Bashar al-Assad still beats Turkey and Gulf states

Bashar al-Assad still beats Turkey and Gulf states

The most interesting thing in Annan’s plan is that it does not call for Bashar al-Assad to leave power.

Syria has agreed to the plan of peaceful settlement of the situation suggested by UN special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan and supported by the UN Security Council. The peace plan developed with the participation of Russia and the League of Arab States (LAS), suggests an end to violence on both sides, non-interference in the affairs of Syria from outside, access by humanitarian organizations into the country and establishment of a monitoring mechanism.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Let us recall that earlier Syrian authorities had agreed also to other peace initiatives, but the rebels opposing to President al-Assad treated the agreements skeptically. Opposition principally demands that Bashar al-Assad resign from the post of the Syrian president. All sorts of peace plans the opponents of the regime agree to discuss only after the fulfillment of this precondition.

Her contribution to the failure of these arrangements made also U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, accusing al-Assad of “over-promising and under-delivering.” “If he is ready to bring this dark chapter in Syria’s history to a close he can prove it by immediately ordering regime forces to stop firing and begin withdrawing from populated areas,” added the head of the U.S. Department of State. Similar statements were made also by other Western countries. Earlier, the UN reported that more than 9000 people had been killed since the protests began last March. However, as already reported, the UN data are based only on information received from the opposition, and therefore cannot be considered absolutely reliable.

Hillary Clinton also stated that Bashar al-Assad must begin preparing for a democratic transfer of power. She also called on opposition groups to, “Come forward with a unified position, a vision of the kind of Syria they are wishing to build”. But the opposition has no unified position - the only thing that brings them together is the hatred for Assad and the desire to establish Islamic laws in Syria. However, most opposition groups that recently participated in the Istanbul meeting finally agreed to unite behind the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main Opposition group, which would be the “formal interlocutor and formal representative of the Syrian people”. But Syrian people themselves are definitely not ready to be represented by Islamic militants from “Al Qaeda” and “Muslim Brotherhood”. These are the basic kernel of the rebels, no matter what the UN, U.S. and Arab League say. The Istanbul meeting also revealed the disagreement within the Syrian opposition: representatives of different groups were constantly arguing with each other and leaving the meeting room in token of protest.

The most interesting thing in Annan’s plan is that it does not call for Bashar al-Assad to leave power. The plan was presented to Moscow and Beijing, which support Syria. According to BBC, Annan's six-point peace plan includes: 1. Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, 2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians, 3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause, 4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, 5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists, 6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully.

In fact, Annan “did not fulfill” what he was expected to by Arab countries: the Syrian president won’t resign. Neither was he going to. But the important thing about all this is that oil monarchies of the Gulf together with Turkey were left with nothing, and it is good not only for Syria and Iran, but also for the Middle East.

The second “Friends of Syria” conference due in Istanbul on April 2, once again without Russia and China, is doomed to failure. As for the LAS summit in Baghdad, it opened with a strong explosion in the city center. The summit, entirely devoted to the discussion of Syrian events, was opened despite the explosion. Among participants of the forum were nine heads of state, including Kuwait’s emir, who was on the first visit to Iraq since 1990, when Saddam Hussein’s troops invaded his country. The summit was also attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Last time Iraq hosted the Arab League summit in 1990, just months before the invasion of Saddam Hussein into Kuwait. In addition, this has been the first summit of the League since the “Arab spring” that swept the region last year. The forum is taking place against the background of the conflict in Syria, which seems to never end. The main meeting of the Arab country leaders is scheduled for Thursday. Although experts believe that the participants will hardly be throwing plates at each other, as it was at the previous summit in Iraq, some tension still exists. This summit is also remarkable from the religious point of view. Shiites dominate in the current Iraqi leadership, while the leaders of other member states are Sunni. At the same time Iraq is experiencing a period of sectarian strife, which is manifested in its domestic policy - the Sunnis complain that they have no place in the Maliki government.

Meanwhile, last week there were several explosions in Iraq, which were to demonstrate instability of the current government. The responsibility for them was taken by Islamic militants. Iraqi authorities brought out tens of thousands of security forces to the streets to prevent violence during the summit.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan
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