US offers Russia to exchange Assad for a truce
Moscow offers Americans to negotiate their resignation directly with the Syrian leader
The newly appeared US Secretary of State John Kerry "matured ideas" for a peaceful settlement of the situation in Syria. But everything depends on the position of Russia, which stubbornly does not want to surrender Assad. Apparently, because Kerry and admitted that he does not dare to guarantee the success of his initiative.
At yesterday’s press conference following a meeting with Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Jodha, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports, Kerry did not explain what the novelty of his plan was. He only noted that he understands the calculations of Assad, whom he met several times when he headed the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and leaves no hopes to influence the Syrian President.
“The US administration prefers a political solution to the situation, if it is possible. This is a desirable outcome - a political decision that will lead to the resignation of President Assad, ”said Kerry. According to the US Secretary of State, Assad’s days in power are numbered. Kerry sees his task in persuading the Syrian President to voluntarily give it up. “It seems to me that something can be done to change his current position,” he said. “But you need to consult with a huge number of players before we start making public statements.”
Among these "players" for once, Russia was in the foreground. But she, you see, stands up. Not only did Kerry unsuccessfully try to contact Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over the past two days by phone (the Russian minister was in Africa at the time) about the nuclear explosion produced by Pyongyang, Moscow also categorically refuses to convince Assad to leave "voluntarily."
Sergei Lavrov, meanwhile, suggested that all those who insist on the “voluntary” care of Assad or want to make a deal with him regarding his future fate, negotiate directly with the Syrian President. "Some say:" Let's offer President Assad a deal, "Lavrov said in a documentary on the situation in Syria, filmed by the German television channel ARD. - Okay, if someone is willing to offer a deal, do it directly with President Assad. If people say that without the resignation of the Syrian President, it is impossible to establish a dialogue, they should understand that he is not going to leave, not because we discourage him, but because he made such a decision. ”
“He (Assad) has stated this publicly, and he will not listen to us, the Chinese, or the Iranians, or anyone else. He said: “I am a Syrian, I was born here, I protect my people, and I will die in Syria,” said Lavrov. “Everyone who met with him, including Lakhdar Brahimi and Kofi Annan, confirms the impression that he is not going to leave. Therefore, those who say that he must leave before something happens should take responsibility for the greater number of Syrian lives, because the war will continue, ”Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying.
At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated that Russia does not protect Assad: “Not at all. We frankly do not care about individuals. What we care about is the fate of the Syrian people. ”
But the US continues to put forward Assad as an indispensable precondition for a Syrian settlement. Although it would seem that does not matter with whom to negotiate - with Assad or with people from his inner circle who are no less responsible than he for what is happening in Syria? But no, Assad for Kerry is an “outcast”, with him - no contacts. Kerry is ready to meet only with the "impersonal" Syrian authorities. Although it is official Damascus still, despite the massive support of the opposition from the outside, continues, in fact, to control the situation in the country. And the calculation of Americans, in essence, is very simple: “depersonalization” of the current Syrian regime almost automatically leads to its devaluation, degradation.
“A timid chance for a political settlement of the Syrian crisis has been outlined, but on Thursday, apparently, it has disappeared,” writes the most influential The Washington Post in connection with this. "The government of Bashar al-Assad refused to participate in the meeting with the head of the opposition coalition appointed in Moscow," explains the publication. And the Syrian Foreign Ministry, in turn, said that he agreed to negotiate only in Syria. In response, "the rebel coalition of the Syrian opposition, rejecting any negotiations before Assad leaves, also said that there would be no meetings in Moscow," the newspaper writes. But the Russian Foreign Ministry sent an invitation to each of the parties to visit Moscow, saying that it was ready to help them overcome antipathy towards negotiations.
The chain of events due to which the meeting became possible, reminds the publication, began in January: the leader of one of the Syrian opposition organizations, Moaz al-Khatib, said he was ready to meet with representatives of the Syrian government in exchange for the release of prisoners. But the demand to release 1,500 prisoners (!) Of prisoners was, naturally, rejected by Damascus: Assad has enough 40-50 thousands of militants fighting against his regular army.
After that, the platform for negotiations proposed by Russia, Moscow, also collapsed. Damascus said that the opposition should come to decide the fate of their homeland in Syria, and Khatib actually disavowed his prior consent to meet with representatives of Assad in Moscow.
Against this background, battles by government forces continue in Syria, and not so much with the so-called “opposition”, as with foreign mercenaries. The Arab media, in particular, report that about 12 000 Tunisian militants fighting in Syria are now intending to return to Tunisia.
Three circumstances draw attention to themselves, the blogger El Murid, a well-known Russian expert on the Middle East, notes in this connection. First, the number. Given that not only Tunisia supplies militants to the war, the question arises about the total number of foreigners in Syria, and how correctly it is to continue to talk about “civil war” after that.
The second circumstance is the synchronization of events in Tunisia and this message, the expert notes. Apparently, the positions of the current leader of Tunisia, An-Nahda, look too shaky, since his opposition is forced to tilt sharply in the direction of the radical Salafis, pulling up the power resource. And isn't that the controversy among the leadership of the Islamists of Tunisia, some of whom fear such an alliance?
Third, the most alarming circumstance: the region is pumped by the armed forces. Libya and Algeria are the most likely targets of a new jihad, especially since they suddenly stopped paying for Syrian jihad.
- Ivan Gladilin