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Diplomatic Progress as Syria Opposition Groups Agree on Joint Principles


Diplomatic Progress as Syria Opposition Groups Agree on Joint Principles

Jon Queally, staff writer

Efforts towards a negotiated diplomatic settlement for the war in Syria made some progress on Thursday as members of various political and military opposition groups ended two days of meetings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by saying some agreements on basic principles have been reached.

As Reuters reports:

The meeting came amid escalating conflict in Syria and accelerated diplomacy to find a political solution to the war.


Diplomacy - what a concept!


Yeah really! Who ever heard of such a thing? They better watch it or else who can say where this kind of wild thinking could lead. My gosh ... what if they actually thought to try peace? Could the world survive ... peace?

Heck peace would confuse everybody but ... ya never know?


Go to Pepe Escobar's take on this on Facebook.


"willingness to foster a diplomatic process among the warring factions. " "[W]arring factions that don't include the government of the country involved nor the group that these folks are ostensibly fighting?" This is a bastardization of the concept of diplomacy. Here we have only those who are supposed to be fighting a common enemy doing the sort of, sometimes talking. The true idea of diplomacy would be to have all sides talking to each other with the aim of stopping the war. In this case the so-called diplomacy is merely an attempt to tamp down the internecine sniping and out of control 'friendly-fire' situation in order to continue to wage war.
Language people, it matters.


I'm talking about the fact that Escobar uses Facebook (despite its huge flaws) to communicate what is happening in the moment. In particular his writing about the Riyadh conference which is radically different from the article above. Just a caveat. I also see Escobar as supporting Russia and China vs The Empire of Chaos and as such this avoids the issue that all of these countries support capitalism in some form and hence the destruction of the ecosystems that support life on Earth.


I strongly suspect the "peaceful settlement" the West and its Gulf State allies want entails, at the very least, a partition of Syria into East Syria and West. East Syria would be under the control of the Sunnis, which would allow the Saudis and Qataris to run a pipeline from the natural gas fields in the middle of the Persian Gulf through East Syria into Turkey thence to the EU. That's what this is all about, geopolitically speaking.

Roughly half that gas field belongs to Iran, half to Qatar; the Iran-Qatar boundary splits the field. The issue is whether Iran runs a pipeline through existing Syria, thence to the EU, or whether Qatar gets to sell the gas. But more importantly, if Qatar's pipeline is built, the West and the Gulf will use that gas to wean EU from Russian gas. If Iran builds the pipeline it will preserve the current status quo - EU buying Russian (and Iranian) gas.

Clearly Assad's human rights record is irrelevant - if the US really cared it would not have sent people to Syria for torture, and (more to the point) the US would have invaded the Saudi Kingdom (and Bahrain) long ago.


Regardless your opinion of the plan, it is the plan and has been since American and Israeli neocons drafted A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm in 1996. It states:

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the 'natural axis' with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity.

Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.


Agreed. I don't think the neocons anticipated the Iranians gaining so much influence in Baghdad, nor the Russian intervention in Syria. I suspect they imagined once they'd occupied Iraq it would become a compliant vassal state, a bulwark against Iran. Ooops.

And remember this plan was drafted just a few years after the collapse of the USSR. They imagined the 21st century would be the New American Century - American hegemony was assured! There's actually an Iraqi parliamentary committee considering whether to annul the Iraqi agreement with the US and make a similar agreement with Russia instead. Ooops. Again.

The neocons tried unsuccessfully to get Clinton to invade Iraq. Then the Saudis provided GW and Cheney their "new Pearl Harbor" and they were on their way to Baghdad. The extreme American (and Israeli) hawks excoriate Obama for seeking a deal with Iran, rather than getting on with regime change in Syria and Iran - the original plan.

Turkey has now challenged Baghdad's authority in the Kurdish north by sending troops, claiming they were invited by the Iraqi govt at the same time Baghdad has ordered them to leave. If Baghdad does invite Russia to replace the US for military assistance .. this could all boil over into a really really nasty mess. A much nastier mess than it already is. The Kurds do not want to relinquish the oil they are selling on the black market through Turkey and Israel, and ISIS depends on that black market flow to camouflage its own black market shipments, so in the eyes of many a partitioning of Syria is still very much in their intentions.


Its interesting how Bernie Sanders is questioned about his foreign policy,yet in an interview he called out Saudi Arabia as the problem in the middle east. And again I think Sanders is right. How bizarre that a diplomatic conference was taking place in Saudi Arabia. They were most likely deciding who gets what after all the killing is done.--Where is Isis getting all its funding?