Russian Lessons in Politics
After Ibrahimi’s visit to Damascus, the Russian tone has changed, and has became more attached to the sole option for the Syrian crisis, a political solution. This is the only solution which would protect the unity of the Syrian state, and would avoid a descent into sectarian division. However, the Russian Foreign Minister was obliged to remind the “The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces” of the basics of politics, when he reminded the president of the coalition that the refusal for dialogue is a sign of political inexperience. This message should be directed to the allies of this Syrian coalition, to ensure the capacity of this coalition to represent the Syrian people.
From another angle, some analysts believe that the deadline for this “Syrian coalition” to topple Assad will coincide with the arrival of John Kerry as the head of the Department of State. The new secretary of state is apparently eager to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Actually, there is a lot of news relating to a coming Russo-American consensus on a transitional political road map for Syria.
It is worth mentioning the words of the Arab thinker Azmi Bashara on Al Jazeera, on the 27th of Dec 2012. The words of Bashara have surprised many, since they were seen to be divergent from the Qatari channel’s own line. First, he called on the necessity to keep the Unity of the Syrian state from aside, whilst criticizing the behavior of the FSA, second, most significantly, he reiterated that the only solution for the Syrian Crisis is political.
The UN envoy Brahimi pre-empted the settlement by highlighting the steps to be taken on the ground, from the cessation of fire, to the need to form a “wide power” government, to paving the way for elections. Many reports suggest that Brahimi is himself relying on the coming agreement between Russians and Americans, which is expected to be in the current month of January 2013, the month in which John Kerry will receive his new position.
Russia, from its side, sees in the presence of Brahimi a real opportunity for a political settlement in Syria. Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Gatilov has sent positive messages to the Americans, tweeting ‘that Brahimi is ready to continue his mission’. A meeting will be taking place in Geneva this January. This meeting may provide Brahimi with the opportunity to turn this Russo-American consensus into a UN resolution. As the UN envoy knows well, any route towards a UN resolution should pass through Moscow and Washington. However, Brahimi also insists that that failure to accomplish a settlement in the first quarter of 2013, would result in the outbreak of a regional crisis which would have a global dimension and wide-spread repercussions.
Dr.Amer al Sabaileh