I don’t know about you, but I personally feel relieved, if not ecstatic. There have been two huge, unmatched international events: First, the acceptance of the Syrian regime of the destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal. Second, the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Both incidents represent a humanitarian victory, and all that remains following these two events are trivial and unimportant details. Like, for example, the millions of Syrian refugees who have been driven from Syria, not to mention the millions more who have been internally displaced due to the ongoing civil war. There are the tens of thousands who have been detained or held hostage or worse, as well as the tens of thousands who have been killed. This is not to mention the fate of Syria itself. Syria which was the beating heart of pan-Arabism, but which today seems to be waging a war against its Arab citizens, or at least those who are left!
The international community appears to be clowning around. More than 100,000 people have been killed by conventional weaponry, including tanks, rocket fire, missiles, bullets, and even knives, however it seems that this huge death toll has been disregarded and overshadowed by the death of some 1,000 people in the Ghouta chemical weapons massacre. This entire death toll and destruction has been disregarded following the mutual back-slapping over the chemical weapons deal. Indeed, US Secretary of State John Kerry commended Assad for complying with this deal, while he may also commend and congratulate him at the forthcoming elections as well. Vladimir Putin also came out to flex his muscles and speak about the importance of diplomacy in getting rid of these silent weapons of genocide. This is so that Russia can continue to send noisier weapons of death and destruction of the Assad regime, including tanks, fighter jets, and missiles. As for the knives, Assad can source those locally.
One of my favorite songs, by French singer Aznavour, goes: “Il me semble que la misère/Serait moins pénible au soleil” or otherwise “It seems to me that misery is less tortuous under the sun.” The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, and everything surrounding this, seems to say that we are in for a long winter. For while a deal has been reached, the chemical weapons remain, while millions of Syrian refugees are out in the cold, stuck in refugee camps in neighboring countries. These poor Syrians will not be top of the agenda at Geneva II; indeed they will be lucky to rate a mention at all. The suffering Syrian children stopped being a source of concern the moment that the Assad regime stopped targeting them with chemical, but not conventional, weapons. We must resolve this untenable situation before the Syrian presidential elections are scheduled to take place to re-elect Bashar Al-Assad. And just as the international community celebrated the Nobel Peace prize, many in the Arab region will celebrate with a jihad of their own, worsening the situation.
This world speaks a single language, albeit with different accents and dialects. Both the Russian Bear and American Eagle are using the same expressions and celebrating the same victory, after more than two and a half years of promoting violence and genocide, whether directly, as is the case with Moscow, or indirectly due to passivity, as is the case with Washington. Both parties are now waiting for Geneva II, as if Geneva I had achieved anything!
Anybody who has worked long in this profession will not be surprised. The international community has returned to act like undertakers, indeed they did not hesitate to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger!