Dar al-Hayat, U.K.
Waiting for the Coup d’Etat
By Hassan Haidar
[B]ecause the Americans can't and don't want to interfere militarily ... Obama focused ... on convincing Putin that it is Russia's responsibility to come up with a solution ... These circumstances leave Moscow with one option for salvaging what it can: a military coup.
Translated By Elissa Krieg
21 June 2012
Edited by Audrey Agot
U.K. - Dar al-Hayat - Original Article (Arabic)
The forty minutes that Obama and Putin spent together regarding the Syrian issue concluded with confirmation of the indirect, unspoken American charge to Russia: find a solution to the Syrian crisis while protecting its interests, and at the same time leading to the desired change. But, Russia's options seem to be severely limited in light of the circumstances. Washington, the Syrian opposition, and the rest of the world, do not want to restrict any plans that would end the violence and deal with the security issue. Instead they want to multiply them until they become a transitional political solution, because the Russians refuse to make political change a precondition for stopping the violence. But because the Americans can't and don't want to interfere militarily because of their economy and elections, as well as other reasons associated with Israel's fear of the “Sunni crescent” which stretches from Turkey to Tunisia (passing through Gaza), and because of the fundamental lack of international legal coverage, Obama focused the meeting on convincing Putin that it is Russia's responsibility to come up with a solution that satisfies the demands of both parties.
President Putin strove not to show acceptance of the American charge, because that would destroy his credibility as a reliable ally. However, he used the later meetings with European leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande to leak features of the prospective solution, which includes lack of attachment to Assad's continued presence.
Russia's resistance is mostly due to the absence of any guarantees of its interests by the alternative power to Syria's current leadership. Putin emphasized in his speeches what he considers the "failure" of the transition periods in Libya and Egypt, since violence and tensions continue and threaten to spread and make both countries victims of internal struggles for a long time.
Likewise, Assad, who summarily refuses to step down (although he realizes the enormous pressures on Russia), dispatched his advisor Bethina Shaaban to Moscow on the eve of the Mexican meetings to remind Russia that its interests will be endangered if it casts Syria off. Whatever the alternative is, Russia will not forget its support for the Syrian regime. So the Americans said that they knew the Russians faced threats, and that they believed what Russia said about sending battleships to the Syrian coast in preparation to withdraw their troops and equipment if the threats should reach the point of action.
These circumstances leave Moscow with one option for salvaging what it can: a military coup. All the officers, some of them higher officers, would overthrow Assad and form a military council. They would announce a total stop to the security operations, release those detained, and then lead a transition period. This period could last for two years and see parliamentary elections and a new constitution. It could end with the election of a president, which would give Moscow time to negotiate with the emergent power in Syria about Russia's strategic interests.
This solution of the role of the military council would need acceptance from the various opposition factions, in order for the council to work for the national interest after the division of sects and religions that Assad kindled. They will also need to agree to stop all armed action, seeing that they have claimed to carry weapons only to defend themselves, and they must commit to plurality through the protection of the interests and role of minorities.
The question is whether a Russian arrangement like this can fool the Syrian opposition: will they accept a plan that doesn't pull up the regime by its roots? The answer will certainly be negative in the shadow of the international blockade on Assad and his army's decreased capacity to take decisive action. Anxiety is spreading to sections of society which have sat on the fence until now, but the Americans, Turks and others may take it upon themselves to win them over.
CLICK HERE FOR