English: Flag of Syria, from 1932-58 and 1961-63. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Greetings and Good Day,
“…in the newly minted “field” of public diplomacy – a hybrid “discipline” that draws upon the social sciences, journalism, foreign language and cultural expertise. Public diplomacy is foremost a skill, like it or not, that is most effectively learned from practitioners and best acquired on the job”.
It is unprecedented in international affairs to witness such a velocity in current diplomatic happenings.
Perhaps we should call it the Age of phantom diplomacy.
Can this rapidly evolving international diplomatic climate represent a promise for a political platform in Syria or it will pave the way for military escalation?
We know that the floated Russian proposal related to the Syrian chemical weapons was welcomed by the Syrian dictator, however we still lack any detail of implementation as per Russian agenda and desire.
We know also that the draft resolution submitted by the French for consultations at the UNSC was already declined in its form by the Russians, and this leaves the international community in apprehension, as chancelleries are wondering if and when there will be a deal .
We know also that the US president in his address yesterday to the US nation stressed the importance to keep the credible military threat vivid underlining the necessity of American unity behind the strike, while giving priority to diplomacy to exhaust its energy and set a course .
We know also that on Thursday the US and Russian secretaries of state will meet.
What we ignore from all above is how the Syrians will come clean, by their acceptance of the Russian proposal, and how their tactics to stall will be deployed on the international arena, at least to have a benefit, for next year’s presidential elections in Syria. In truth the dictator will do all possible to gain a new mandate, without introducing any reform to the system, to become parliamentarian or reinforce the rights of different communities, by sharing governance and distributing on equal demographic and geographic basis, the national resources.
Nonetheless, analysts do expect a strong resolution authorizing international forces to account for, control and destroy the storage, and all other facilities including questioning of the scientists.
Analysts expect also the Syrian criminal regime to immediately publish a list of sites , of quantities , of delivery weapons , of laboratories; and of scientists working on the chemical storage. This will go in tandem with the authorization of unfettered access of international monitoring to the CW storage in multiple sites and to laboratories declared or suspected.
Analysts do expect also that perpetrators of Chemical crimes will be brought to justice. They also expect the US and allies to keep the credible military threat coupled to enforcing a rational and secure UN mechanism to destroy CW.
It is obvious that the congress will remain seized on the issue while working also on the agenda of big issues, deficit, debt-ceiling, immigration, sanity, taxation, FED nominee, etc.
US Lawmakers in their multiple responsibilities, should express their stands on behalf of their constituencies and simultaneously create unity for national security issues.
It goes without saying that the resolute stand of the US administration is one of the main reasons for the dramatic and accelerated Russian proposal.
Although we ignore the details of the conversation between the two presidents and who was present during the meeting, which was previously canceled for the Snowden case, our desire is that this Russian proposal, will be entrusted and followed up by a political breakthrough.
It is a matter of fact that interests can intersect or diverge, The US and Israel have a common interest to destroy the Syrian chemical arsenal, while the Russians and Syrians have an interest, to renew the Syrian presidential mandate and set a different strategic balance not resorting to Chemical balance.
The question posed is how many civilians will die more in Syria waiting for a true solution?
In truth what is presented for now is interesting yet partial, it might take out the chemical arsenal to be replaced by other armaments; but it will not reform the Syrian system nor will ensure universal rights for the citizens. This intersection can be effective for international powers and for the security of Israel but in the same time, it can be not, for the rights of the people, to express itself, and this is what all the Syrian crisis is all about. Hence my perception is, that a partial proposal will prolong the agony of the Syrian state, keeping in place a dictator who plays by some norms, while crossing others and this is the lesser evil for chancelleries.
Looking from another prism we can say that Assad son dispersed the legacy of Assad father.
He was responsible for the security when Hariri was killed, and he consequently lost full control in Lebanon.
He was in charge of Syrian reforms when the revolution started, and he lost the monopoly of coercion and the territorial integrity.
He was the ultimate custodian of CW when these were used, and he is about to lose the storage and alter the strategic balance for long pursued by his father.
In the effort to govern and implement his policies Bashar Assad overestimates his own strength, and in practice he enlarges favors to Israel and the US as nobody else. So why change him? He cuts deals favoring others and applies policies that deteriorate the national interests of his own collectivity.
The involvement of Hezbollah by the Syrian regime is to be traced in the policies that will eventually weaken the entire arsenal of Iran in the area, as much as the immediate acceptance of the Russian offer by the Syrians was either an indirect hit to Iranian soft power, or an opening for further developments on the Iranian file.
In the negotiation between Russia and the West for the Syrian crisis, regional powers have a lesser say, therefore the mechanism for a deal should have different considerations not only linked to the short run.
The lessons that can be learned by Hezbollah is that interests can shift and that having a line of supply through Syria, doesn’t justify its own intervention in Syria or the derailment of the political and security environment in Lebanon.
Hezbollah an Iranian proxy has now a multiple usage, a multilateral action, in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. It will not exit the Syrian trap and will never tend a helping hand to the pm designate to form the Lebanese cabinet of last resource.
As any delay to form the cabinet in Lebanon, will cause Lebanon more losses and will generate a high risk for the essence of the national interests, the main responsible for the present idle situation at this stage are only the pm designate and the Lebanese president.
Both Mr. Michel Suleiman and Mr. Tammam Salam are requested to proceed urgently to form the Lebanese cabinet of last resource. Failure to do so will widen the gap of the institutions with the people, and will only increase the area of operation of independent militias.
The Syrian crisis today is focused on the control of the CW, but we all know that this is a door that can well open into a limited political breakthrough or deteriorate into a military action.
How will Bashar trust to defend his crimes while his chemical dent will be destroyed?
Most likely a tactic of delays and stalling will be soon evident and my forecast is that the Russian proposal will continue to be exploited to gain time, which is precious for all actors to apply their own policies and exert pressures.
Although the proceedings in the congress for approval of military strike will proceed in parallel with the Russian proposal, my assessment is that the mechanism for CW control and dismantlement is extremely complex. By itself the game of the nations is extremely cynic and treacherous. The result for now is that military action can be undertaken only after the UN general assembly and the German elections.
Meanwhile the FED will have announced its gradual and predictable tapering to start in October by founding very likely only 78 Billion dollars, and this is a balanced step to safeguard the monetary and reserve problems of India, Turkey, Russia and Brazil. Isn’t this process a responsible US international attitude of governance?
Perhaps Isolationists will realize what a connected world is, where Russia is projecting a perception of pseudo grandeur while the US is mastering the initiative and the tempo.
How win-win for all in the era of phantom diplomacy is based on the pillar of human loss?
Politics at best. Where are China and Iran? Will there be a strike that might endanger Israeli and Lebanese lives?
“Political evolution, on the other hand, is located at the creative cutting-edge, where old problems are solved with new techniques or new forms of organization, and where new problems are brought under political control” Peter A Corning , Synergy, Cybernetics and the Evolution of Politics.