Kerry’s Hazy Syrian Diplomacy

The press around the world has exaggerated its welcome of the U.N. Security Council’s resolution for a settlement in Syria. The text from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry supporting the resolution does not adopt any real solution for the situation in Syria. Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on Bashar Assad being removed as part of a transitional stage in Syria, the text that the agreement was based on is foggy at best. There is not a single thing in it regarding the primary obstacle for the war in Syria, which is mainly removing Bashar Assad from power. As for a ceasefire, according to the agreement, this is to correspond with a political transition and enter into force when both the representatives from the Syrian government and opposition put procedures in place for such a transition. This decision, which Kerry was so quick to endorse, seems as if it is a Christmas present that the U.S. secretary of state wanted to congratulate himself for, successfully creating a resounding diplomatic show. However, this resolution has nothing to do with what is happening on the ground in Syria and is merely giving Russia and Iran a key to a solution in Syria.

Clearly, the policy of this American administration toward Syria and Iran is disastrous. Obama’s diplomacy does not care about what is happening. It does not concern itself with the killing and migration of millions of Syrians, which has been occurring for more than four years. Bashar Assad led the killing, suppression and destruction of his country until the appearance of the Islamic State, which has penetrated and threatened the region and the entire world. All the Obama administration and Secretary of State Kerry want is to show the diplomatic achievements, and not just the concessions to the Russians and Iranians, without any solution for the conflict in Syria. All Obama wanted was to to reveal an agreement with Iran and lift the sanctions on the country, whatever Iran’s destructive policies in the region might be. The most important thing for Obama was to limit Iran’s nuclear capability. The U.S. administration will be quick in lifting the sanctions on Iran in the middle of January. Europe will do the same to restore normal economic relations with Iran in conjunction with punishing some Lebanese banks that possess finances belonging to Hezbollah.

This contradiction in attitude is certainly strange and peculiar. It is the view of the U.S. administration that there is no relationship between Hezbollah and Iran, nor a relationship between the Iranian regime and Bashar Assad. Some, including the secretary general of the United Nations, have praised the Security Council’s resolution regarding Syria, and how the Special Representative de Mistura will gather representatives from the Syrian government and opposition in January for negotiations at the United Nations. These negotiations regarding the path to a transition, after six months, will supposedly lead to a credible government that will include a wide array of actors and be nonsectarian. However, the Security Council resolution is vague as to who will represent the opposition at these negotiations with the regime. This is especially relevant as France and Arab countries at a conference in Riyadh sought, for the time, to unify the Syrian opposition and form a political body to participate in the talks in Vienna. However, the Security Council’s resolution passes completely over the opposition that participated at the conference in Riyadh and criticized Russia and Iran. Also, the opposition did not seem cut and clear with Kerry, who was afraid of antagonizing the Russians at the conference. Kerry is therefore betting on being able to attract the Russians to a pathway that leads to guaranteeing U.S. interests in Syria and its goal of weakening the Islamic State group before sacrificing Bashar Assad. However, his gamble will lead to the opposite outcome, with a strong likelihood that Russian President Vladimir Putin, armed under the pretext of bombing the Islamic State group, is securing Bashar Assad’s position. Clearly, Obama’s policy with regards to Syria, Iran, and the Middle East region will be like the disaster George Bush supplanted in Iraq.

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