Ambush Geneva?

In his speech at the opening session of the Geneva II meeting at Montreux, John Kerry laid out the US position regarding the conflict in Syria. The bottom line: Assad must go. He later blamed the Assad regime for the presence of jihadists in Syria, stating that, Assad was «a one-man super magnet for terrorism.” The US blamed the destruction of the country and the internal/external displacement of millions of Syrians on the Assad regime. Imagine for a moment that some one would excuse the September Eleventh terrorist attacks on the US by stating that it was US policy in the Middle East that has led al-Qaeda to attack the US. Imagine what Kerry would have done had he heard such an excuse. Terrorist attacks must be condemned unequivocally, unconditionally, and directly anywhere they take place regardless of the perpetrator. A more outrageous matter was that Kerry did not mention who sent terrorists in great numbers to Syria and who had facilitated their entry and supplied them with arms and funds. The answers to those questions are clear: orchestrated by the US, Gulf Arab states have supplied the funds, recruited fighters and planned strategy with the aid of Western and regional powers for a war on Syria that has now crossed borders to Lebanon. Parenthetically one should note that a few days later at Davos, Kerry defended US Middle East policy from its detractors when he stated that his country has contributed much towards solving crises in the region. A classic example of US problem-solving is the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations! Those have been going intermittently since 1993 under the auspices of the US and have led to more loss of Palestinian lives and land. The US neither condemned nor punished Israeli state terrorism. Instead, it condemned the Palestinian struggle for independence and against Israeli terrorism. The US had supported the 2006 Israeli destruction of Lebanon in the name of fighting terrorism. Another example of US crisis-solving efforts would be the agreement with the Muslim Brothers regionally to rule, for example, in Egypt and Tunisia. In fact, it is such interventions that made the peoples of the region oppose US policy, but without resorting to terrorism to counter it.

Kerry’s pronouncements at Montreux and Davos fall within the same pattern of hypocrisy that the US has fed the peoples of the region for decades. The US agreed to the Geneva II meeting in January 2014 after having all of its ducks in order for a major smart-power offensive against Syria and anyone in the region who opposes the US. In preparation for Geneva II, the US prevailed over the Russian Federation in deciding who represented the opposition. Hence, the opposition with overwhelming representation among the Syrian people was not allowed to attend Geneva II. It was the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), a creature of the US, devised in Doha under the direction of Hillary Clinton, the previous Secretary of State, that the US insisted be the opposition representative. The spectacle of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon first inviting Iran to attend the meeting then withdrawing that invitation under the pretext that Iran manipulated and deceived the Secretary General regarding the Geneva I agreement, spoke volumes as to who really was in the driver’s seat orchestrating events. It is no secret that the US, UK and France exerted considerable pressure on Ban Ki-moon to rescind the invitation.

Ahmad Jarba came out swinging against the regime and scored several points. The more significant matter strategically was that the US had established the SNC as the representative of the Syrian opposition. Geneva II has set the stage for the next US move in its smart-power strategy. One would expect more aggressive actions by which the US would heavily arm the «Free Syrian Army” and the «Islamic Front” in the hope that both would score military victories against the Syrian regime. Whatever disagreements might have occurred between the US and Saudi Arabia, performances at Geneva II had a great deal in bridging them, leading to a more unified post-Geneva II smart-power strategy. Here a word about Lebanon is apropos: the charade of the US and Saudi Arabia accepting the formation of a government encompassing all political rivals, falls in this strategic line emanating from Geneva II. All it does is postpone the day of reckoning for US enemies in Lebanon. Once US strategy triumphs in Syria, the US hopes that the rest would fall in line, including Lebanon and Palestine.

However, the US does not know how the Russians, Iranians, Syrians and their allies would counter. Even though the US has designed Geneva II to be an ambush of sorts, Russian diplomacy cannot be underestimated. Nor should the Syrian regime. Rapid military successes as a result of a major offensive have the potential of pulling the rug from underneath US plans for its ongoing proxy war in Syria (and the region?).

Should the US use the Geneva II card as a pretext to return to the UN Security Council for a UN-sanctioned military action against Syria, then that (mis) calculation would bring back all parties to square one. In such a case, the prospects of an all out regional war would rear its ugly head again.

Death and destruction might be profitable for the transnational corporations and their representatives in the major capitalist countries, but the peoples of the region (and the world) have no interest in such a regional conflagration. Therefore it would be up to them to oppose the imperial hegemon and institute freedom, democracy and prosperity.

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