Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Kosovo II, or Geneva II? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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We are now undoubtedly standing before a pivotal development in Syria. Bashar Al-Assad has used chemical weapons in east Ghouta, killing more than 1,300 Syrian, most of whom women and children. So, to which direction will the compass needle point regarding the Syrian events? Will it be Kosovo II, or are we on the way to Geneva II?

There has been a shift in world opinion, in both political circles and in the media, following the Ghouta massacre. This has resulted in huge pressure, not only on the US president, but also on Iran and Russia, which have both condemned the use of chemical weapons.

Some may say that there is no change, since Tehran and Moscow are accusing the opposition of using the chemical weapons. This is not important, because Iran and Russia’s excuses were clear from the start of the revolution. What is important here is that they have acknowledged that chemical weapons were used, and have asked Assad to allow an international investigation. This came under international pressure, which is now calling for a military operation in Syria.

Today, pressure is mounting on President Obama, and expectations are rising that he is close to military action against Assad. This is especially due to the movement of American forces to positions close to Syria, and also due to the announcement of a meeting of senior Arab, American and European military chiefs of staff in Jordan.

Assad’s use of chemical weapons does not only damage the credibility of the Americans, it also limits the options of the international community. They either deal with it or accept its consequences. The most important consequence is that the fact the international community ignores the massacre of Ghouta will be seen as a green light to use more chemical weapons to destroy the revolution.

It seems that this is what the international community feels right now, especially in Washington. The American media yesterday revealed that Obama was considering how to respond to Assad militarily, based on American intervention in Kosovo with the help of NATO, when it carried out air strikes for 78 days, and in which the forces of Milošević were defeated without the need for the UN Security Council.

Reports say that Obama is studying the Kosovo option because the Russians are expected to stop the Security Council from passing a resolution which allows the use of force against Assad. This option–Kosovo II–together with the Russian condemnation of the use of chemical weapons, means that Moscow and Tehran would work for Geneva II by giving some concessions in order to avoid a bigger defeat, if a military strike was directed at the Assad’s forces, in order to reduce current international pressure on Assad.

What is certain is that the Ghouta crime should not go unpunished, and if the confidence in Western intervention in Syria was shaken due to constant stalling, events indicate that we are heading to a Kosovo II scenario, especially after Assad’s crimes were proven and his lies uncovered. It has also become clear that international silence will lead the region to catastrophe, and may make what we have seen in our recent history a minor detail when compared to the horrific episodes that await us on the bloody Syrian stage.