Originally appeard at DWN, translated by Karin exclusively for SouthFront
The UN peace plan for Syria is no guarantee for an end to the war. However, it is the first rational approach and would not have taken place without the intervention of the much-vilified Russians. It speaks for the US government that it has listened to Vladimir Putin.
Russia has in recent months taken over the leadership in the Syrian crisis – and scored with the UN peace plan the first really visible success. Of course the Russians are also defending in Syria their geopolitical interests. Of course much is also propaganda from the Russian side. Of course the military progress is very difficult to evaluate because the Russians have to maneuver between many fronts and also always sell in wartime as truth what is good for their strategy.
But in fact, the Russians have said from the outset that they will not compete against the USA, but would like to fight together with the Western alliance against the Islamic terrorism. The plan for an 18-month transitional period that the UN had just agreed on comes from the Russians. They also have, contrary to the western colportage, said from the very beginning that they do not want to hold on to Assad.
However, they have stood against the overthrow of an elected president by other states – and that with determination all the way to the end. It is actually shameful for the West that it had to be reminded of all things by the Russians about this democratic principle. It speaks against the in the West certainly recognized as a “flawless democrat” German Chancellor that she has called for the overthrow of Assad just a few days ago. The accusation of war crimes is serious. If it is true the international community must act. But without evidence these allegation can’t be floated as a suggestion. And if they are proved, then the international community must act in the form of the United Nations.
The Russians have also demonstrated foresight: They said at the beginning of their military intervention, that there must be a political solution and initial talks with various opposition groups – long before the show event of the Saudis. They have even presented plans for reconstruction.
This is the second merit of the Russians: they have brought the UN back into play. Not that the UN is an impeccable organization. But they are currently the only forum where the nations have a voice and where a consensus has to be reached when it comes to war and peace. In all those wars contrary to international law, which are performed without a UN mandate, the suffering is nameless and the arbitrariness without limits. The civilians are always paying the price, which are not protected by marauding mercenaries and not recognized by supposedly “surgical” technology. One has to only look at Yemen, where the Saudis act freely – and despite all the bombs, a solution without the UN cannot be achieved.
It also speaks for the Russians that they have insisted on classifying the al-Nusra Front as what it is – a terrorist group. The Americans have exploited the to al Qaeda belonging group and thus made a pact with the devil. The result is the total failure of a cynical and opportunistic geopolitics.
The Russians have reacted to the downing of a military aircraft by Turkey relatively sensible – perhaps because it is not clear why the machine is really crashed. The statement by the Kremlin that the Black Box is supposedly unusable must make one suspicious. Also the sanctions against Turkey are the wrong signal. It contradicts Putin’s assurances to be just against the government in Ankara and not against the whole Turkish people. The sanctions will not hurt Erdogan, but the Turkish people.Putin ought to know this, at least since the EU sanctions.
Putin certainly is no saint. But he is a realistic politician, whose clever tactics may include alliances even if done in his own way, with a certain way of reconciling interests. In war situations this kind of sober calculus is more important than pathetic speeches.
It speaks for the rationality of the Obama administration that they didn’t let the military-industrial complex; NATO and the warmongering neocons overrun them. However, the victory of reason is not permanent in Washington. Soon Obama’s term of office comes to an end, and maybe it needs in this military-dominated global network the prospect that one will soon no longer be in power in order to make a truly courageous decisions. In any case, Obama is proving at least at the end of his term of office worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to him many years ago.
The UN peace plan in any case can awaken hope to the suffering Syrian people that there is life after the war. The world doesn’t get better because of a unanimous resolution. For the resolution to become also reality, it will probably still require many miracles. Yet every single human life that is saved in Syria; every family that is not driven from their home country; every minority that is not threatened with ethnic cleansing – all this is worth it least a try to end the barbaric killings. If it succeeds, the Russians have a significant role in ensuring that the world is a little less bad than it often appears to us these days.