United Nations[-Arab League] Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi begins his mission this week supposedly to find a peaceful solution to the 18-month-old conflict.
With thousands of civilians dead, wounded or displaced from their homes and with an estimated 2.5 million people - more than 10 percent of the population - in need of basic humanitarian aid, Brahimi’s task is indeed onerous.
There is some hope expressed by a few commentators that the veteran Algerian diplomat may find a solution to the crisis from consultations with a new ad hoc regional quartet of countries consisting of Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Brahimi took over from Kofi Annan last month when the latter resigned out of frustration that his three-month-old peace plan failed to bring an end to the violence.
Unfortunately, a realistic assessment of Brahimi’s chance of success in restoring peace to Syria gives him a mission impossible. Indeed, a skeptical view of the envoy’s purpose in Syria is that he is not arriving to genuinely explore a path to peace, but rather to lend a diplomatic cover for the ongoing foreign-backed destabilization of that country. By obscuring the real nature of the conflict, Brahimi’s intervention can only lead to more duress for the Syrian government and its people.
The diplomat previously admitted that he is pessimistic of success when he first took over from Annan. However, he did not specify the reasons for his pessimism. One suspects that Brahimi knows the enormity of the problem and that he is tacitly aware of the array of barely veiled forces that are determined to destroy the state of Syria.
His predecessor Kofi Annan acknowledged that the Syrian government had engaged with his six-point plan in April, but that the armed opposition - and more importantly their foreign sponsors - did not reciprocate. Annan shamefully did not voice this key insight too loudly. That’s because the former UN secretary general is a trusted lackey to Western powers.
Brahimi, another UN career diplomat dependent on the favor of Western powers, seems to be operating on the same flawed premises as Annan in his approach to the Syrian problem.
Why the prospect for peace in Syria is remote is because the premise of the problem put forward by Brahimi, the Western powers, and their regional allies is entirely faulty, as it was when previously proffered by Annan. This premise is that the Syrian government of President Bashar Al Assad and its armed forces are primarily responsible for the violence.
This warped view of the Syrian conflict has been amplified and regurgitated relentlessly by the Western news media.
In this view, the Syrian armed forces are obliged to take the first step of ceasing military operations. Then, the armed opposition groups are expected to call off their campaign.
The second part to this equation simply will not happen. This is because the Western powers led by the US, Britain and France have given ample notice that they will accept nothing short of Bashar Al Assad’s removal from power. The Western powers want regime change.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, announced on her trip to the APEC summit in Russia at weekend that Washington “will work with like-minded states to support the Syrian opposition to hasten the day Assad falls.”
Clinton, and her British and French counterparts, William Hague and Laurent Fabius, have gone even further than calling for Assad’s downfall by sinisterly noting “his days are numbered” - words that have an unmistakable echo of the NATO-assisted murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi last year.
European Union foreign ministers meeting in Cyprus last week also reiterated the demand that the Assad government must be sacked. The ministers called for a ratcheting up of economic sanctions against Syria.
The third part of the equation that is lacking in Brahimi’s premise of the Syrian crisis is the massive covert involvement of the Western powers and their regional allies, Turkey, Israel and the Persian Gulf monarchies in the conflict. The escalation of violence, suffering and deaths in Syria over the past 18 months is directly attributable to the foreign sponsors of the assorted militia groups. What’s more, this external fuelling of violence was instigated from the beginning of the unrest in Syria in March 2011, which nullifies the notion that the conflict is the primary responsibility of the Damascus government.
It is well documented that the Persian Gulf monarchies have plied the country with as much as $100 million to pay for weapons and other materials for the Sunni extremist mercenaries. Special forces from the US, Britain, France and Israel have been operating on the ground from the outset to ensure that the weapons supplies are used to devastating effect. The spate of sophisticated car bombs and mortars ripping through the capital Damascus and the country’s second city Aleppo, targeting hospitals and civilians, suggest that these Western agents are running amok with their deadly expertise.
France is reported to have announced that it is willing to supply the mercenaries with anti-aircraft missiles, just as these armed groups warned that they are going to target airports and civilian flights.
As for the new ad hoc regional quartet of countries that Brahimi is due to consult over Syria, Iran is conspicuous in giving alone its support to calls by the Assad government for a negotiated solution with Syrian opposition groups. This inclusive approach reiterates the Geneva accord that Russia and China endorsed in June. The other members of the quartet, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have made their hostility to Syria’s Assad plain and implacable. Only last week, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced President Assad as “a terrorist” and that “he must go.”
The Western powers officially signed up to the Geneva accord, but in every rhetorical and practical way since then these powers have acted with duplicity to sabotage that roadmap.
To find a peaceful solution to Syria’s crisis, a realistic premise to the nature of the problem must be understood. Syria is in crisis because an array of foreign countries led by the US, Britain and France, and including Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are assiduously tearing that country and its people asunder through a covert, criminal war of aggression.
In this context, the Syrian government and state forces are performing a sovereign duty by defending their country from external aggression. For any peaceful solution to take place, the onus for a ceasefire is on the foreign-backed insurgents. Moreover, their foreign sponsors should be prosecuted for perpetrating a criminal conspiracy and crimes against humanity, and they should be pursued to pay billions of dollars in reparations.
Brahimi’s premise is, by contrast, a Western propagandized version of the Syrian crisis. As such his intervention as currently formulated will only compound and conceal the problem further and will add to the suffering of the Syrian people enduring a foreign-backed campaign of terror. In this way, the diplomat bears a poisoned chalice, not a peaceful solution. Sip from it at your peril.