The ‘Friends of Syria’ conference in Istanbul ended with a pledge of qualified support for the Annan plan while agreeing on concrete measures to undermine it.
Here we have Saudi Arabia and Qatar shelling out money to ensure they keep fighting, with the backing of the other ‘Friends of Syria’.We can see what this is intended to produce, a situation in which every time the Syrian army is involved in conflict with armed groups it will be blamed for violating the Annan plan.All the ‘rebels’ have to do is keep shooting.This is exactly what their peace-loving supporters meeting in Istanbul want them to do.
Assad ~ abused and insulted by them ~ is still there and more on top of the situation than he was a little while ago.
The Saudis are driven by their own agenda, which is to set up a Sunni Muslim wall against Iran and Shi’ism across the Middle East.Does anyone seriously think they have the best interests of the Syrian people at heart?
The refusal of the Kurdish governorate to hand Mr. Hashemi over to the government in Baghdad deepens the divide between these two centres of power in Iraq. The warm welcome Mr. Hashimi was given in Qatar is further evidence of the broader divide that is taking shape in the Middle East, with the US, the EU, the Gulf states and Turkey standing on one side and Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Russia and China on the other.
‘We reject any arming [of Syrian rebels] and the process to overthrow the regime because this will leave a greater crisis in the region. The stance of these two states is very strange. They are calling for sending arms instead of working to put out the fire and they will hear our voice, that we are against arming and against foreign interference. We are against the interference of some countries in Syria’s internal affairs and those countries that are interfering in Syria’s internal affairs will interfere in the internal affairs of any country’.
Turkey has tried to placate Iran but insofar as Syria is concerned Iran is standing firm. It knows full well that it is next on the chopping block.
‘In the absence of a declaration of war or authorization by parliament, it is a crime under Turkish law to allow Turkish territory to be used for hostile purposes against any neighboring country.‘Turkey is hosting scores of rebel commanders and there are serious claims that the rebel forces are receiving arms through Turkish territory. With almost 50 per cent electoral support, the current Turkish government can escape all kinds of accountability but as electoral support cannot last forever, tomorrow may be bleak, particularly if the effort to change the Syrian regime fails’.
~ Jeremy Salt is an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.