Mainstream Weekly

Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2013 > US Obduracy in Syrian Crisis

Mainstream, VOL LI, No 45, October 26, 2013

US Obduracy in Syrian Crisis

Saturday 26 October 2013, by Mansoor Ali


Some politicians in Europe, the US and countries of the Persian Gulf have concluded that the UN experts’ report about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, published on September 16, was evidence of the Syrian authorities having used sarin gas against civilians in the suburbs of Damascus. It is true, the experts have confirmed the fact that chemical weapons were indeed used in the country but they didn’t reach any definite conclusion about the origin of the payloads. The payloads could have been made primitive or bought in other countries of the region as, for example, Libya.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon claimed, after a thorough study of the results of the experts’ work, that it was necessary to conduct further investigations in order to ascertain who the true culprits of the chemical attack were. He conceded that the available data were not sufficient to accuse the Syrian authorities of the dastardly act of August 21, 2013. Some members of the UN Security Council are for the renewal of the activity of the Oke Selestrom mission in Syria. They feel that the mission should be directed to investigate all cases of use of chemical weapons before and after August 21.

Various Western politicians are refusing to comprehend the new situation that has emerged in the Syrian crisis following the Geneva agreement between Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry. The results of the Russian-American consultations have given a real chance for the complete destruction of the chemical weapons arsenal in Syria thereby forestalling any new attempt of their use. This goal is far more significant than the search for the initiators of the chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs. The plans for the destruction of chemical weapons cannot possibly be instantly realised in practical terms without the support and cooperation of the Syrian authorities. The logic of this realisation makes Bashar al-Assad an important participant in the international efforts on this score.

Against this backdrop the White House’s endeavours to initiate a law-suit against Bashar al-Assad, accusing him of offences against humanity, would prove to be totally counter-productive by all reckoning. If this initiative on the part of Washington is translated into reality it could substantively complicate matters and in that situation Damascus’ cooperation in the destruction of chemical weapons may not be forthcoming.

The White House, meanwhile, intends to incorporate a reference to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter in the text of the latest UN resolution regardless of the extent of the Syrian authorities’ cooperation in identifying and destroying chemical weapons. The relevant chapter allows the use of military force in similar situations. This is the second factor obstructing the achievement of progress in defusing and resolving the Syrian crisis. At this stage tough measures springing from a strong-arm approach are not at all necessary since Syria has voluntarily adhered to the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Simul-taneoulsy the Syrian authorities have taken concrete steps to disclose information regarding the arsenal of chemical weapons in the hands of the country’s armed forces. The US, on its part, is intentionally taking a pessimistic view on the premise of the unworkability of the Russian-American framework agreement due to the complexity of the search and destruction of chemical weapons in conditions of war wherein the problems of the UN experts’ security, unreliability of the verification mechanism and lack of financial resources assume serious proportions. These difficulties are doubtless real and need to be tackled directly without any element of equivocation. But these are essentially of technical nature. What is indisputable is that it is impossible to overcome the problems by resorting to military strikes. However, Washington is seeking to includs the threat of use of force in the text of the new UN resolution with the purpose of projecting once more the model of the world order advocated by the US: pressing ahead along its own course of solving crises relying exclusively on unilateral actions.

ISSN (Mainstream Online) : 2582-7316 | Privacy Policy
Notice: Mainstream Weekly appears online only.