Before launching this examination of last week-end’s Geneva deal on Syria, let me state that :
I have no favorite side ( anymore )
I do not favor the US over Russia
the West over the rest
or the possible strikes over the deal
nor the opposition over Al-Assad
nor Saudi Arabia over Qatar and
not either Israel over Iran.
It is my contention that it is now much too late to make such choices. If there was anyone to side with, it would be the poor civilians that make up the normal population of Syria but as I have complained about before, since no one did earlier, it is now too late for that too!
Thus we will cover the deal seriously with numbers and references first and move on to a lighter critical review of the actors and their lies.
The Deal :
Our first source is the full text of the deal itself as reported by The Telegraph ( U.K. ) :
The US & Russia agree to present a document to the OPCW for a fast destruction ( and verification thereof ) of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Their decision is based on this :
8. If a State ratifies or accedes to this Convention after the 10 year period for destruction set forth in paragraph 6, it shall destroy chemical weapons specified in paragraph 1 as soon as possible. The order of destruction and procedures for stringent verification for such a State Party shall be determined by the Executive Council.
and this :
10. If a State ratifies or accedes to this Convention after the 10-year period for destruction set forth in paragraph 8, it shall destroy chemical weapons production facilities specified in paragraph 1 as soon as possible. The order of destruction and procedures for stringent verification for such a State Party shall be determined by the Executive Council.
for which the given dates are :
Inspections of declared sites : November 2013 / Destruction of production facilities : November 2013 and Complete elimination of all chemical weapons capabilities before July 2014.
and includes offering the means to do so to the OPCW and in case of non-compliance the direct referral to the UN’s General Assembly and Security Council.
The US & Russia also agree to keep the UN in the loop as fast as possible and that a resolution shall be passed to insure not only that but also in any case of non-compliance ( i.e. partial disclosure only or transfer to unauthorized parties and use of such weapons ) allow the UN’s Security Council to use Chapter VII ( 7 ) which states in Article 36 section 2 :
The Security Council may, at any stage of a dispute of the nature referred to in Article 33 or of a situation of like nature, recommend appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment.
and in Article 37 that: … it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate.
It is also stated that the US & Russia have an understanding of the numbers between them and expect Syria to provide a listing of those by the end of the week?
In order to reach these ( lofty ) goals, the US & Russia expect a mechanism to ensure that Syria provides : immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites …
Both Nations also welcome as useful the participation of experts from the UN’S S.C. Permanent members ( China, France, Russia, the USA and the UK ).
And the last paragraph before the Annexes states :
The United States and the Russian Federation note that there are details in furtherance of the execution of this framework that need to be addressed on an expedited basis in the coming days and commit to complete these details, as soon as practicable, understanding that time is of the essence given the crisis in Syria.
That is as short a resume that still respects the deal as I could provide my readers.
The problem lies not in the document but in its interpretation. To allow my most astute and incisive followers to do so on their own, here is a list of links on the matter ranging from general to specialized and even somewhat biased outlets :
which explains that Unit 450, the military outfit charged with guarding the said weapons, should be taken into account in the process,
which points out that the measures could take the form of entering Syria and destroying the weapons easily ( but alas, diplomacy will likely not allow that ) less we find ourselves facing a delaying tactic which will only profit Al-Assad and make matters worse over the next weeks/months,
which clearly states the imponderables to be more numerous than the certainties and
which offers in its preview this clear statement :
“Most Syrians would like more [action] by the international community, especially the Russians and the Americans, who managed over the past few days to have this deal on disarming the Syrian regime from its arsenal of chemical weapons. So most Syrians are asking this question: if they could actually agree on this very complicated issue, how can’t they agree on putting more pressure on all sides – not only on the regime – in order to have a political process started, in order to have the killings stopped, in order to have a ceasefire?”
Marwan Kabalan, a Doha Institute analyst.
Could it be more clear? We now face a perfect diplomatic solution that has little if any chance of becoming reality?
Then what will happen?
Well, it all depends on how knowledgeable you are about the past.
If you believe in magic, this plan may well succeed, why not?
I however, as do I you believe in reality and the repetitive nature of history, m’well …
that MORE PEOPLE WILL DIE and little else should be your answer and concern?
The contingencies :
First, on September 13, a day before the deal was etched, US Secretary of State John Kerry was voicing concern and hope over it? Like huh, “I hope that I will survive the operation” before a quadruple heart valve by-pass/brain aneurism reduction/spleen and lower limbs amputation/ lung and face transplant operation in the midst of a chemiotherapy treatment type of procedure?
Let’s be serious ( even though I do not sound so ) as the subject warrants it?
Yes, I did choose a statement from right BEFORE the agreement but only to show how diplo-docus.hocus.pocus-macy means so very little? Why? Would you prefer one from after the facts? Fine, have your wish and here we go :
In which we learn that :
On the other hand, Corker – the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said, “I think all of us have to approach this with a healthy and strong degree of skepticism. The fact that it’s not only what is said in these agreements, but what is not said, or what is said privately.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee … it “will not be fully implemented, I’m afraid, without a continuing threat” of possible military action from the United States, he added.
