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Akhbar al-Khaleej , Bahrain

This Catastrophic Agreement

By Sayyed Zahra

Concluding an agreement in this manner and depicting it as a binding contract for everyone is meant to establish a principle that essentially says the U.S. and Russia have the right to settle an Arab issue on their own and then impose their decision on everyone else.

Translated By Melissa Gallo

16 September 2013

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Bahrain - Akhbar al-Khaleej - Original Article (Arabic)

The deal the United States and Russia have reached on Syrian chemical weapons is a catastrophe in every sense of the word — both for the Syrian people and Arab countries in general. If Arab nations were to take the appropriate position, they would reject this agreement. I will explain the reasons for this.

As for the Syrian people — indeed, like many have said — this agreement represents a collusion against them and blatant disregard for their bleeding wounds and continuous crimes violating their rights. This agreement reduces the tragedy of the Syrian people to the single issue of chemical weapons and their criminal use, but it does not even get close to addressing the crimes committed against them, nor the daily aircraft, tank and missile killings and slaughter. From now on, there will only be talk about chemical weapons with regard to Syria under this agreement: This one issue will preoccupy the world. The suffering of the Syrian people, killing and destruction, and Syria's fate as a whole will be issues deferred to God’s will and left for the Syrian people to figure out.

Then, there is the significance of this agreement and what it means for Arab countries. There are extremely dangerous aspects to signing this deal that many have forgotten in the flood of talks focusing only on the situation in Syria. Before anything else, we must ask who gave the U.S. and Russia the right to decide the fate of a country like Syria — alone and behind closed doors, in a situation like this.

When the U.S. threatened military strikes against Syria, we said it has no legal, political or moral right to unilaterally undertake such aggression. Now, we also say that the U.S. and Russia have no legal, political or moral right to decide in an affair of this nature on their own. Note that when the U.S. and Russia agreed on the Syrian chemical weapons issue, they did not say they had put forward an initiative or presented a joint proposal but that they had concluded a contract. It was portrayed as if this agreement were binding for everyone merely because the two of them had agreed to its terms. The U.S. and Russia granted themselves a right that is not theirs and willfully imposed directives that find no support in international law. Had there been a general agreement for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons or guaranteeing their discontinued use against the people, then — logically and legally — this should have been accomplished within an international framework, acceptable to the international community, meaning the United Nations and nowhere else.

We ought to keep in mind the obvious — that Syria is an Arab country. Therefore, the Syrian issue is fundamentally an Arab issue. Of course, in many ways, the tragic developments in Syria have become a regional and global matter concerning the whole world, but this does not negate that it is mainly an Arab issue. We say this because most dangerous about this agreement is how it completely ignores all the Arab countries — either individually or those the Arab League collectively represents. The U.S. and Russia prepared this deal and agreed on it behind closed doors without considering any other opinion or involving any Arab country. We do not know exactly what the other underlying aspects are of the agreement or understandings between the U.S. and Russia.

The complete disregard for the Arab world not only shows contempt for Arab nations and their will, but it also means something more dangerous. Concluding an agreement in this manner and depicting it as a binding contract for everyone is meant to establish a principle that essentially says the U.S. and Russia have the right to settle an Arab issue on their own and then impose their decision on everyone else. Conducting a deal in this way sets an extremely dangerous precedent in how world powers deal with Arab countries and Arab issues.

If this deal goes through without Arab reservations — about the deal itself or how it was reached behind their back, even though it is an Arab matter — then this approach might repeat itself in any future Arab crisis. At that time, in any internal crisis, in any Arab country, we should not be surprised to find the U.S. and Russia meeting, coming to a conclusion, and demanding the sides give in to their agreement.

In light of all this, Arab nations and the Arab League must publicly criticize this agreement, especially from the angle that the U.S. and Russia do not have the right to independently settle any Arab issue in the first place — that is, if we want to preserve respect and sovereignty for our state and avoid the risks of international conspiracy and collusion at our expense.



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