21.09.2013 Author: Petr Lvov

Iranian take on the Russia’s peaceful initiatives in Syria.


Source: Flickr

During his speech at the Valdai conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that the chemical attack in Syria that took place on August 21 was fabricated to set Damascus up. In order to do this the rebels used the outdated jet-propelled projectiles of the USSR origin that were discarded from service in the Syrian armed forces a while ago. Russia’s leader has reminded the international community that there were other cases of WMD usage in Syria, all of which have to be thoroughly investigated by the UN.

There’s a handful of cases that demand investigation, staring with the March case of chemical weapons usage in Aleppo, proceeding to the case when the Turkish special forces have arrested 12 Jabhat al-Nusra militants in May that were trying to smuggle sarin across the Syrian border. Nobody pressed charges against those militants and later on they were miraculously released. And finally the story of the BRITAM Defense attempt to smuggle sarin gas shells across the Libyan border and orchestrate a chemical attack on the Syrian soil. Why concentrate solely on the Gouta case, if the major powers really want the truth to be told? But truth will take a considerable amount of time to be unveiled, time will also play a major role in the analysis that Russian experts are going to provide based on the materials that were presented to Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov during his recent visit to Damascus.

And while investigations continue, New-York saw the first round of negotiations between the five permanent UN Security Council members. The three Western members prepared a draft of a resolution on Syrian chemical weapons. The talks lasted for more that three hours straight and yet the “big five” failed to reach a consensus. The thing is – the United States, the Great Britain and France are eager to see in this resolution a paragraph that will justify military intervention in Syria, if they deem it necessary. Yet it’s crystal clear that Russia and China cannot allow this to happen so the “big three” will have to back down if the consensus is ever to be reached. This delays the resolution for a week at best and if the Western members of the Security Council are going to make a vote on the draft in its present edition, Russia and China will be forced to exercise their veto yet again. Should this happen the Syrian conflict will be out of the UN jurisdiction for the second time and the White House will be tempted to go “all in” on the military intervention plan. This ultimately is the moment of truth – the moment when we’ll be able to see what Washington is up for. Does it really trying to settle the conflict or delaying the ruthless military aggression that should be justified by the claims that Assad is not going to keep the promises he made.

The media around the Globe keeps on speculating on the Syrian possible surrender of the chemical stockpiles. And the leaders here are the Iranian journalists that seem to be alerted by such a prospect. For instance Hamshahri newspaper wrote on September 14 shortly after the official announcement of the Geneva agreements: “Two and a half years later, while the conflict in Syria rages on, after tens of meeting Russia and the United States held while they had quite the opposite viewpoints, out of the blue a three days long meeting in Geneva between the two high-profile diplomats allowed them to reach an agreement”. In the same issue you can find a detailed analysis of the press-conference that Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry gave after the negotiations. A particular attention was paid to the following statement of the U.S. Secretary of State: “: And I want to thank Sergey Lavrov for his diligent efforts and the efforts of his entire delegation, who worked hard and in good faith to overcome difficulties, and even disagreements, in order to try to find a way, through tireless efforts, to get us where we are today.” As for the statements made by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the newspaper underlined the following: “The successful realization of this agreement will have meaning not only from the point of view of the common goal of liquidating and destructing all arsenals of chemical weapons, but also to avoid the military scenario that would be catastrophic for this region and for the international relations on the whole.”

On the same date another Iranian newspaper – Javan has publish a corresponding article but under a completely different topping: “Russia and the USA agreed to control Syria”. At the same issue the Javan observer Fatima Sanai underlined that: “Russia and the United States negotiated in a manner that the great powers have always been in order to divide the world on spheres of interest”. She stressed the fact that the negotiations were held without any Syrian representatives participating in them. But at the same time she noticed that: “Moscow and Washington did have points of discord”. Which is so very true since Sergey Lavrov at the same press-conference said: “And of course, in these approaches agreed on, there is nothing said about the use of force, not about any automatic sanctions”.

Yet another observer of Javan criticized Moscow in even a more harsh manner. In his article “Russian forceps on the Syrian teeth” Amin Arshadi starts with the “obvious” – “The degree of success in the Moscow-Washington negotiations is measured by the Israeli willingness to support those agreements”. Than the Javan observer asks a “vital” from his point of view question – “Who has won in these negotiations?”. And he answers it right away – Israel since it does have nuclear and chemical stockpiles and once Syria surrenders all of its WMD the strategical balance in the region will be destroyed. Amin Arshadi believes that Vladimir Putin only did agree to negotiate with Washington in order to support the “revival of the Great Russia” trend. He finishes his article with the following phrase: “Do the Russians really believe that the United States were to strike Syria with all the anti-war talks going on in Washington?”

It’s curious that the better part of the Iranian media believes that the agreements reached in Geneva is a “diplomatic defeat” suffered by Moscow, but at the same time some of the newspapers admit that one of the Israeli politics said the following: “The fact that the United States temporarily delayed their attack on Syria is a major diplomatic success of Syria, Russia and Iran”.

The criticism expressed by the Iranian media shows that Tehran fails to understand what has been achieved by the Geneva agreements that allowed to postpone the U.S. military aggression against Syria. And when the things got from bad to worse Iran did almost nothing to help its neighbor diplomatically.

There’s another important remark to be made, lately Washington has been demanding the international community to hand Bashar Assad over to the International Court of Justice for his crimes against humanity. Than it remains unclear who is going to judge George Bush and the other high-profile American officials that allowed the military intervention in Iraq to happen, killing tens of thousands of civilians? Who will be held responsible for the barbaric air strikes in Libya that occurred during the Obama term? And what’s about the regular civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Pakistan due to the drone strikes?

Have we forgotten those crimes? If not than one should remember his own doings before calling for justice, since justice has no double standards the West has grown accustomed to.

Peter Lvov, doctor of political sciences – especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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