The Dynamics of the Crisis in Syria; Conflict versus Conflict-Resolution (6/6)
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : (Part 1/6)(Part 2/6)(Part 3/6)(Part 4/6)(Part 5/6) (Part 6/6)- This article is the final in a series of six articles, in which the dynamics of the crisis in Syria, the conflict, and perspectives for conflict resolution are being analyzed. Although the crisis, which by now has lasted for two years, undergoing several stages, by no means is about to be concluded, the crisis has now reached a critical point. The policy as well as practical decisions which will be made by any of the primary stake-holders over the coming 4 – 8 months, will have consequences for Syria, the immediate region, the Greater Middle East, and in fact on security, energy security, economy and politics worldwide. The decisions will impact security and stability in Europe, Turkey, the greater Middle East from Turkey to Pakistan, including the region, which the retired Major of Pakistan´s Defense Forces, and energy security consultant Agha H. Amin calls the soft, oil-rich underbelly of Russia and China. ( 1 This final article will recap some of the previous articles most important issues, analyze the micro and macro- political aspects of the crisis, suggest possible approaches to resolving the crisis, and details the macro- political consequences of failure to resolve the crisis peacefully.
The crisis in Syria has reached a critical point. On a micro political level, the armed opposition has failed to unite with the foreign backed political opposition. In June – July the Free Syrian Army was decisively defeated during two attempts to conquer and secure the city of Homs as a seat for an interim, foreign-backed government which would have lent apparent legitimacy to this governments call for a foreign military intervention. (2 The strategy which was so successfully used in Libya, that NATO´s top military and civilian brass Ivo H. Daalder and James G. Stavridis called it “A Teachable Moment and Model for Future Interventions” has failed in Syria. (3
A change in military strategy, that is, to provide financial, material and covert military support for a cohort of predominantly Al-Qaeda associated organizations such as the al-Nusrah, the forced use of prisoners from Saudi Arabia´s prisons (4 and Turkey´s release of convicted terrorists (5 who are now spreading terror throughout Syria without having a unified or central command, has in many respects also been counter-productive. It has, in fact, moved many Syrians, who initially took up arms under the FSA banner, to realize the inherent dangers for freedom, democracy and human rights, and to either give up the armed struggle against the Syrian government, or to re-align themselves with the Syrian government, the Syrian military, and the peaceful Syrian reform movement. (6
The crisis has also reached a critical point with regard to the intra-Syrian peace, reconciliation and reform processes. Months of difficult negotiations and meetings in Syria as well as in Iran, (7 have united the Syrian political parties, ethnic groups including the Syrian Kurds behind an agreement to work toward the development of a joint plan for national dialog. Syria´s Prime Minister for Reconciliation Affairs al-Halaki has held productive meetings with the leaders of the Syrian Kurds National Initiative (8, the leadership of the Peoples´ Will Party (9, and others. The plan has matured so much, that the initiative is now branching out from a national to a regional level, and under the leadership of P.M. al-Halaki, meetings are now being held with the leaders of political parties, ethnic, religious, special interests, and other organizations. (10 Also these meetings are making steady progress.
The progress in national reconciliation, dialog and willingness on the side of the Syrian government and the al-Baath party to embrace a comprehensive reform process once the military and security crisis is resolved and new elections have been held, has deprived the foreign-backed as well as the Syrian political and military rejectionist opposition of legitimate arguments for carrying on an armed struggle against a united Syrian peoples´ majority.
The situation is very well summarized in the words of Russia´s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who expressed his disappointment over, that “Extremists prevailed in the Syrian opposition and are blocking for dialog” (11 after the Syrian government had offered to hold meetings with the opposition in Syria or abroad.
On a macro-political level, the point where Russian security concerns are being so affected by the crisis that Russia will have to assert its role as a regional and superpower much more vigorously is being reached. Russian top-diplomats have, since the beginning of February 2013 begun to send clearer, more direct, and assertive signals.(12
The words of Alexander Grushko, Russia´s Ambassador to NATO, whom the Interfax news agency quoted after a meeting in Brussels, “Someone here in Brussels made a most profound point by saying that if you are holding a hammer, you should not think that every emerging problem is a nail. We think the world has ample opportunity to engage in energy cooperation and to ensure energy security without making use of military-political organizations as an instrument”;
The words of Russia´s UN Ambassador Vitali Churkin, to attempts by the foreign-backed opposition to lobby at the UN, to which Churkin said: “Russia is willing to hold talks with the Syrian opposition in order to encourage dialogue, but Moscow will block any effort by the opposition to send delegates to the UN”;
In an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax on Thursday, Sergei Lavrov said, that Russia opposes the practice of legalizing the replacement of governments in various countries by foreign intervention, stating that “Contradictory processes that are unfolding in the world mean that resolute action is needed on our part”, continuing by saying “We will continue to oppose attempts to legitimize change of regimes under the flag of a `responsibility to protect´ and we will continue to advocate solutions to problems by politico-diplomatic methods, with respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all nations”; (13 (ibid.)