So that this :
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says that : “President Bashar al-Assad would face “serious consequences” if he fails to comply with the UN resolution,
On Sunday, Hollande said “the military option must remain” to force Syria to give up its chemical arsenal. … comes next and I am sure that you won’t miss how much confidence it exudes, hum? That may seem light in the absence of the UK’s availability and strong comments. You could also want to check the piece below?
“The scale of Syria’s civil war has forced refugees in Lebanon to get past longstanding divisions.”
That the people of Lebanon whose country is not yet cured of its division dating back to the 1950′s and in which the activism of Syria under the leadership of Bachar’s dad Hafez has lead to the very situation of a civil war that amongst other things included a Franco-American set of strikes circa 1983 ( how do you say déjà vu in Syrian ) are now witnessing the newest set of refugees to reach their land ( Syrian replacing Palestinians ) to calm their dissension over the horror they endured? And just in case you think that I have been too critical of diplomacy so far, just read this :
Mr Lavrov said: “Yes, our American colleagues would very much like there to be a Chapter 7 resolution. But the final declaration, the final document that we approved and which has the guiding principles for how we proceed and for our mutual obligations, makes no mention of it.”
also from Al-Jazeera ?
So that ?
So that despite all the bullshit that may have the nicest, most peaceful of my readers believe that something, anything for that matter was achieved in Geneva over the week-end save a possible but utterly ludicrous Nobel Peace Prize for Vladimir Putin, here is what really went on : NOTHING!
Remember how in a past Post, I condemned the UN+International Community+Powers that be to have missed the train on finding a solution on Syria?
Well, the grrrrreat news is : nothing has changed!
There’s a plan afoot to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons? Fine! Never mind that it so little convinces the parties involved that or that the real timetable is as unlikely as All the King’s men putting Humpty Dumpty together again? Never mind that President Obama thinks that :
the world must stay ready to act? Never mind that experts think it can’t be done?
as the links above from an uninvolved party seem to show?
or for instance this important point of view link’s assertions
that states that : “no such was undertaken before…” or “…No legal framework exists” or that “The UNSC would have to approve the creation of a multinational intervention force, whose mandate would include the securing, guarding and protection of the CW stockpiles.”
Could the weapons be secured on the Syria located Russian base of Tartus? Sure! If you trust Putin, that is?
Could the plants necessary to the destruction of these chemical weapons be brought to Syria? Sure! If you understand that Russia and the US, the most concerned are not yet done with dismantling their stockpiles for the lack of facilities, if you get it that it all depends on Syria’s willingness to obey? Or that beyond securing the dual-liquids, warheads one needs to burn them up which requires 2 500 degrees Celsius furnaces?
Could the whole process be carried on within the timeframe mentioned in the deal? If you believe that all went as well as could have been until now in Syria, heck, why not? Apart from the civil war or the often forgotten fact that the Syrian Arab Republic ( yes, that’s its real name ) being under the power of the Ba’ath party since March 1963 ( or before President Kennedy’s assassination? ) has fallen from the aforementioned Hafez Al-Assad’s hands that had grasped it in November 1970 to those of his son Bachar 30 years later in decidedly un-Republican fashion ( although a lot like falling from Scylla to Charybdis ) that is? So that one could understand Bachar to want to withhold Papa’s heritage and last until 2030 at any cost including hundreds of thousand more bodies and signing agreements as time delaying tactics?
But, of course, if you have any doubt to any of these conditions, well…
Do as I do? Remind yourself that : -Assad is not fully trustworthy? -The Arab League which should have been the main partner is split between Saudi Arabia and Qatar which support different rebel factions and includes Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Iraq or Syria itself, none of which are in any state to weigh in? And that Iran plays a deleterious role in the matter? Or that Russia despite all its Nobel Peace Prize pretenses is part of the problem more than of the solution?
And the Russian rockets sold to Syria have been found as corollary to the ones used in the chemical attack on Ghouta? as were the concentrations of the chemicals?
And that was also the conclusions of the UN report by the OPCW and WHO :
Other than all those slight details that we just disclosed, the USA/Russian deal is just perfect?
So here is my honest opinion : no matter how far it may be carried, this deal is but a way to delay the matter?
And as that is what already cost so many lives in Syria, not only is nothing solved but everything is thus made worse?
I only have left the hope that my readers are insensitive SOBs? Otherwise, they, like myself, are left waddling in their sorrow and compassion?
To all the innocent victims of this tragically farcical drama that may eventually read these words, my heart goes out to your past and quite possibly ( read likely ) enduring plight, Tay.
P.S. For those of our readers that might have missed it, the following explains how diplomacy having worked so well in the past reinvented itself as the League of Nations to prevent future wars of major scope … right before a given Second World War which was found to be such a credit to its usefulness that it ( the LofN ) was in turn copied to spawn the UN including its Security Council :