Reprinted from Counterpunch
"It is remarkable that western leaders only remember the term ceasefire when their rebels on the ground are losing. Why didn't they see the need for peace in Syria before the Russian operation started?" ~~ Iyad Khuder, Damascus-based political analyst
Imagine if the American people elected a president who was much worse than George W. Bush or Barack Obama. A real tyrant. Would that be sufficient justification for someone like Vladimir Putin to arm and train Mexican and Canadian mercenaries to invade America, kill US civilians, destroy cities and critical infrastructure, seize vital oil refineries and pipeline corridors, behead government officials and prisoners they'd captured, declare their own independent state, and do everything in their power to overthrow the elected-government in Washington?
Of course not. The question is ridiculous. It wouldn't matter if the US president was a tyrant or not, that doesn't justify an invasion by armed proxies from another country. And yet, this is precisely the policy that US Secretary of State John Kerry defended at the United Nations on Friday. Behind all the political blabber about a "roadmap to peace," Kerry was tacitly defending a policy which has led to the deaths of 250,000 Syrians and the destruction of the country.
And, keep in mind, Kerry didn't drag his case before the UN Security Council because he's serious about a negotiated settlement or peace. That's baloney. What Kerry wants is a resolution that will protect the groups of US-backed jihadis on the ground from the Russian-led offensive. That's what's really going on. The Obama administration sees the handwriting on the wall. They know that Russia is going to win the war, so they've settled on a plan for protecting their agents in the field. That's why the emphasis is on a ceasefire; it's because Kerry wants a "Timeout" so his Sunni militants can either regroup or retreat. Just take a look at this short excerpt from the UN's summary of last Friday's confab and you'll see Kerry's really up-to:
"In its first resolution to focus on the politics of ending Syria's five-year-long war, the Security Council today gave the United Nations an enhanced role in shepherding the opposing sides to talks for a political transition, with a timetable for a ceasefire, a new constitution and elections, all under UN auspices...
"(The Security Council) acknowledged the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process, with the former to come into effect as soon as the sides have begun initial steps towards a political transition under UN auspices.
"The resolution asked Mr. Ban through the offices of his Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to determine the modalities of a ceasefire and plan to support its implementation, while urging Member States, in particular members of the ISSG, to accelerate all efforts to achieve a ceasefire, including through pressing all relevant parties to adhere to one.
"Emphasizing the need for a ceasefire monitoring and verification mechanism, the Council asked Mr. Ban to report back to it on options with a month, and called on Member States to provide 'expertise and in-kind contributions' to support such a mechanism..." ("In first political resolution on war-torn Syria, Security Council gives UN major role in seeking peace," UN News Centre)
See what I mean: Ceasefire, ceasefire, ceasefire. It's all about a ceasefire. Kerry wants a ceasefire. Obama wants a ceasefire. A big part of the ruling US establishment want a ceasefire. No, not the neocons, not the liberal interventionists, and not the diehard hawks like Ash Carter at the Pentagon, but a good portion of the ruling elites who've been following events on the ground and who know how this thing is going to end. The smart money has already moved on to Plan B, which is why they're now focused on cutting their losses and saving as many of "their guys" as possible. Naturally, the people who funded, armed, trained and deployed these various Sunni fighters feel responsible for their safety, so they're going to do whatever they can to get them out. That's where Kerry comes in. Kerry's job was to fly to Moscow, tell Putin that Obama had changed his mind about regime change, and get the Kremlin to back Kerry's UN resolution. The primary objective of this farce is to garner international support for designating terrorist groups as "moderates" and to move in the direction of UN-mandated ceasefire that will stop the Russian-led offensive in its tracks.
But isn't that what everyone wants, an end to the hostilities?
Not exactly. A war against terrorists is different than a war between nation-states or a civil war. A group like Jabhat al-Nusra, for example, can't be treated the same way as armed members of the political opposition. These are religious fanatics determined to use any means possible to achieve their goal of a fascist Islamic Caliphate. Reasoned discourse doesn't work with people like this, they have to be killed or captured. And this is exactly what the Russian-led coalition is doing, they're progressively mopping up the terrorist threat in Syria at great risk to themselves and their fellow-collation members Iran, Hezbollah, and the Syrian Arab Army. Kerry's job is to throw a wrench in the anti-terror campaign to impede the coalition's progress. And he's willing to lie to do it. Case in point: Here's a quote from Kerry in Moscow just last Tuesday:
"As I emphasized today, the United States and our partners are not seeking so-called 'regime change,' as it is known in Syria."
Later in the day, Kerry underscored the administration's dramatic about-face saying: "We are not trying to do a regime change. We are not engaged in a color revolution. We're not engaged in trying to interfere in another country... We're trying to make peace."
Okay, so the US has given up on regime change?
Not at all. Kerry was just lying through his teeth as usual. Here's what he said less than 24 hours later: