In fast moving news, it appears the Head of the UN verification mission in Syria General Robert Mood has finally declared that the UN monitors are unable to do their mandated job due to the level of violence prevalent in the country. This signal constitutes the last “green light” for laying to bed the ceasefire and the 6-point-peace-plan that Kofi Annan brokered in April this year. Now the field is open for alternative measures to be deployed.
Amidst much information and some disinformation, it is hard to see any way out of the present Cold War impasse facing the Security Council except for the option proposed by Russia: an international conference. Concerns remain on the Russian proposal to include Iran and other implicated countries like Saudi Arabia and indeed Syria itself to the conference. But as I wrote myself last week, if you think about how to construct a meaningful and comprehensive dialogue on Syria, all the relevant power-brokers and neighboring countries should be on the table or in mediation modalities so that any solutions developed are widely consulted. Prime interest is to ensure that killings on all sides stop quickly and sustainably, and that the people of Syria no matter what their religion or sub-cast should be protected.
The question is who would take leadership on the Syria issue and it appears, because we are in an election year in the US, the US is reluctant to hand over any leadership to any other country on this, particularly Russia. I would advise caution on this issue. As a global power, the US would be perceived as magnanimous and a true leader to support processes that at this point, have any chance to succeed and favor the Syrian people, even if they are proposed and led by Russia.
My opinion: who cares which power can convene a successful conference which results in a cessation of violence against the people of Syria. We all know that Tzar Putin wants points at the global level – give it to him and lets move Syria out of the red zone!