These message by Russian Top-Diplomats, and not at least Sergei Lavrov´s statement that, the crisis had reached a critical point, indicate that Russia as well as China are committed to not allowing any other solution than a solution in accordance with international law, and a solution that is made by the people of Syria in Syria.
Russian diplomats as well as military experts and other analysts are bound to be acutely aware of the fact that Syria is the anchor that holds its security sphere, reaching from the eastern Mediterranean coast and to the northern Pakistani province Baluchistan in place. Once Syria falls, once Turkey is destabilized too and a Kurdish Corridor is opened, there will be a domino effect of low intensity conflicts along the resource-rich southern Russian and Chinese borders. These, US/NATO backed low-intensity conflicts are, which must not be forgotten, a subversive conquest, a NATO-Discount-War, that is backed by the missile systems, which NATO has deployed along the entire stretch of Russia´s southern borders and in Europe, and again from the Republic of South Korea to Japan and Alaska.
Back to the Beginning.
The decision to manufacture “The Arab Spring” was taken by the USA, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in 2007. The causal chain of events was triggered by the discovery of the worlds largest known resources of natural gas, the PARS gas fields in the Persian Gulf. The discovery started a regional dynamic which is described in part 5/6 of this article series. (14
The discovery of the PARS gas fields, shared by Qatar and Iran, and the fact that the USA and Qatar have lost the competition for the most economically viable pipeline projects in the region, has among other the following implications:
If the PARS gas pipeline from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, to the eastern Mediterranean is completed, the EU, which already receives between 22 % and 26 % of its natural gas from Russia, will over the next 100 – 120 years be to 45 % to 50 % dependent on Iranian – Russian gas, which is expected to become the primary energy source for the coming 100 – 150 years.
A natural response from Europe would be to further integrate the Russian and European national economies and energy sectors, was it not for the fact that European security experts are acutely aware of the fact that the USA and Israel, plus the GCC member states, will do literally everything to prevent this development. The EU´s response to the 2012 discussions about the Third EU – Energy Package clearly indicates how nervous the Europeans are.(15
A EU which would be to such a degree dependent on Iranian gas, would endow Iran with a very persuasive argument with regard to Palestine and Israel, with regard to the Iran nuclear program, with regard to Iran´s regional influence in Afghanistan and a cohort of other political “hot-issues”. Neither the USA nor Israel would appreciate this development and both will in fact rather turn against Europe or sacrifice European energy-security and security.
Iran and Pakistan have only recently agreed on the start of the Iran – Pakistan pipeline, which also receives its gas from the PARS gas fields. The pipeline will be built by Iran´s Tadbir Energy and will, when completed, deliver gas all the way to northern Pakistan´s Baluchistan province, where the USA is currently covertly supporting an insurgency. (16
Another, and not insignificant factor is, that the energy-backed US-Dollar is critically threatened by the US´s loss of influence over the primary energy resource for the coming 100 – 150 years. The USA is in no position to survive this development as a superpower, economically, and in the final equation militarily, unless it can stop at least some of the projects. The completion of the pipeline to the eastern Mediterranean was the most pressing of the dominoes that had to be tilted. Syria is, in other words, the key to either regional stability and a decline of global US military and economic dominance one hand, or a survival of the global US economical dominance and the continuation of low-intensity conflicts from Turkey / Syria to Pakistan on the other.
To put the Syria Crisis into a perspective and a format that explains the veracity of these statements, one should consider the correlations between the following events. All of them happened in 2007, when the PARS gas fields were discovered.
The global economic crisis began in 2007, leading to an colossal campaign of quantitative easing or in other words an inflation in US-Dollar economies. The inflation is countered by a long measures of both legal and illegal methods and means, but the US Dollar began its death agony in 2007. In 2007 the government of Qatar sent USD 10 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood based freedom and justice party of Turkey´s Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan via Turkeys´s Foreign Minister Davotoglu. The money was earmarked for preparing the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood and Syria´s Muslin Brotherhood for a coming, covert war on Syria. The primary goal for Qatar was to prevent the completion of the Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian pipeline by all means and at all cost. The 10 billion Qatar sent to Turkey is equivalent to the price for the construction of the pipeline, USD 10 billion. In 2007 – 2008, Qatar succeeded at realigning the Palestinian Hamas, which was founded by members of prominent Muslim Brotherhood associated Palestinian families, and the Lebanese al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, with the Qatar-led international wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The realignment, and these two organizations weakening of their axis with Iran and Syria, was a well preserved secret until late 2011, early 2012. In 2007, Qatar began a substantial program, financing Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Muslim Brotherhood associated parties in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and of course, as already mentioned, in Turkey. In 2007 “the” insider tip at western Stock Markets was, that Saudi Arabia would begin investing heavily in bio-chemical companies who developed processes which could make depleted oil-fields yield great quantities of natural gas. In 2007, plans to develop the PARS pipeline from Iran, through Iraq and to the Syrian eastern Mediterranean coast, near the Russian auxiliary naval base at Tartus began to take shape and manifest in agreements. The pipeline has so far been completed to the outskirts of Damascus. In 2007, surveys in the eastern Mediterranean revealed vast natural gas-fields in the eastern Mediterranean Levanthine basin, off the costs of Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus.
