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The agreement between Russia and the US and the measures already taken by Syria to rid itself of chemical weapons is a great step towards peace. It has avoided, for the present, a massive escalation to war in the region, but it leaves Israel, Saudi Arabia, their foreign mercenaries and the Syrian rebels frustrated at having failed to achieve their strategic aim.
They sought a Libyan style US and NATO intervention to defeat the Syrian government for them. A ‘limited’ strike against the Syrian army would not have sufficed and they had intended to force its extension. The leadership of the rebels sited in Turkey has already rejected the agreement and threatened any UN inspectors implementing the plan. In the West the pro-war politicians and their supporters are doing their best to undermine the agreement saying how ‘impractical’ it is. They are seeking to undermine Russia’s diplomacy and looking for an opportunity to bring back US war intervention.
The main factor that has prevented the war so far has been public opposition especially in our country and the US but also in the Middle East and the rest of the world. The Turkish government, which supported intervention, is facing a huge anti-war resistance as the people there realize that the logic of war will drag them into a full invasion of Syria and a virtual war on the Al Qaeda jihadists. The progress in peace with the Turkish Kurds has already suffered a major setback.
Israel needs an escalation of war in Syria to prepare the ground for an attack on Hisbollah in Lebanon. It was Hisbollah resistance which forced Israel out of Lebanon and prevented a second invasion forcing Israel to bomb from the air in fear of a second defeat in occupation. Israel also wants to attack Iran with US support under the pretext of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons (which Israel already has, along with chemical and biological ones.) Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Gulf also see a Syrian defeat as a blow against Iran. They use money to encourage a Sunni jihadist war on Shia communities and countries.
The other great force for peace has been Russia and its leader Putin. They have been steady and consistent in the UN Security Council with support from China and active in mobilizing international diplomatic support against intervention. Their initiative has saved Obama from a humiliating defeat in Congress, but more importantly in the longer term, it has shown with increasing clarity that US involvement in a war in the Middle East is not in its own national interest, but serves Israel, Saudi Arabia and its allies who have a big agenda to re-shape the Middle East in their favour whatever the consequences.
A peace conference is a big problem for the Syrian rebels. There are 1,200 groups and no unity. Crucially the Al Qaeda jihadists do not accept the leadership of the Western backed ‘free Syrian Army’ which is mainly based in Turkey. Their backers do not want participation from Iran. So such a conference and progress needs all the support it can get from the UN and public opinion.