or Below is Part 3 of our translation of Middle East expert Yeveny Satanovsky’s analysis (from vpk-news.ru) of the situation and events in Idlib. The West’s refusal to allow Syrians to return to their homeland can only be described as malicious and illegal (under international law no longer honoured by a US-dominated UN). The decision of a Syrian to return home after the terrorists who necessitated his emigration are subdued is his or hers alone, is an inviolable right. Clearly, the UN is no longer an impartial arbiter but a vassal of the US government that allowed the Syrian tragedy to happen in the first place, billing its military campaign as a “war on terror” but cynically allowing ISIS to pour across the border from Iraq to Syria in those infamous white Toyota pickups, ie, a perfect target from the air in a region replete with US Air Force bases.
The goals was clearly to knock out Assad and his democratically elected government and replace it with a radical Islamic state, using ISIS as a tool to that end. That US goal clearly has not changed since then and neither has the US-engineered scenario, complete with the terror-supporting White Helmets. Having failed in E. Ghouta, the West now hopes to create a radical terrorist enclave in Idlib. With Russia’s help, that will not happen. Despite the large fleet of US and coalition warships off Syria, prepared to strike Syria under the obvious pretext of a chemical attack that has never happened but yet was predicted by a pretend-clairvoyant US regime, Russia has sent a counter-force of at least 26 warships of its own, milling about in front of that fleet and armed to the teeth. This US provocation will be different. The Duma has passed a new law allowing Russia to use tactical nukes even if it or its interests are attacked by conventional means. Russia is determined not be America's whipping boy any more.
(If you have missed Part 1 and/or 2, scroll down to below this article).
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The UN betrayed Syria
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo discussed with the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura the prospects of returning refugees to Syria, as well as the need to "prevent the emergence of a humanitarian crisis in the city of Idlib." This is stated in the statement of the press service of the State Department. Pompeo made it clear that, although the United States supports the return of refugees to Syria, this should only happen when the situation in Syria is sufficiently secure, and with the participation of the relevant UN units. Pompeo and de Mistura agreed that "discussions about reconstruction are premature in view of the absence of a political solution, which in any case should lead to constitutional reform and an open and fair election."
The State Department indicated that progress was being discussed regarding the formation of the so-called constitutional committee of Syria, an agreement on which was reached regarding the results of the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue held in Sochi on January 30. This structure, together with de Mistura, will have to prepare proposals for the development of the country's constitution. Earlier, the head of the State Department's press service, Heather Nauert, recalled that the United States continues to regard the Geneva process as the only viable way to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria, calling the other talks spin-offs. This was her response about the Astana format. Nauert said that in the near future Washington will announce a doubling of efforts to support the Geneva process.
Thus, the leadership of the US State Department, together with the relevant senior UN officials, refused to participate in the campaign of the Russian Foreign Ministry to organize a "mass return of refugees" to Syria.
Having carried out this thesis through the Russian-American summit as "the new unifying idea for all foreign sponsors of the Syrian dossier," the Russian Foreign Ministry believed that the "yes" of President Trump in response to such an initiative is the solution to the matter. The US Secretary of State made it clear that no return of Syrian refugees under the auspices of Moscow can take place, as well as any initiative that can give Russia the illusion that they have begun to interact with her as a partner. The West will only talk this way when it cannot do without the participation of the Russian side. To date, these are issues related to the competence of the power bloc. That's why the US National Security Adviser, D. Bolton, holds meetings with his Russian counterparts on a regular basis.
The strategy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is understandable, namely, using any means to break through the foreign policy blockade of Russia and to stimulate the collective West to start working jointly in a full-fledged format. It was in this connection that the issue of the Syrian refugees and their return to their homeland was raised. Europeans should act on this suggestion. It is important to them. Yes, and for the Lebanese and the Jordanians, the issue has become urgent: "their" Syrian refugees are about six million people. And theoretically, the agenda should also have included a joint plan for the restoration and settlement of Syria. No other motives for intensifying diplomatic and other efforts to massively return Syrian refugees are being examined. The country is not ready in terms of either infrastructure or mass restructuring of the people’s consciousness. Who has considered how many radicals and irreconcilable opponents of the Bashar Assad regime there are among the refugees? Within the framework of the campaigns [ кампанейщины ], the rear base of the anti-Assad resistance in Syria was restructured.
The main reason for the failure of the initiative is that the West did not join it. There, despite all the disagreements, they are united in politically ignoring Russia. No initiatives from Moscow, even the most relevant issues for the Europeans, will be accepted. The action with the participation of Russia and France, when humanitarian aid was delivered to East Gouta, gave rise to excessive illusions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, which gave rise to initiatives for the return of Syrian refugees. As for UNHCR, this department is directly fulfilling the US order for the evacuation of members of the White Helmets from Syria, and to believe that it will decide to cooperate with Moscow, is naive. This is a joint position of the UN, which became clear after the meeting of Pompeo with de Mistura. The West will not restoring the destroyed infrastructure of Syria under any circumstances. Appeals of the Russian Foreign Ministry are ignored. This indicates a collective boycott of the EU's Russian initiative. The same is observed on the part of Jordan.
The action involving the participation of Russia and France, when humanitarian aid was delivered to East Ghouta, gave rise to excessive illusions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, from which there emerged initiatives for the return of Syrian refugees. As for UNHCR, this department directly fulfils the US order for the evacuation of members of the White Helmets from Syria, and to believe that it will decide to cooperate with Moscow is naive. This is the joint position of the UN, which became clear after the meeting of Pompeo with de Mistura. Under no circumstances will the West restore the destroyed infrastructure of Syria. The appeals of the Russian Foreign Ministry are being ignored. This means a collective boycott of the EU's Russian initiative. The same is observed on the part of Jordan.
The Lebanese leadership, given the influence that Iran has in this country, would most likely have attempted to expel Syrian refugees from its territory. Beirut has enough problems with the Palestinians to tolerate the presence of Syrians in Lebanon as well. However, according to the data of external observers, the number willing to return voluntarily to their homeland does not exceed three thousand people, and this number will immediately drop to zero in event of an intensification of the confrontation in Syria or violent actions against the returnees. The big question is: who exactly will be ready in Lebanon and be able to participate in the deportation of refugees to Syria, if such a decision is made? By definition, this cannot be done without casualties, and this means humanitarian risks for which Moscow and the official Damascus will be held accountable.
As for Turkey, the return of Syrian refugees from there to the territories controlled by Assad is not visible even in the future. Many of them have been assimilated in the country (Ankara is making significant efforts to do this), and Erdoğan needs them as an instrument of pressure on the EU, allowing him to get billions of euros from Brussels, keeping up constant pressure on the European Union, primarily neighbouring Greece with its complicated relations with Turkey, and Germany as the destination of the majority of illegal immigrants. In addition, Syrian refugees are seen by the Turks as potential residents of Turkish-controlled northern Syria in opposition to the Kurds. So their return is out of the question.
The article is based on materials of the IPB expert Y. Shcheglovin.
President of the Institute of the Middle East
Published in issue No. 32 (745) for August 21, 2018
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