The British Prime Minister David Cameron thinks that the Syrian situation is a holocaust in waiting and unfortunate as it is, he maybe right. Already over 100,000 people have died in the conflict yet the super powers’ priorities remain limited to their ideological interests; the US protecting Israel and Russia securing the longevity of Assad’s regime. Obama’s ‘Red line’ simply safeguards a long-held principle against the use of chemical weapons and does little for the protection of Syrian civilians; the indiscriminate use of conventional weapons falls outside the red line.
It is a worry that chemical weapons have become the centre of the conflict yet they claimed at least 1,400 lives from the at least 100,000 total deaths to date. The US-Russia wrangling remains centred on a strong UN resolution that would ensure chemical weapons are eradicated and not on the root cause of the Syrian conflict.
Lest we forget, chemical weapons were not the primary cause of the war, the Syrian government’s corruption, human rights abuses and the regional Arab Spring inspired a civil uprising. The Assad regime’s high handed response which saw widespread arrests, torture of prisoners, police brutality, censorship of events and calculated concessions triggered a large-scale military uprising.
Is the Syrian regime about to pull a mighty political scoop of the 21st Century by redirecting World focus away from barbaric acts that have accounted for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians? In a monumental political fraud of our time Assad, a man who has used cluster bombs against his own people, a man who is quite clearly a significant part of the problem in the Syrian conflict is being allowed a heroic bounce as somewhat of an integral part of the solution.
Thanks to the US-Russia diplomatic plan, on 14 September 2013 Syria deposited with the UN Security-General its instrument of accession to the Convention on Prohibition of Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and declared that it shall comply with its stipulations and observe them faithfully and sincerely. Syria has not only declared its chemical weapons but has gone further: the country’s Deputy Prime Minister has offered a ceasefire claiming the ‘civil’ war had reached a stalemate.
The Russian engineered Syrian government’s diplomatic offensive is just too good to be true. Indeed, the opposition has rejected it offhand while some furious US congressmen have called it a diplomatic blind alley arguing the Russians will block any resolution seen as threatening Assad’s government. The problem with this solution is that it does not as yet start to address the political problems that led to the initial nonviolent street uprising that was brutally crashed by the Assad regime. While Syria is on a charm offensive to meet Western demands on chemical weapons; internally, it continues to use heavy weaponry in densely populated civilian areas.
Putin has effectively played the diplomatic role of peace maker and quite frankly out staged the seemingly out-of-sorts Obama. The reality remains that the Russian primary objective is shielding Assad; so on the balance of probability, the two parties (Russia and Assad) would rather lose chemical weapons than Assad. The US has had to make several climb downs to secure the Russian and Chinese signatures on the UN draft resolution to rid Assad of chemical weapons. The draft resolution seems to have removed the threat of military strikes should Assad be found in violation of agreed terms, that counts as an excellent piece of business for Russia, and not the West. Job done, Assad probably lit up his cigar, gave a wink and raised a toast to the Russians yesterday!
Chemical weapons proliferation is immoral irrespective of who owns the weapons or how ‘secure’ the stockpile is; in a supposedly civilised world, there is no legitimate reason why any State should be seeking the manufacture and ownership of these weapons. These weapons are an immoral by-product of twisted science by twisted scientists encouraged by twisted politics and politicians.
I concede that Syria must be rid of chemical weapons, but so too should Pakistan, India, Israel, the US, Russia, the UK, France and others. No chemical weapon producing, trading and/ or stockpiling country can credibly play guardian of high moral principle! The Syrian problem will need more than the signing of the non proliferation of chemical weapons convention; chemical weapons are a side show, internal political problems need to be addressed.