Dr. Ebrahim Motaghi
Tehran University Professor
‘Friends of Syria’ conference was held in Paris on July 6, 2012, with the United States its center. Speaking at the conference, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, used harsh language when referring to Russia and China, in an effort to provoke the international public opinion against the two UN Security Council members. Moscow and Beijing had opposed any military move against Bashar Assad’s government. They believe any transition of power should be carried out based on the international peace-seeking process, which is why both countries have called for cooperation with the group observing cease-fire in Syria. Signs of political pressure have been witnessed working on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, along with the approach offered by Clinton. The US attempts to create an anti-Assad mood at the United Nations through its ambassador, Susan Rice. In fact, the main objective Washington is pursuing is toppling the Syrian government, which can be materialized through Coercive Diplomacy at the international level, supporting the armed opposition groups inside Syria, financing the oppositions by Saudi Arabia and having the UN Security Council resolution that legitimizes using military forces in Syria approved. This comes as Russia and China that use of force will end in considerable degree of political and security hazard for the region.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, too, has offered its support for the UN Secretary General’s plan which mainly revolves around putting a cease-fire in place, observing the process of the cease-fire and conducting dialogue between the conflicting sides. Under the circumstances, the US attempts to undermine the efficiency of the group observing the cease-fire in Syria. This is why Susan Rice has called on Ban Ki Moon to cut down on the UN forces observing cease-fire in Syria, as part of efforts to pose further threats on the Syrian government. Once the UN forces are reduced, terroristic groups such as those affiliated with the Al-Qaeda will acquire further initiative for carrying out assassinations, bomb blasts and spreading terror in Syria. This comes as the active Al-Qaeda forces in Syria are being organized by Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the main reason for Turkey and Saudi Arabia opposing Assad government can be Syria’s regional role as part of Resistance Front. In other words, the US is trying to exert political and security pressure on the region’s Resistance Front. Syria is the geopolitical link connecting Iran to the area stretching from Iraq to the Eastern Mediterranean and enjoys the necessary capabilities for safeguarding the Resistance Front forces against the Zionist regime of Israel and the world hegemony. This is why confronting Syria is regarded as part of the military strategy of the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey against Iran. Each of the three countries, with totally different approaches, oppose Iran’s achieving a significant role and place in the region.
France, on the other side, has obvious differences in its approach with those of the US. Washington is after toppling Syrian government through military assault, which is why it’s preparing a resolution based on the article 42 of the United Nations charter. This is while, French President Franciose Hollande is pursuing an intermediate approach concerning Syria, which can prepare grounds for creating a balanced situation as long as Syria’s political future is concerned. Hollande calls for applying article 41 of the UN charter. This article predicts any kind of international move concerning the regional crises based on processes that involve weak measures that gradually increase international restrictions.
The US-Saudi security policy rests at the center of the countries’ confronting Syria. The two countries are in a balance of threat situation. The balance of threat concept was proposed by Stephan Walt, who used the term to define cooperation between agents with a common enemy. In the US geopolitical thought and Saudi Arabia’s ideological approach, Iran is a security threat. Thereby, Washington and Riyadh are using the anti-Assad model as a way to reduce Iran’s power in the region.
Once the capability of containing Iran is reduced in the regional policy, grounds will be prepared for launching aggressive actions against Iranian establishments. Iran’s strategic capabilities in Syria and Lebanon can be the main force behind Iran’s power of containment Iran in the Eastern Mediterranean. War in Syria will have widespread consequences in the region. That is the reason why countries such as Russia and China try to organize the balance of threat from a new perspective. Requirements of the two countries’ balance of threat at the UN Security Council will prevent the US from stabilizing its hegemonic role in the international politics and the Middle East’s regional security.
Friends of Syria conference failed to fulfill strategic demands of the US. The reason lies in the US hegemonic policy in the Middle East, where any strategic planning in the region should to be along with regional balance. Seeking balance is still regarded the dominant international policy, and a country that intends to follow up its strategic objectives through power enforcement, will generally create grounds for spreading threat.
Thread spreading phenomenon should be regarded among the main consequences of adventurism in Syria. Russia, China and France are opposing enactment of the article 42 of the UN charter concerning Syria, because they believe any hasty military attack will bring about a crisis in the region. Political overthrow of Assad government through Coercive policy based on military power is a mission impossible. Any form of political development in Syria will be possible only when procedures based on regional balance are followed up. Ban Ki Moon’s peace plan can be considered an organized move aimed at crisis management in Syria.