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The Battle for Syria

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Meet the Next Peace Laureate

September 15th 2013


On September 12, two days before the announcement on the agreement between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons--an agreement that has yet to be approved by Bashar Assad--Pravda reported that Vladimir Putin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Sergei Komkov, President of the Russian Foundation for Education, who must have known already that the agreement was in Putin's pocket. 

Komkov's letter to the Nobel Committee praises Putin's contribution to the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria, arguing that Putin showed his commitment to peace in practice: "Being the leader of one of the leading countries of the world, he makes every effort to maintain peace and tranquility in his own state and actively contributes to the peaceful resolution of all conflicts arising on the planet." This gave the recommendation the special oomph to justify the nomination of this human rights abuser, who has been busy oppressing his own people and giving aid and succor to criminals like Bashar Assad and the Iranian Mullahs.

According to the agreement reached in Geneva on Saturday, Syria has one week to provide a complete list of its chemical assets and their locations. "The first international inspection of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile" will take place in November, and the destruction or removal of the weapons should be completed by the middle of 2014. The speed at which 1,000 tons of "sulfur, mustard gas and the ingredients for sarin and the nerve agent VX" is unprecedented.

An expert on chemical weapons at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies commented: "This situation has no precedent. They are cramming what would probably be five or six years' worth of work into a period of several months, and they are undertaking this in an extremely difficult security environment due to the ongoing civil war."

If Assad doesn't comply, then the UN Security Council will take punitive action, that is, if the Russians (who oppose any military intervention), and/or Chinese don't veto. While Obama maintains U.S. military intervention is still on the table, he's not taken seriously. At the time of this writing, Assad has said nothing that affirms the viability of the plan.

With the help of the Obama administration, the New York Times and others have candy-coated the story, saying this agreement is the outcome of Obama's "credible" threat of military action. Accordingly, the administration and the media will no doubt start talking about Russo-American comity and call the present turn of events a "win-win" situation for both Obama and Putin.

However, giving Assad a reprieve from foreign military action virtually guarantees the continuation of his regime. The Syrian opposition has already declared it will not stop fighting Assad, and jihadists from all over the world will join their fight, collect arms the Syrian army leaves behind and use them for attacks in Jordan, Lebanon and beyond.

How very convenient for the do-nothing U.S. administration. We will not have to intervene in Syria, the sanctions on Iran (which have already been relaxed) will be gradually removed, allowing it to improve its economy, and build its long-range missiles and nuclear bombs.

By signing this agreement, the U.S. lost whatever credibilty it still had in the region. The future of the Eastern Mediterranean, delegated to Putin and his ally Iran, doesn't promise much peace.

In the meantime, Putin will likely join the list of notable laureates of peaceful intentions such as the late international terrorist Yasser Arafat and American president Barak Hussein Obama. Don't be surprised if the Nobel Committee also nominates the alleged Iranian "reformer" president Hassan Rowhani to share the Nobel Peace Prize with Putin. Hard to think of a better match.

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