already seemed quite OK on 2 April at 10.45 in this video from the Intelligence Squared debate,"What to do about Syria". Can anyone see a drip or blood bag??
    *What I do spot though is Paul Conroy with girlfriend Bonny in the photo shoot from 5x15.

    1. That's classic! He arrived with a drip? Ha ha.

      He is milking this for all it's worth.

    2. I forced myself to watch that IQ^2 crap last night (35min session + Q&A) and I'm still feeling nauseous. IQ^2 is clearly some sort of steering committee to try and keep the 'intelligentsia' from thinking for themselves (like the Guardian).

      A couple of the questions were quite subversive though. I had to laugh at the reaction to the AIPAC question - that was obviously an 'impolite' question. I laughed even harder when the Cohen guy tried to make out that Israel really wants the status-quo in Syria just as it did with Egypt. For sure Israel would much prefer strong hostile neighbours to shattered impotent ones - naturally.

      As for Conroy - talk about a useful idiot! His schtik is getting old.

    3. Well you know Israel suffers from "pre traumatic syndrome" therefore they would love to be surrounded by enemies, the more the better!

      btw I got that from gilad atzom
      I will be putting up two interviews from him, very enjoyable

    4. @freethinker - yeah, that Intelligence Squared bunch are a creepy lot. To busy all slapping each other on the back for being, er, intelligent that they don't see what's going on around them. They are so obsessed with everything being "evidence based" that they swallow all those fake news reports about Syria, Libya etc. Mainly coming from the same people sitting alongside them working for the Guardian, Times &c...

  6. Aziza23 What I don't get: #UK and #France are busy arresting Islamic militants at home but supporting them in #Syria? english.ahram.org.eg/News/39492.aspx #FSA #SNC
    about 12 hours ago
    Retweeted by sate3

  7. Syrian_oo Most Presidents especially under these circumstances would milk the fact they attended a charity collection & packing event. Assad did not.
    about 23 hours ago
    Retweeted by sate3
    Syrian_oo Whilst the World drums up pressure & war on Syria, real Syrians like ASSAD are collecting and sending aid to the needy. youtu.be/y5vqbGBeEJQ
    about 23 hours ago
    Retweeted by sate3

  8. the assange interrview of Nasrullah has some dodgy surprises:

    1.a problem i have with the translator is his (media?) tendency to use the word 'regime' when referring to the syrian government...NOW would this same translator refer to the UK or US govts as 'regimes'? the use of this word over and over conditions the listener...since 'regime' suggests something uNsavory, illegitimate something to be removed.

    2.Assange 16:09: 'tunisia declares it will not recognise the syrian regime...'

    why not ''tunisian regime declares it will not recognise the syrian regime...'

    why is the word 'regime' used for a legitimate govt and why is it not used for one that has no legtitimacy?
    Colour revolutions give the illusion the regime that enters power is somehow legitimate...as it must have the support of the masses...when behind the scenes are lies US regime.

    3. the translator then goes on to refer to the new tunisian regime as 'the young new government...'!!!
    why not 'young new regime'!?

    this confirms the translatior(who is he by the way? a member of SOHR?) is skewing the interview to subtly demonise Syria.


  9. “The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
    ― Malcolm X
    “If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
    ― Malcolm X

  10. this is very educational: as these crimes have been carried out by elected british regimes, as if being elected gave them the right:

    UK regime sought to destroy records of colonial crimes(destruction of govt records as well as criminal evidence, would prosecute those who failed to properly secure these records (abuse of law),
    were worried the evidence might be used 'unethically by ministers in succesive governments'!(unethically, as in use the evidence to seek prosecution for state crimes)
    what we see here is how sociopathically wretched are the rulers of the world. These men make our laws...this is the standard behaviour of the 1st world govts that would lecture all the rest of democracy and governance...

  11. A good, though not optimistic, interview from Morris - Desperate Syrians

    'How low can they go?' It's hard to be surprised nowadays, but this gets close - West adopts dirty trick to defeat Syria
    Collectors of vile hypocrytical propaganda can find the video here.

    1. Thanks for those two. No further comments needed.

  12. AP's Poor Reporting On Syria
    Which news agency is doing the better in reporting from Syria? Which one is most near to the action? Which one has better sources? Here is an answer.
    The Associated Press reports from Beirut, Lebanon: UN Monitors Flee Syrian Protest After Gunfire
    Syrian security forces opened fire Wednesday on anti-regime demonstrators surrounding the cars of a U.N. team meant to monitor a shaky cease-fire, sending the observers speeding off and protesters dashing for cover, according to activists and amateur videos.
    Xinhua reports from Damascus, Syria: Head of UN observers denies coming under fire in Damascus' suburb
    Head of the UN advance observer team to Syria denied that his team came under fire in one of the hotspot suburbs of Syria's capital Damascus on Wednesday.
    Speaking to reporters after finishing a tour in the Damascus suburb of Arbeen, Moroccan Col. Ahmed Himmiche said that his team didn't come under fire there, ...
    So while Xinhua has reporters and photographers on the ground in Syria, AP's reporter used Skype to talk to some activists allegedly in Syrian and, sitting in his Beirut office, watched some Youtube clips. Obviously the AP reporting here is inadequate and thereby unreliable. One should keep that in mind when reading other AP stories.