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Right before the G20 summit the US special services had successfully staged a “false flag” operation to make the world believe the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians. The international community was facing the prospect of US military intervention in the country.

All of a sudden there was a dramatic turn of the events in and around Syria. On September 9 John Kerry said Syria could prevent the action if it handed over the chemical stockpile over to the world community in a week. The very same day Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Syria to place the chemical arsenals under international control and then destroy them.

The statement by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem approved the initiative. On September 10 the Syrian Foreign Minister said he was authorized to confirm the support for the Russian initiative regarding chemical weapons in Syria in compliance with the regime of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

He also confirmed that Syria was ready to inform about the location of chemical weapons, halt the production of chemical weapons and also show these objects to representatives of Russia, other states and the United Nations.

Syria and the whole world appear to have a good chance. In the coming days Russia will come up with a plan to hand the weapons over to international control.

But the situation is still dramatic. The diplomatic manoeuvre has widened the wiggle room for the actors involved in the “big game” in and around Syria. The international arena is still facing a stand-off between the forces striving for regime change and those who oppose the planned aggression.

No doubt, the opponents of Russia’s initiative will do everything to push through the United Nations Security Council a resolution that would devoid the crisis management plan of its substance and get the world back to balancing on the brink of military strike.

Walid al Muallem - Foreign Minister of Syria
Walid al Muallem – Foreign Minister of Syria

The corrected roadmap for action is rather simple. The main thing is to stay firm demanding the Syria’s agreement to transfer the weapons out of the country. Then the operation could easily be thwarted by until now remaining armed gangs and terrorists that are still active in Syria being supported by the United States and allies who provide them with money and weapons.

Then the Assad’s regime will be accused of violating the agreement to provoke a so-called punitive strike. There may be another plan, but the goal will remain the same – to get the Russian initiative out of agenda and turn the clock back to the times the White House could decide it had freedom of action that allowed it to deliver a military strike while the opposition in Congress and abroad was weakened.

The details of the plan to hand the chemical weapons over are still to be discussed, but the key provisions are already clear.

First, the cessation of combat actions in the country to ensure security while the weapons are transferred to international bodies.

Second, solid guarantees the US and other countries will not strike Syria.

Third, providing for security of personnel operating on spot.

The Russian initiative has moved off the threat of war, but the potential aggressor cannot just turn into a peace advocate all of a sudden (only the threat of retaliation coming from equal force may make him the one). There are new questions on the table – is it a pause or drastic turn of events?  Is the Washington’s renunciation of war plans sincere? Is it final?

There is a great risk that having encountered serious snags in and outside the country on the way to military intervention, the Obama administration decided to achieve the goals set (toppling the Assad regime and making come to power a pro-US government while moving the war machine up to the Iranian border) by diplomatic means. These questions have no answers as yet…

Obviously, there are important changes related to the situation in Syria. They must become irreversible.

Author: Yuri Baranchik

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