Column: Syria ceasefire, Vodka and Pizza agreement

Column: Syria ceasefire, Vodka and Pizza agreement

What did it mean when both the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, came out last Friday to boast their “achievement” in Syria? This was after more than 14 hours of “presumed” talks that did not reach an agreement, and was supposed to ensure aid entering Aleppo on the condition of a cease-fire and the evacuation of the Castello road. 

How hilarious does this condition sound, the condition that Kerry put forward which states that the aid boxes must be sealed, without mentioning during his own conference, and in front of Lavrov and the world, that these seals are to ensure that the Assad regime and his Iranian mercenaries do not steal any of the humanitarian aid.

Blackmail with an international certificate

Therefore, 14 hours of talks and the result was taking Russian approval conditioned with a hundred clauses to allow humanitarian aid to pass. The United Nations said on Friday that Russia and the Assad regime “actually stopped aid convoys this month” and that petrol is about to run out in the besieged city of Aleppo, “which made the peace talks between the United States and Russia in Geneva on Friday more urgent.”

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told reporters in Geneva that “aid convoys in Syria are stalled for the time being” in spite of the continued operation of an air bridge to PYD-controlled Hasaka city in the northeast of the country and the implementation of a number of evacuations from the besieged towns of al-Fouaa and Madaya.

It is apparent from the words of the United Nations that Russia and the United States are not pressuring the Syrian people only through ground events and bombardment, but they are also blackmailing them with their food, health and the cries of their children – in accordance with an international testimony.

This shows the reason behind the words of Kerry and US officials mainly revolving around the subject of aid.

Where is Iran?

Fourteen hours and only a meager agreement was established. Nothing was clear about it and no clear implementing mechanism was mentioned. In addition and more importantly, there was no Russian commitment to anything. However, all the pressure was placed on the revolutionaries; they were ordered to submit pledges and to commit to the agreement which they were not consulted about, and in exchange they were not promised anything real, nor a legal obligation by the other party.

Iran and its mercenaries were absent from this agreement, so what about them? They represent the real striking force on the ground in Aleppo and other places for they are besieging eastern Ghouta, Zabadani and other areas of Syria.

The devil lies within the details

Researcher Charles Lester stated regarding the agreement that the devil lies within the details. Lester places many doubts regarding the feasibility of the US demand from the revolutionary groups to stay away from the Fatteh Al-Sham Front. Despite the fact that these opposition fighting groups denied targeting the front, the interests of both sides are overlapping and their cooperation never stopped. In addition, Fatteh Al-Sham has a strong presence along Syrian territory and targeting it would simply mean providing a service to the regime and weakening the revolutionary fronts.

Lester also discusses the absence of Iran from the agreement and doubts Tehran’s acceptance from the start. This means that, in light of Iran’s hidden competition with Russia for influence, it could breach the cease-fire whenever it wants, since the agreement did not mention Tehran and did not even mention its mercenaries.

Vodka and Pizza

It did not dawn upon the journalists gathered in Geneva, as they drank vodka brought by Lavrov, and ate pizza provided by Kerry, that they were celebrating an agreement they believed to be a “landmark” one, while Russian jets were bombing the towns of Idlib and Aleppo using interstitial missiles, killing more than 35 Syrian civilians.

This synchronization clearly shows the reality of the agreement and what Russia has actually planned for Syria and its people.

Omar al-Khatib – Orient News