UN Watch

Another dud deal for Syria

For many a westerner, Borat remains the man who single-handedly put Kazakhstan on the map. Today, the whole world knows the country’s capital — Astana — as backdrop to a series of dud talks on Syrian peace.

May 6, 2017
For many a westerner, Borat remains the man who single-handedly put Kazakhstan on the map. Today, the whole world knows the country’s capital — Astana — as backdrop to a series of dud talks on Syrian peace. Indeed, this week’s recently concluded fourth round has resulted in a deal carved out by everyone but the Syrians.
 
The so-called de-escalation zones agreement has been inked by those hosting the confab: Russia, Turkey and Iran. That the UN special envoy to Syria termed it a great success is, frankly, irrelevant. The world body long ago lost its moral authority. Time after time. In this century alone, it has been absent in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Yemen.
 
Sadly, it should come as no surprise that the Syrians have been removed from this latest equation. For the de-escalation zones pact, which comes into effect next month, is about putting an end to the big boy power struggles that go by another name when the goal is military colonisation masquerading as humanitarian intervention.
 
The irony is that the big boys were only talking peace amongst themselves while Assad was busy dropping bombs. That the latter were not the ‘mother’ of them all does not render them any more acceptable. During the Northern Ireland struggles, the IRA refused to lay down arms as a pre-condition for talking peace with Whitehall. Here, in the case of Syria — the state itself is waging war on its people. Thus the burden was firmly on Damascus to do the needful before attending a so-called peace conference.
 
Thus the Syrian opposition was right to suspend all participation in this ongoing farce. Similarly, it was right to denounce Tehran’s status as a guarantor to the deal. The Syrian opposition holds the Iranians responsible for mass killings on the ground.
 
And in all of this, another tragedy exists. Mouawiya Syasneh, the then 14-year-old-boy who started the Syrian war is all but forgotten. He, along with three pals, were sufficiently inspired by the nascent Arab Spring to spray graffiti on a school wall with the childishly innocent words: “Your turn next Doctor [Assad]”. Speaking to Al Jazeera for a documentary on the beginnings of the civil war — Mouawiya says that had he realised the consequences of what he and his friends’ prankish actions would spark — none of them would have spray canned the words in the first place.
 
The world can only imagine what the Syrian people have been through and continue to go through these last seven years. Reportedly, at least half of all refugees are children, or 2.4 million with the number of those who were born as refugees totalling more than 300,000. And for those stuck inside Syria — learning about what to do when caught in a bomb raid is now commonplace.
 
Therefore, seven years on we must ask: where are those western humanitarian interventionist freedom fighters that would have us believe that democracy rocks? If only the acerbic Borat were around to ask them. *
 
Read More: http://dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/06-May-17/another-dud-deal-for-syria
Daily Times, May 6, 2017

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