The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPepe Escobar Archive
Rebuilding Syria – Without Syria’s Oil
Compare US pillaging with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution to normalize Syria
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks
Source: Asia Times
Source: Asia Times

What happened in Geneva this Wednesday, in terms of finally bringing peace to Syria, could not be more significant: the first session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress.

The 150-strong committee breaks down as 50 members of the Syrian opposition, 50 representing the government in Damascus and 50 representatives of civil society. Each group named 15 experts for the meetings in Geneva, held behind closed doors.

This development is a direct consequence of the laborious Astana process – articulated by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Essential initial input came from former UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Now UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen is working as a sort of mediator.

The committee started its deliberations in Geneva in early 2019.

Crucially, there are no senior members of the administration in Damascus nor from the opposition – apart from Ahmed Farouk Arnus, who is a low-ranking diplomat with the Syrian Foreign Ministry.

Among the opposition, predictably, there are no former leaders of weaponized factions. And no “moderate rebels.” The delegates include several former and current parliament members, university rectors and journalists.

After this first round, significantly, the committee’s co-chair, Ahmad Kuzbari, said: “We hope that our next meeting could take place in our native land, in our beloved Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited capital in history.”

Even the opposition, which is part of the committee, hopes that a political deal will be clinched next year. According to co-chair Hadi al-Bahra: “I hope that the 75th anniversary of the United Nations next year will be an opportunity to celebrate another achievement by the universal organization, namely the success of efforts under the auspices of a special envoy for political process, who will bring peace and justice to all Syrians.”

Join the patrol

The committee’s work in Geneva proceeds in parallel to ever-changing facts on the ground. These will certainly force more face-to-face negotiations between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, as Erdogan himself confirmed: “A conversation with Putin can take place any time. Everything depends on the course of events.”

“Events” seem not to be that incandescent, so far, even as Erdogan, predictably, releases the whiff of a threat in the air: “We reserve the right to resume military operation in Syria if terrorists approach at the distance of 30km to Turkey’s borders or continue attacks from any other Syrian area.”

Erdogan also said the de facto safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border could be “expanded,” something that he would have to clear in minute detail with Moscow.

Those threats have already manifested on the ground. On Wednesday, Turkey and allied Islamist factions launched an attack against Tal Tamr, a historic Assyrian Christian enclave 50km deep inside Syrian territory – far beyond the scope of the 10km patrol zone or the 30km “safe” zone.

ORDER IT NOW

Poorly-armed Syrian troops pulled out under fierce attack, and with no apparent Russian cover. The Syrian military on the same day issued a public statement calling on the Syrian Democratic Forces to reintegrate under its command. The SDF has said a compromise must be reached first over semi-autonomy for the northeastern region. Thousands of residents in the meantime fled farther south to the more protected city of Hasakeh.

Two facts are absolutely crucial. The Syrian Kurds have completed their pull out ahead of schedule, as confirmed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. And, this Friday, Russia and Turkey start their joint military patrols to the depth of 7km away from the border, part of the de facto safe zone in northeast Syria.

The devil in the immense details is how Ankara is going to manage the territories that it now actually controls, and to which it plans to relocate as many as 2 million Syrian refugees.

Your oil? Mine

Then there’s the nagging issue that simply won’t go away: the American drive to “secure the oil” (Trump) and “protect” Syrian oilfields (the Pentagon), for all practical purposes from Syria.

In Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – alongside Iran’s Javad Zarif and Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu – could not have been more scathing. Lavrov said Washington’s plan is “arrogant,” and violates international law. The very American presence on Syrian soil is “illegal,” he said.

All across the Global South, especially among countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, this is being interpreted, stripped to the bone, for what it is: the United States government illegally taking possession of natural resources of a third country via a military occupation.

And the Pentagon is warning that anyone attempting to contest it will be shot on sight. It remains to be seen whether the US Deep State would be willing to engage in a hot war with Russia over a few Syrian oilfields.

Under international law, the whole “securing the oil” scam is a euphemism for pillaging, pure and simple. Every single takfiri or jihadi outfit operating across the “Greater Middle East” will converge, perversely, to the same conclusion: US “efforts” across the lands of Islam are all about the oil.

Now compare that with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution and normalization of Syria – not to mention, behind the scenes, China, which quietly donates rice and aims for widespread investment in a pacified Syria positioned as a key Eastern Mediterranean node of the New Silk Roads.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Iran, Russia, Syria, Turkey 
Hide 3 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. I’m confused.

