You have to hand it to Russia. In recent weeks, one move after another by Moscow over the Syrian crisis could be accompanied by the audible word “check”, leaving Washington and its minions grappling with disorientation about how to respond to the Russian moves.
At the heart of the West’s disorientation what is being exposed is its glaring criminal deceptions over Syria.
This week, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zahkarova probed the Western rationale towards Syria with this incisive proposition.
She said that if Washington insists that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stand down, then the United States government should henceforth remove its signature from the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. The same logical ultimatum applies to Britain and France.
That communiqué, signed three years ago by international governments, as well as the United Nations, European Union and Arab League, clearly states that “the political future of Syria must be determined by the Syrian people themselves”.
The binding document had followed lengthy negotiations between Russia, China and the Western powers, and it was signed in Geneva in the summer of 2012 under the auspices of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Hillary Clinton was the US Secretary of State at the time.
Nowhere in the Geneva accord is it mentioned that Syria’s Assad should relinquish power.
It merely endorses a political process of dialogue among Syrian parties, the outcome of which is to be mandated by the Syrian people. In fact, two years after the communiqué was signed the Syrian people voted by a huge majority to re-elect Assad as the country’s leader.
Yet Western powers continue to assert that Assad “has to go”.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel this week appeared to break the Western ranks when she said that Bashar al-Assad must be part of the political negotiations to solve the Syrian conflict.
Nevertheless, Washington, Britain and France remain implacable in their insistence that the Syrian president has to stand down. In other words, these Western powers are unilaterally demanding regime change in spite of the fact that they signed up to the Geneva Communiqué, which makes no such stipulation. With typical unreasonable arrogance, Washington and its allies appoint themselves to over-ride the sovereign right of the Syrian nation.
Last week, while in London, Clinton’s successor John Kerry repeated the American demand that “Assad must go”. Speaking alongside his British counterpart Philip Hammond, Kerry said he was open to talks with Russia on the Syrian crisis, but that the bottom-line for Washington and London was that the Syrian leader had to vacate office.
“We’re prepared to negotiate. Is Assad prepared to negotiate, really negotiate? Is Russia prepared to bring him to the table?” said Kerry.
The New York Times elucidated further Washington’s intentions. It reported: “[American] officials indicated that the larger goal was to draw the Russians into a political process that would ultimately replace Syria’s government of President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime ally of the Kremlin.”
Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry spokesman, has subsequently nailed that Western lie on Syria. If Washington insists on Assad’s removal, then the US government should repudiate the Geneva Communiqué. “Otherwise,” said Zakharova, “the US is deceiving everybody.” Check!
This follows the move earlier this month when Russia placed its support full square behind the Assad government. Moscow has delivered military aid to Damascus in line with legal bilateral agreements.
Russian President Vladimir Putin explained that the Syrian government is the primary offensive force against the terrorist networks tearing Syria apart.
Therefore, if Washington and its Western allies claim to be fighting against terrorism in Syria, then they should have no objection to Russia’s support for the government in Damascus. Check!
Again, the Russian move deftly exposes another Western deception.
Since Moscow beefed up its military support for Syria, Washington, London and Paris have been reeling from their own contradictions. The West says it is alarmed that Moscow is “shoring up the Assad regime”.
But if these powers were genuinely in the business of “degrading and defeating” the so-called Islamic State and other jihadist terror groups, then why should they be alarmed by Russia supporting the principal force – the Syrian government – in the battle against the terrorists?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that the West’s logic is “upside-down”. He has also commented that the West’s “anti-terror” coalition bombing Syria and Iraq does not appear to be genuine in its ostensible aims. After a year of US-led air strikes on Syria and Iraq, the terror groups seem to be stronger than ever.
Clearly, the West’s “anti-terror” strategy is ineffective, suggesting that the real aim of the West is to further weaken the Syrian state.
Scrabbling around to find some cover for its naked upside-down logic, Washington, London and Paris are now saying that they fear that Russia’s military intervention in Syria “may lead to an escalation of the conflict” or to a clash with the US-led coalition.
John Kerry and his Western counterparts have even resorted to this oxymoron. Kerry said the “root cause” of the refugee crisis assailing Europe is the “conflict in Syria” and that is, in his view, further “rationale” for the removal of President Assad. How convoluted can you get?
The four-year-old conflict in Syria is so obviously the driver for millions of Syrian refugees. But the “root cause” that Kerry so deceptively misplaces is the criminal covert war of regime change that Washington has launched on that country, along with the collusion of Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Arab dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
That US-led regime-change war has involved unleashing thousands of terrorist mercenaries on Syria. It’s a well-worn American strategy played time and again in different parts of world down through the decades. Ukraine and Yemen are two other current case studies of Washington’s covert state-sponsored terrorism. Fiendishly, Western propaganda in the form of “Western news journalism” helps to mask what should be transparent criminality committed by Washington and its so-called allies and clients.
Deciphering the West’s lies and deceptions is not always an easy task.
But thanks to Russia’s logical policy, the West’s lies in Syria are at last being nailed. We might even say “Checkmated!”
Originally from Belfast, Ireland, Finian Cunningham (born 1963) is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio. Finian Cunningham is a frequent contributor to international media, including PRESS TV and nsnbc, where he began contributing in 2012.