A critical point at the United Nations.
A UN Security Council resolution requires, to be legitimate, the concurrent vote of all permanent Security Council members. In the case of Libya, it can be argued, that both the Russian and Chinese political leadership must have been aware that even though a UNSC resolution arguably is not legally valid unless all Security Council members vote in favor of it, it is a long established political practice that only a veto is sufficient for blocking an intervention. Since the first Russian, then USSR, abstention on UNSC Resolution 4 (1946) on Spain, an abstention has interpreted as not preventing the adoption of the resolution.
With regard to Syria, both Russia and China have taken a more assertive stance than the one they took in the case of Libya. What Russian and Chinese diplomats observed however, was that the USA, together with the GCC member states, Israel, and some NATO member states, continued waging a covert war because a Security Council resolution was prevented by Russia and China. Not enough with that, both Russian and Chinese security experts must have become even more disquieted, when France began manufacturing a war in Mali. (17
Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, and to a certain extent also EU member states are today confronted by a USA, which a) has deployed missile systems along Russian – Chinese borders or strategically near to them in Europe and Turkey, along the borders or in former Soviet Republics in the Greater Middle East, all the way to Afghanistan, and again from the Republic of South Korea to Japan and back to Alaska. This “String Of Missiles” to draw an analogy with the so-called Chinese “String Of Pearls” is providing the USA at least a perceived nuclear first strike capability.
b) What Russian, Iranian, North Korean Chinese and other potentially targeted nations observe is a USA, which manufactures low-intensity conflicts underneath this nuclear umbrella, attempts to legitimize these conflicts by procuring the UN (NATO), and in cases like Syria, where the strategy fails, the USA and allies will engage a strategy of relentless state-sponsored terrorism until the primary objective is eventually reached.
A Critical Point of Resistance
The primary reasons for the crisis, in Syria and elsewhere are, that the USA has reached its growth limits with regard to a Petro-Dollar, which becomes worthless at the moment the USA stops expanding militarily. One could describe the situation of the USA with a person who is standing at the edge of a cliff.
It is terrified of falling into the abyss and yet, all it knows to do is to continue rushing forward. Exactly the same analogy can be applied to France with regard to its policy in central Africa.(18 The new-found French-American friendship is primarily based in, that they both believe that they need to rush forward to prevent falling into the abyss in front of them, so they can as well run together. In their fall, they both prevent the development of national economies, of a middle class and market potentials which could be beneficial for those under attack as well as for the attackers, who drag their victims with them into the abyss.
Quantitative easing, helicopter economy, fractural reserve banking systems including the Federal Reserve Bank are about to meet their logical limits and whether it is possible to prolong the agony of their death depends very much on Syria. I wish that I could suggest a comprehensive conflict resolution model for the crisis in Syria, but that would require policy changes so drastic, so unspeakable, so utterly unrealistic under the present US economic system, that it would be wasted time to excel in promoting them for the benefit of those who are so afraid of falling into the abyss that they won´t listen to the voices who assure them that they can see terra firma behind them and that there is no need to take the next step into the inevitable abyss.
For the people of Syria, the best solution is to stand united against terrorism while settling political disputes in the process of national dialog and in parliament. For Russia and China, as a means of self-preservation, and while trying to reason with those who stand at the abyss, the best possible course of action would be to unite with other potentially targeted nations in the worlds first, and real “War on Terrorism” in all of its forms, independent on by whom, where, or when it is planned, carried out, supported, or covered up. The time, where Russia or China could afford to let diplomatic etiquette dictate largess with regard to low-intensity conflict, in the light of low-intensity conflicts all along their southern and eastern borders, under the umbrella of a nuclear missile shield, has passed a critical point. I am certain that both Russia and China, based on their own best interest, are more than willing to continue reaching out to the USA while becoming increasingly assertive.
For the USA and any of its allies, the best possible advise is to listen to the voice of reason and to begin open and frank discussions with Russia, with China, with the BRICS, ASEAN, ALBA, about how to develop a “real” New World Order”.
President Bashar al-Assad, the Optomologist who never wanted to become President of the Syrian Arab Republic and who took the responsibility of the Presidential Office on him after his brother was assassinated, was absolutely right in his evaluation, that an open attack on Syria would ignite a war from Africa to the Pacific Ocean. Syria “is” the key and there is an enormous responsibility resting on the people of Syria to solve “their crisis”, brought upon them or not, peacefully.
In fact the colossal responsibility that rests on the Syrian peoples shoulders can only be compared to the responsibility of the American citizens, who need to take their government back from those who have usurped it. The rest of us are best served with supporting both the Syrian and American people at precisely that.
CH/L – nsnbc 27.02.2013