Etiket arşivi: Kerry-Lavrov

Aleppo’s Continuing Tragedy

December 19, 2016

The tragedy of Aleppo which has become the symbol of the devastation and the suffering caused by the Syrian conflict appears to have entered a new phase. The agreement reached between Russia and Turkey for the evacuation of rebel fighters and civilians from Aleppo was off to a rocky start characterized by confusion and setbacks. Understandably, this was not going to be smooth process. Because, regime forces regard all rebel fighters as terrorists regardless of their group affiliation and would be extremely reluctant to let them go with their arms to resume fighting elsewhere. If a substantial number of civilians caught in the crossfire can be evacuated in the coming days this would in itself be a major accomplishment. Okumaya devam et

The Battle for Aleppo and Beyond

December 12, 2016

On December 4, 2016 Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the Saban Forum (*). More than anything else he vented pent-up frustration with the Middle East. He was extremely blunt in his criticism of Israel’s settlement policy. And, this is how he described the complexity of the Syrian conflict:

“… There are about six wars in Syria, folks. I mean, you’ve got Saudi Arabia and Iran, you’ve got Israel and Hizballah, you’ve got Turk versus – you’ve got Turk versus Kurd, Kurd versus Kurd, Kurd versus Turk, PKK, you’ve got Sunni-Shia, you’ve got oppositionists against Assad, you’ve got – I mean, it’s just – it’s extraordinarily complicated in the proxyism.

“So you’ve got Turkey with its interests – its own Islamic and other interests – you’ve got the differences between Egypt and Kuwait and the Emirates versus Saudi, Qatari, and Turk…” Okumaya devam et

Syria: A Bleak Future

October 4, 2016

On February 22, the United States and the Russian Federation, Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), issued the “Joint Statement on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria”. As a first reaction, even the most optimistic observers remained cautious. Pessimists were easier to find. Indeed, on the one hand this was a positive development, at least an effort to bring some though enough specificity to the hitherto broadly expressed concept of a ceasefire. And most importantly, this was the first time since the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons that Russia and the US had a detailed agreement regarding the Syrian conflict. On the other hand, the complexity of the ground situation with more than a hundred fighting groups, shifting alliances and lack of monitors were huge challenges. One could say, therefore, that the Joint Statement marked the beginning of a frustrating “ceasefire process” with many ups and downs. It was obvious that agreeing on who is a “moderate” and who is a “terrorist” would constitute a major challenge in a region characterized by murky relationships. Okumaya devam et

Syria: Scant Hope for a Breakthrough

September 26, 2016

On February 22, 2016, the US and the Russian Federation, Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), issued the “Joint Statement on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria”. Six months later, in the absence of any progress, they decided to revive it. At a joint press conference in Geneva both Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov underlined that the agreement they were announcing would only hold if the regime, the opposition and others met their obligations. Mr. Kerry said that the Russians have an ability to encourage Assad, and the US has an ability together with other countries to encourage the opposition. Yet, twelve days later he told the UN Security Council (UNSC) that the agreement was “shredded by independent actors, by spoilers who don’t want a ceasefire”. The immediate reasons for the failure were a mistaken attack by coalition aircraft on Syrian government forces killing more than sixty soldiers and the controversy regarding the attack on a UN humanitarian aid convoy. In reality these are only the symptoms of multiple conflicts of interest facing Russia and the US in forging a united front in Syria. Okumaya devam et

A Critical Meeting in Moscow

July 20, 2016

The need for US-Russian cooperation for the resolution of Middle East problems, prominently among them the Syrian conflict, had been obvious from the start (1). On February 22, the United States and the Russian Federation, Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), issued the “Joint Statement on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria”. Since then, it has also been obvious that reaching a common understanding on “who is a terrorist and who is not” would be a key issue (2). Because, under the terms of the “Cessation”, Russia and the US were expected to delineate, with other members of the ISSG’s Ceasefire Task Force, the territory held by “Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra” and other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council” which were excluded from the cessation of hostilities. This was to prove a difficult task in view of the complicated ground situation and the diverse interests involved. Okumaya devam et

A Roadmap to End the Syria Conflict

November 16, 2015

On September 28, hours after having delivered clashing remarks, Presidents Obama and Putin met on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly. Three days later, on September 30, Russia started airstrikes in Syria. A month later, on October 30, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States met in Vienna and issued a communiqué on the Syria conflict. The same day, the White House announced that President Obama had ordered fewer than fifty Special Operations troops into Syria to advise local forces fighting the Islamic State (ISIL). The next day, on October 31, Russian airliner Metrojet’s Airbus flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg crashed over Sinai with 224 people on board. And finally on November 13, ISIL struck Paris claiming more than a hundred victims and leaving hundreds wounded.

The foregoing is a six-week summary of major developments related to the Syria conflict. Okumaya devam et

Time to Put Arab Boots on the Ground

7 June 2015

On 17 December 2010 a Tunisian, Mohammed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in an act of protest. This was followed in many Arab countries by widespread demonstrations calling for democracy, respect for human rights, a better life and more equitable sharing of national wealth. All that the world sees after nearly five years of Arab Spring is internal strife, war, displacement of people and suffering.

Underlying the current state of affairs are ideological differences, power struggles, tribal and regional conflicts of interest and above all sectarian divisions. But whatever the reason, Arab Spring’s constant feature is Arabs fighting Arabs in endless fratricide. This has created great opportunities for terrorist organizations such as Daesh, al Qaida and al Nusra to entrench themselves across the region and in the case of Daesh claim large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. In the face of such disaster Arab countries remain as divided as ever thereby rendering the concept of “the Arab nation”, once referred to with well-deserved pride and later aspired to with hope, a total myth. Okumaya devam et