You are browsing the archive for Sergey Lavrov.

Is Sergey Lavrov the obvious Nobel Peace Prize choice?

12:28 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Expanding a comment at David Swanson’s Save the Nobel Peace Prize from Itself

Obviously the Nobel Peace Prize should be given to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In the quickest thinking diplomatic moment of all time, he literally prevented an imminent war by taking advantage of a U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry bonehead error, where Kerry sneered/joked that aggressive U.S. war on Syria would be called off only if “every single bit” of Syria’s chemical weapons were eliminated in a week. More details are in Syria calls John Kerry’s bluff, agrees to turn over its chemical weapons to UN!, where I quote the Guardian on the purely rhetorical nature of Kerry’s pseudo-demand:

The US state department stressed that Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the one-week deadline and unlikelihood of Assad turning over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. In a statement, the department added: “His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That’s why the world faces this moment.” …

Kerry said Assad might avoid an attack if he handed every bit of his chemical weapons stock, but added that the Syrian president was not going to do that.

Despite it all, despite hilarious headlines like Kerry tells Russia his Syria comments were not meant as a proposal, Lavrov pushed on, in the end providing the world with a little peace.

If the Peace Prize is not given to Lavrov, possibly in combination with Russian President Vladimir Putin — who was surely in close consultation with his foreign minister during the critical minutes and hours after Kerry’s gaffe — that once more confirms that the Peace Prize committee is just another ‘new cold war’ institution. In other words, it’s a war institution. War being peace these days, in case you haven’t noticed …

And not that we won’t get Obama and Kerry’s war on Syria in 2014 (the U.S. is requiring Syria to prove a WMD negative, the same thing we demanded of Iraq in 2002-3), but let’s focus for now on 2013 and its prize.

A final and second thought, if the committee has a sense of humor I’d love to see them give the peace prize to Lavrov AND Kerry. Who knows, could happen, the committee showing a nice comic sense by awarding Barack the Obomber the prize a few years ago.

P.S. — In a rational world I wouldn’t have to say the following, but here goes anyway: None of the above should be taken as a defense of Russia’s government or any of its policies, including its treatment of gays and Pussy Riot. Read the rest of this entry →

Syrian rebels to reject U.S./Russia-sponsored peace talks?

6:39 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Bashar al-Assad

The U.S. has made a major concession in order to get a Syria peace conference off the ground. Specifically, Secretary of State John Kerry divorced himself from the rebels’ ‘first Assad must go’ peace talks precondition:

… Kerry told reporters that only the Syrian regime and the opposition can determine the make-up of a transitional government to shepherd the war-torn nation towards democratic elections.

“It’s impossible for me as an individual to understand how Syria could possibly be governed in the future by the man who has committed the things that we know have taken place,” Kerry said as he wrapped up his first visit in office to Russia.

“But I’m not going to decide that tonight, and I’m not going to decide that in the end.”

Except for the middle paragraph, that is largely what Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been saying for quite awhile (see paragraph four in blockquote below).

So how does the peace talks proposal play with the rebels? So far not well. From Reuters:

… Most opposition figures have ruled out talks unless Assad and his inner circle are excluded from any future transitional government.

“No official position has been decided but I believe the opposition would find it impossible to hold talks over a government that still had Assad at its head,” said Samir Nashar, a member of the opposition’s umbrella National Coalition body.

“Before making any decisions we need to know what Assad’s role would be. That point has been left vague, we believe intentionally so, in order to try to drag the opposition into talks before a decision on that is made.”

In the past, the United States has backed opposition demands that Assad be excluded from any future government, while Russia has said that must be for Syrians to decide, a formula the opposition believes could be used to keep Assad in power. …

Inside the country, where rebel groups are numerous and have disparate views, a military commander in the north, Abdeljabbar al-Oqaidi, told Reuters he would want to know details of the U.S.-Russian plan before taking a view. “But,” he added, “if the regime were present, I do not believe we would want to attend.”

And here’s the Guardian:

Syrian opposition leaders have reacted sceptically to a joint call by the US and Russia for an international conference to discuss the creation of a transitional government in Damascus to end the country’s escalating 25-month crisis.

Moaz al-Khatib, who resigned last month as head of the National Opposition Coalition (NOC), the main western- and Arab-backed grouping, warned: “Syrians: be careful of squandering your revolution in international conference halls.”

Walid Saffour, the NOC’s London representative, said he was sceptical, though a formal decision had yet to be taken.

The rebels’ sad faces tell me that Syria’s long and bloody nightmare may soon be over, and it’s a day to be cheerful and optimistic. Someone else is happy too:

The US-Russia agreement was warmly welcomed on Wednesday by the joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, whose diplomacy has been stalled for months by divisions in the UN security council. “This is the first hopeful news concerning that unhappy country in a very long time,” said his office. “The statements made in Moscow constitute a very significant first step forward. It is nevertheless only a first step.”

Sorry rebels, (maybe) no more beheadings, and (maybe) no more  kidnapping Filipino peacekeepers on the Golan Heights.

Read the rest of this entry →