Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: The Key to the Syrian Crisis is in the Gulf | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The US Secretary of State John Kerry who has stepped up his activity in the past few days in order to convene the promised Geneva conference is trying to obtain concessions that will eventually lead to a political solution to the Syrian crisis and tragedy after a long journey of negotiations. This is a noble task except for the fact that Kerry will not attain the solution he and most countries of the world desire- an end to the fighting there. Insisting on marginalising the role of the real Syrian national opposition and any acceptance of Bashar Al-Assad staying in power will only result in failure even if a preliminary agreement is signed in future negotiations.

The point that must not be forgotten is that there will not be a solution that is accepted by the Syrian people unless it is supported by the Gulf and Turkey. The foreign ministers of the United States and Russia will not be able to impose a solution without the support and promotion of these countries because most Syrian people in Syria and abroad trust the Gulf and Turkey to stand in solidarity with them. The key to the solution is in the Gulf and Turkey and not in Geneva.

At the same time it does not make sense for these countries to sign and defend an agreement which stipulates that Assad remains the president. It is a matter that will not please anyone in most Arab countries that consider Assad the biggest criminal in the region. Gulf states know that it would be suicidal to leave Syria to the Iranian regime which is spreading in the region like cancer.

Perhaps it is also useful to remind Kerry how Arabs view the situation. The United States has lifted sanctions on Iran and granted it access to $50 billion of previously frozen assets. It is also cooperating militarily in Iraq and turns a blind eye to Iran’s management of militias from all around the world that fight in Syria. The US not only deals with the Assad regime but is also silent about Iran forging the Syrian opposition’s identity; Iran wants to impose a list of figures and organisations that it claims are the opposition when in reality they are part of the Syrian regime- Assad wants to negotiate with himself!