John Kerry’s murky game
Posted by seumasach on March 12, 2013
10th March, 2013
The implementation of the peace plan for Syria negotiated between Russians and Americans is running at a standstill. First there was the delay in the confirmation of the new U.S. security team by the Senate. Then, inconsistent if not contradictory statements by the new Secretary of State, John Kerry.
Anyway, two new elements can be established.
• The activism of Saudi Arabia and Qatar has been reinforced with the apparent agreement of the Department of State.
At a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart, John Kerry twice repeated the US commitment to a “peaceful solution” in Syria. But two minutes later, he approved the sending of Saudi Arabian arms to the Syrian “moderate” opposition. Kerry reiterated these contradictions during his visit to Qatar.
At the symbolic level, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have attributed the Syrian seat of the Arab League to the Syrian National Coalition. In addition, upon request, the League has authorized its members to arm the “ Syrian rebels.” It is impossible that members of the League have voted for these actions without prior approval from Mr. Kerry.
In international law, claiming or approving the unilateral sending of weapons to rebel groups, absent a resolution of the Security Council, is a crime. If Syria filed a complaint before the International Court of Justice, for sure she would get a condemnation of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, the Arab League and several others under the precedent set in “Nicaragua vs USA ”(1984).
The initiative of the Arab League denies any credibility to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Lakhdar Brahimi. The old diplomat can not expect to play mediator as he represents a de facto party to the conflict, the Syrian National Coalition, even if it does not yet occupy the seat that was assigned.
• The Israelis have stepped up sycophantic efforts to help everyone forget their interference in the U.S. presidential campaign. Come to Washington to attend the AIPAC annual conference, General Ehud Barak gushed compliments to U.S. authorities, ensuring them that they had never been so close to the state of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, gave up for the first time to travel and chose to intervene via video so he does not have to meet face-to-face with leaders who would take him to task. The quarrel is thus reduced to a personal matter in order to not affect relations between states.
Ehud Barak was received at the Pentagon by his U.S. counterpart, Chuck Hagel, with whom he has developed a good relationship in the past. The Israeli obtained that U.S. aid (about $ 3 billion annually) not be affected by budget cuts. In return, he ceded over Syria. In the Department of Defense press release, it is clear that the two sides discussed issues of common security “including the need for the Syrian regime to maintain its control over its chemical and biological weapons; the leaders committed to continue planning emergency measures to counter this potential threat. “
In other words, Washington and Tel Aviv are no longer considering “regime change” in Damascus, and agreed to help the Syrian Arab army maintain control of its chemical and biological weapons in the event of jihadists attacks.
Israel is withdrawing from the conflict. To wit: two days after this turnaround, on the Syrian coast they revealed and dismantled a complex system of Israeli electronic monitoring and communication.
• In the final analysis, the United States is looking to militarily disengage itself and its alter ego Israel, then encourage their Gulf allies to escalate a military and diplomatic blockade. It is still too early to determine if they are double dealing and setting a trap for Russia at the expense of the Syrian people, or if they are pushing their Gulf allies into an impasse to better impose the solution negotiated with Moscow.