EU offers cash to Assad To Break Up Syria As Part Of ‘Peace Deal’
Sabba – Syria is not just any country in the Middle East. Alongside its unfailing support for Hezbollah, it is the ONLY country which has continuously stood by Palestine and the Palestinians since 1948. I was blessed to have visited this country before the invasion started and one of the first thing that struck me was the Palestinian flags. They were (are?) everywhere, absolutely everywhere, side by side with the Syrian flag.
So the EU is shamelessly offering cash to Assad so that he agrees to break up his own country to ensure that, like Iraq, it never becomes a major player in the Middle East.
The EU is offering him cash so that he agrees to weaken the central authority of Damascus, balkanize Syria into a confederation of different states one of which would ideally go to… the jewhadists of I.S.I.S.
In other words, they are offering Assad cash so that he agrees to put in place the Oded Yinon Plan in Syria.
TIMES – The EU is offering financial support for a Syria still ruled by President Assad in a last-ditch effort to retain western influence on the outcome of the war, The Times has been told.
As the battle for Aleppo reaches an endgame, EU officials are said to have accepted that previous western demands that Assad step down are unrealistic. There is a growing sense that America has been sidelined as a western negotiating partner.
Instead, the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, put new proposals to opposition leaders at a meeting two weeks ago, with an offer of aid and investment as a sweetener for all sides.
The proposals were in line with United Nations resolutions calling for a “political transition” in Syria. The United States, Britain and France have always backed the opposition’s insistence that the words “political transition” meant Assad’s removal from office, but now discussion of the precise outcome of the “transition” is being left to a future date.
The EU proposals would involve devolution of power to Syria’s provinces, which would allow for “moderate rebel” forces to be integrated into local security forces. Central institutions of the state would remain, though eventually under more democratic control. The future of Assad is not mentioned.
“What Mogherini wanted to do was present an EU plan — this is how to solve the conflict,” a source close to the opposition said. “There’s a transition, but the details are vague. In return, if all sides agree and everyone does what the EU says, there’s a huge pot of money.”
The outline of the proposals was confirmed by European diplomats.
EU leaders’ renewed drive to find a solution to the Syrian crisis is driven by fears that it is destroying Europe’s political fabric, with the refugee crisis contributing to electoral chaos across the continent. Reconstructing Syria, however unpalatable it might be that Assad remains in the presidential palace, is the only way to reverse the exodus of its people.
The siege of Aleppo, along with the election of Donald Trump in the United States, has wrecked western efforts to end the war, and put Russia and Iran in the driving seat as Assad’s main external backers. Independent observers say that Assad forces now controlled more than half of rebel-held Aleppo.
Overnight the regime and its allies seized the district of Tariq al-Bab after heavy fighting, opening a route between Aleppo’s international airport and the government-held west, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said today.
A victory in Aleppo would all but confirm the impossibility of removing Assad, as demanded not just by the three western UN security council powers but also by the regional states that have backed the rebels.
The imminent rebel defeat in Aleppo has led to all sides readjusting their positions. Representatives of the armed rebels have been meeting Russian officials in Turkey this week, separately from either the external political opposition or their Gulf or American backers. They have offered to accept a UN proposal for an Aleppo ceasefire and aid supplies in return for fighters loyal to the Fateh al-Sham Front, the former al-Qaeda affiliate known as the al-Nusra Front, being forced to leave.
The regime has trumpeted its advances with broadcasts on state television which showed coachloads of residents returning to eastern neighbourhoods which have been retaken by the army.
Assad is also scoring victories elsewhere. His forces have forced a “reconciliation deal”, a surrender under which rebels are escorted to opposition-held Idlib province, in the town of Khan al-Shih, west of Damascus, and is mopping up other fronts near the capital.
In the south, under a widely believed but never confirmed deal between King Abdullah of Jordan and President Putin, rebels have largely called off attacks in return for not being targeted by airstrikes.
The king was concerned at the instability in southern Syria and, once it became clear that Assad was not going to give way, preferred stability to a chaotic regime collapse. The rebels’ “southern front” was largely controlled out of Amman.
It is unclear what incentive the regime has to be more amenable to EU proposals now that it thinks it is winning the war.
However, the rebels have vowed to continue fighting and in Idlib they have a whole province neighbouring their principal conduit for arms, Turkey, which cannot be encircled easily.
Many rebel groups have threatened to turn to tactics associated with guerrilla warfare, such as car bombings.
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