A dropped catch in the search for peace in Syria (not about Mr Corbyn)
This is an email message, not a blog post, about a new blog post on Ephems, at http://www.barder.com/4528, “A dropped catch in the search for peace in Syria (not about Mr Corbyn)“. In that post I summarise an extraordinary press report that in 2012 Russia proposed, through an approach by its ambassador at the UN to the outstanding Nobel peace prize-winning UN mediator Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, a Syrian peace plan, one of whose three elements was that at a certain point Syria’s President Assad would step down – a key demand (almost certainly misguided) by the Syrian opposition parties and by the US, UK and France, whose own settlement proposals have long been frustrated by Assad’s adamant refusal, with Russian support, to contemplate his own retirement as part of any settlement. According to Ahtisaari, an impeccable source, the three western permanent members of the UN Security Council either rejected or ignored the Russian proposal, perhaps in the mistaken belief that Assad was about to be toppled anyway. The Russian plan might have failed, but the west’s decision not to pursue it might have cost hundreds of thousands of lives, millions of Syrians driven from their homes and the huge refugee crisis now confronting Europe.
The blog post observes that this looks like another example of western attempts to exclude Russia from international negotiations and settlements even where she has legitimate interests at stake, sometimes with dire consequences. Frequent Russian misbehaviour, as in Ukraine, may help to explain but cannot justify this western myopia.
For a fuller account of this extraordinary revelation, including a link to the detailed newspaper report and comments by Ephems readers, please visit the full blog post at http://www.barder.com/4528. Please write any comments, especially on the implications for western policy towards Russia, at the foot of http://www.barder.com/4528, not in reply to this email (unless your comments are purely personal).
Best wishes from a chilly, wet south London
16 September 2015