    Six weeks ago James Jeffrey repeated statements he’s made in congressional hearings, that he/his offices intend to do all they can to block reconstruction of Syria until Iran is completely out of Syria.

    In the same interview, Jeffrey said that the pressure measures being taken are to “get the Russians to agree to the Constitutional Committee membership, (which they just agreed to),” — the interview and this assertion is dated Sept. 20, 2019, but Escobar’s report says the framework for
    “The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress.”

    Are there two, competing “Constitutional Committees”?

    “Five years after the formation of the Global Coalition Against ISIS, Ambassador James Jeffrey speaks with Elizabeth Hagedorn about America’s role in Syria and the effort to fully dismantle ISIS in Iraq

    ELIZABETH HAGEDORN SEPTEMBER 20, 2019
    https://thedefensepost.com/2019/09/20/james-jeffrey-interview-syria-iraq-tanf-isis/

    Is there anything more that the U.S. could be doing to put pressure on Russia to stop helping the Assad regime indiscriminately bomb civilians?

    The problem with this is we’re doing a great deal. We’ve got a very broad sanctions program that Treasury runs. We have very close coordination with the E.U., which runs its own sanctions program. We have blocked all reconstruction assistance from anywhere including UNDP [U.N. Development Programme], World Bank, any place, anywhere inside Assad’s part of Syria. We are pursuing aggressively a ‘no diplomatic recognition’ policy throughout the world. For example, the Syrians were not invited back into the Arab League. So we’re putting as much pressure on the regime, and on its supporters, Russia and Iran, as possible.

    But also, although it’s not our purpose in being in northeastern Syria, we are in northeastern Syria and that by its nature keeps the regime out. The Turks are in northwest Syria for their own reasons, but that keeps the regime out. The Israelis are going after Syria’s ally Iran for its long-range systems that it’s introduced into Syria. So there’s a great pressure we’re putting the regime under.

    Whether that pressure will lead to the Russians to agree to the Constitutional Committee membership, (which they just agreed to) or a ceasefire in Idlib or better coordination with us on counterterrorism operations, which we’re asking for.

    Or a true withdrawal of Iranians, which they committed to a year ago in the southwest and haven’t carried out.

    I don’t know which of these they will do on which day. All I know is I have a broad brush pressure approach with many, many allies from the Turks, the Israelis, the Europeans, the Arabs and our SDF partners and the political opposition and the U.N., and we’re all kind of working together to put pressure on these people. And then it’s like, ‘bubble, bubble toil and trouble,’ and then good things pop out every once in awhile, and bad things too, like the Idlib offensive was a bad and very disappointing thing, but we’re hoping we’ll get a ceasefire.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  2. El Dato says:
    @SolontoCroesus

    I don’t know the answer but…

    I don’t know which of these they will do on which day. All I know is I have a broad brush pressure approach with many, many allies from the Turks, the Israelis, the Europeans, the Arabs and our SDF partners and the political opposition and the U.N., and we’re all kind of working together to put pressure on these people. And then it’s like, ‘bubble, bubble toil and trouble,’ and then good things pop out every once in awhile, and bad things too, like the Idlib offensive was a bad and very disappointing thing, but we’re hoping we’ll get a ceasefire.

    The bullshit, lying, arrogance and double-talk are so dense in that short paragraph that it shouldn’t even be physically possible.

    > Achievement unlocked: Syria a wreck, max civilans killed, will stay a wreck
    > Achievement unlocked: Christians wiped out
    > Achievement unlocked: Oil secured
    > Achievement unlocked: Israel owns Golan heights
    > Achievement unlocked: Europe destabilized by migration waves
    > Achievement unlocked: Full-spectrum propaganda effort p0wns Boobus Westerius
    > Open problem: Turkey not doing what it is told, plays dirty
    > Open problem: Iran forces still in Syria
    > Open problem: Russia has managed to escape mad beatdowns
    > Press F3 for quicksave

  3. nymom says:

    Please be careful about accepting Chinese rice. The rice they have donated to African countries has been found to be contaminated with a lot of micro-plastics…

    In the US we had a situation a few years back where pet food, treats and toys made in China were contaminated and some pets actually died. I don’t buy anymore of these things for my pets if they were made in China.

    The rice should be tested to make sure it is not contaminated before acceptance.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Pepe Escobar Comments via RSS