By Ilya Kharlamov
Damascus has approved the plan to settle the political crisis in Syria that was offered by the Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria Kofi Annan. Moscow believes that Annan’s plan is the only way to stop the bloodshed. However, the opposition has no plan to lay down the arms so far. Neither do the government forces that on March 27th delivered a strike on the Syrian rebels in Lebanon. Experts are sure that despite certain progress, the way to peace in Syria will be difficult.
The representative of Kofi Annan Ahmad Fauzi says that the Syrian authorities have agreed to cooperate with the United Nations and also with the League of Arab States (LAS) for settling the conflict as soon as possible. He stresses that Kofi Annan urges Damascus to immediately start fulfilling the Arab Plan. As you might remember, the document that was adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) provides for the cessation of armed confrontation, for the beginning of a political dialogue between the warring sides, for the withdrawal of government troops from the villages, and for the allocation of humanitarian aid to Syrian provinces that suffered as a result of the above-mentioned developments.
Washington was in a hurry to say that although the world community relied on his plan, the USA, as before, regards Bashar Assad’s stepping down as an indispensable condition for settling the conflict. Moscow does not share this opinion. The Russian authorities have repeatedly stressed that the Syrian people should define the political future of their country. Speaking at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said that to believe that should Assad step down, all problems would be immediately resolved, was none other than shortsightedness. He stressed that the leaders of some states had agreed with him.
“Let’s imagine that Syria’s President has resigned and thus, takes no decisions at all. Would the situation change? It is absolutely clear that the conflict, most likely, would continue. And the inner differences Syria’s society is currently torn by will not disappear when this or that political figure resigns. This should be taken into consideration. I mean here those who insist on the immediate change of leadership in Syria and also those who have taken a more balanced stand. Medvedev said that he would like the Syrian people to decide the fate of their country.”
The Russian leader added that it was necessary to do whatever is possible so that Syria should not suffer the fate of Libya, where there was neither democracy, nor State.
Damascus’ approval of the plan of Kofi Annan is a positive signal. However, this is only the first step towards bringing the conflict that has gone too far to a halt, an expert with the Institute of Oriental Studies, Vladimir Isayev says.
“The fact that the people in Syria have approved the plan of Kofi Annan is natural because the Syrian side is also interested in peace as well as other parties that are involved in this conflict and also international public. Quite another matter is the question who will observe these agreements. The extremist point of view that it is possible to resolve the conflict only by means of force, with Assad’s stepping down, prevails over the Syrian opposition supporters – meaning first of all those abroad. If the irreconcilable opposition does not change its approaches to the situation in Syria, this will not promote the settlement of the conflict.”
A conference of the Syrian opposition leaders opened in Istanbul on March 27th . Serious differences, which may lead to a full-scale split, have become visible among the enemies of Bashar Assad in recent times. The main objective of this conference is to unite the opposition in the fight against the Syrian regime. Turkey and Qatar, the organizers of this conference, and some other countries plan to further support the opposition Syrian National Council. This means that peace will not be achieved in Syria soon.
Damascus has filed its complaint to the United Nations that the opposition terrorist groups are receiving both arms and finances from Lebanon and some other countries. New York has not reacted to Damascus’ appeal so far. Do not forget that according to the latest reports, the government troops have hit the base of Syrian rebels in Lebanon. Besides, Damascus has banned all men between the ages of 18 and 42 who served in the army from travelling without the permission of military commissariats. Does this mean that the preparations for a mass-scale mobilization are currently underway in Syria? This is not clear for the time being.
Amid the previously mentioned events the meeting of the Friends of Syria group will be held in Istanbul on April 1st . This group unites countries that do not feel sympathy for the regime of Bashar Assad. Russia, as before, is not involved. The Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich says that such events are not aimed at the achievement of peace in Syria. On the contrary, they can pave the way for an outside interference, while the plan of Kofi Annan is a real way towards the cessation of violence.