Tuesday, September 15, 2015

WHAT? Assad Was Willing to Go Three Years Ago and We Ignored the Deal?

Okay, this is directly from former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate, Martti Ahtissari.  He says Russia came up with a deal in 2012 whereby Bashar Assad would step down as president of Syria as part of a comprehensive peace plan.

Ahtissari says that France, Britain and the US turned their backs on the proposal, confident that Assad would soon be deposed anyway.

Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari said western powers failed to seize on the proposal. Since it was made, in 2012, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions uprooted, causing the world’s gravest refugee crisis since the second world war.

“It was an opportunity lost in 2012,” Ahtisaari said in an interview.

Officially, Russia has staunchly backed Assad through the four-and-half-year Syrian war, insisting that his removal cannot be part of any peace settlement. Assad has said that Russia will never abandon him. Moscow has recently begun sending troops, tanks and aircraft in an effort to stabilise the Assad regime and fight Islamic State extremists.

Ahtisaari won the Nobel prize in 2008 “for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts”, including in Namibia, Aceh in Indonesia, Kosovo and Iraq.

On 22 February 2012 he was sent to meet the missions of the permanent five nations (the US, Russia, UK, France and China) at UN headquarters in New York by The Elders, a group of former world leaders advocating peace and human rights that has included Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

...Ahtisaari said he passed on the message to the American, British and French missions at the UN, but he said: “Nothing happened because I think all these, and many others, were convinced that Assad would be thrown out of office in a few weeks so there was no need to do anything.”


Richard said...

the most important paragraph:

“The weakest point is Ahtisaari’s claim that Churkin was speaking with Moscow’s authority. I think if he had told me what Churkin had said, I would have replied I wanted to hear it from [President Vladimir] Putin too before I could take it seriously. And even then I’d have wanted to be sure it wasn’t a Putin trick to draw us in to a process that ultimately preserved Assad’s state under a different leader but with the same outcome.”

What is essentially being admitted here is that it's not really about "Assad" but about a Syrian government not backed by and allied to the U.S. - this fits with recent leaks from Julian Assange that the U.S. had plans to overthrow Assad starting in 2006.

Anonymous said...

What happened with the 'What Did We Expect' post. I guess everyone sells out eventually.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Richard. There's usually a back story when the Americans pull this stuff. All they had to do was pick up that red phone and call Moscow. What prevents them from asking Putin what he has in mind? Nothing at all.

Today we see the Americans beside themselves because the Russians have deployed a handful of tanks and defensive missiles as they upgrade a military airstrip in Syria. They American pitch is that they don't know what these Russkies are up to but they never suggest that they even asked!

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon - I was trying to update the "What Did We Expect" post. I didn't get the update completed but I finally went ahead and reposted the item.

Unknown said...

The west, particularly the US cannot support a peace plan put forth by the Russians. Russia must be seen as the aggressor and initiator of violence, particularly in Eastern Europe. This propaganda is what allows the US and NATO to mask the real initiator of violence, themselves.To have the world know that Russia had created a peace plan for Syria, means that Russia could no longer be the wests main scape goat, and the world would stop believing the US and NATO. Russia, cannot be seen as the reasonable one, let alone the one who advocates peace.

Purple library guy said...

I agree with Richard, though. The point was not to have Syria continue to be a secular, independent state, still less for it to become a democracy; the Americans have noticed that any time there's a hint of democracy in the Middle East it does the wrong things, like oppose Israel or nationalize oil or co-operate with Iran. The point was to overthrow Syria and get either something like a mini-Saudi Arabia, dominated by Wahhabi fundamentalism but also by corrupt hypocrites who will do what the US wants, or to overthrow Syria and get another Libya--something that, by being completely useless to anyone, is at least no longer actively opposing the US.

Hence any kind of negotiated deal where Assad stepped down would have been pointless for the Americans. It's not like they were against him because he's a nasty man or because he was a dictator (technical point: He's actually an elected president now). They love nasty men and dictators! Their favourites are mostly much nastier and more dictatorial than Assad. No, they were against him because he supports Iran, is allied with Hezbollah, and is gauche enough to want back the territory Israel took from Syria. I mean, the nerve! A negotiated deal would keep the general Syrian political culture intact, and while lots of Syrians may not like Assad that much (although he's surprisingly popular of late years--something about being the guy standing between Syrians and the ISIS hordes), I bet they mostly agree that they don't like Israel, want back the Golan heights, and so are willing to co-operate with other outfits that Israel is against such as Hezbollah and Iran. If you had some cabinet minister take over, or even ran elections where Assad wasn't allowed to run, the general foreign policy very likely wouldn't change much. For the Americans, that meant destruction was necessary.

The Mound of Sound said...

All of which, PLG, demonstrates the utter futility of virtually everything the West has done in the MENA since the Treaty of Sevres.

Anonymous said...

To continue PLG story:
Europe was divided over Ukraine and cut-off from cooperation (EU technology and Russian resources, and now faces onslaught of migrants. EU will be busy with problems they did not create for years.
By default, a sole superpower star shines brighter and who has time to consider plight of Palestinians these days?