“RAND – Al Nusra”... Pandora’s Box!
Last month, the US-supported RAND Corporation released the fourth part of its series “A Peace Plan for Syria”, which formulated, with a fair clarity, what was called a “a bottom-up approach” to political transition in Syria!
This “informal” US proposal or “solution” is strongly supported by official US statements and actions. The “solution” stems from the idea that any real change in Syria in the short term is impossible, and therefore partial and “bottom-up” changes should be made that open the way for real change... later on.
Partial changes, RAND reported, is based on local councils in the nonregime-controlled areas, as the main partner. The plan is based on holding “internationally monitored local elections to the communal councils”, with certain “principles and criteria” to which local councils must adhere, in order to get international recognition and legitimacy. The elected councils in turn assess the basic needs, and these assessments will become the basis for distribution of funds allocated for reconstruction. It is no coincidence, as well, that this plan has its common aspects with Staffan de Mistura’s emphasis on “constitution and elections” as an entry point, and even as a “Trojan horse”, to enter the castle and reach a political solution. To take responsibility away from the West, in this matter, it is necessary to accuse Russia day and night, and to accuse de Mistura of being submissive to Russia’s guidance and will, and accuse Russia of being willing to deviate from 2254 and trying to neutralize the political transition in favor of elections and a constitution and so forth...).
The RAND report justifies its propositions by assuming that this (bottom-up) process would “create a foundation for decentralized governance” and “will help develop a new generation of grassroots leadership throughout the country”, which would limit the dominion of the Assad regime in some way.
To put it more clearly, the RAND plan says the following on behalf of the USA:
Let the Syrian regime remains as it is in the areas which are under its control. And this would require: (a) the continuation of the battle, and (b) not to enter into a comprehensive political solution, and these two requirements will serve each other, and we will find those who objectively support this trend among the various Syrian parties benefiting from the crisis and scared from change and political solution.
Let us shift our control of the areas (that are ours) from temporary military control to long-term political control through (the portal of) local councils and reconstruction, and “what we will be doing is shifting from what I would call an offensive terrain-seizing approach, to a stabilizing… you’ll see more U.S. diplomats on the ground” – US Secretary of Defense Jim Matisse (29/12/2017).
This will lead to a fait accompli division, as we create within (our) areas multiple “Solideres” within multiple “Green Zones” (This reminds us of Western officials’ talk last April about Al Raqqa - Las Vegas of the East, and also of ESCWA reports - Abdallah Al Dardari). We will make the most of the natural resources of (our) areas, allowing for the production of fictitious reconstruction in areas devoid of free will, through loans, debts and poorly respected partition leaderships.
In conclusion, the continuation of the war means the continuation of the attrition (and may the reader allow us to go a little further with the American Dream) and open the possibility of a bigger explosion that we hope will happen in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and beyond ... in addition to Syria, of course. All this will delay the manifestation of the new international balance of power, with weak prospects to prevent it from manifesting at all... and this in turn will prevent the collapse of the dollar...
The success of the entire plan is related to the continuation of the battle and not reaching a comprehensive political solution, that is, the non-implementation of resolution 2254, and here comes the role of Al Nusra Front, which has to perform two “glorious” tasks:
(1) Taking the responsibility for violations of the de-escalation, whatever the real party that performs the violations, whether it is a regional party: such as Turkey or “Israel” in particular, and others of course, or internal party: the opposition and the regime. This is because all official parties are unable to publicly take the responsibility for violating the de-escalation, because they are unable to manipulate openly before the Russians.
(2) Covering violations committed by various internal parties of “moderate factions”, or by parties within the regime, in a way that allows keeping the spirit of both the “military quell” and “overthrow” scenarios, thereby making its reflections in the mentality, composition, and functioning of the opposition and regime delegations in Geneva, and keeping Geneva (as it is so far) a show-off platform in which each side tries to score points against the other side, and use it as a secondary and accessary platform relative to the primary military (quell vs. overthrow) battlefield on the ground.
Thereof, it becomes clear why Sergey Lavrov (27/12/2017) considered that “Today, the main antiterrorist task is to rout Jabhat al-Nusra.”
If we call the plan above “RAND - Al Nusra Project”, it is entirety seeks to divide Syria in the real sense, despite the fact that it remains legally one state, that is to say, it seeks to achieve the “minimum” goal by terminating the function of the Syrian state, while the “maximum” goal of terminating the state per se is no longer possible.
The antidote against “RAND-Al Nusra”, and the similar manipulations, is only the full implementation of the resolution 2254, which begins with the formation of the Transitional Governing Body and then the constitution and elections; because starting with a consensual comprehensive governing body means the reunification of Syria as one territory and people within one and integrated construction project , transcending all the existing circumstantial divisions, a project that allows to highlight the collective national Syrian voice in various issues, rather than dividing and fragmenting it between “opponents” and “proponents”, and between areas of influence, proportions, warlords, sects, clans, and nationalities. Otherwise, the war will not stop.
Finally, the “RAND - Al Nusra” project is somehow reminiscent of the Greek myth of Pandora’s Box. The myth tells that Zeus collected all human evils and locked them in a box he gave to a woman he created, her name was Pandora. Zeus warned Pandora not to open the box under any circumstance, but she opened it in response to the request of her sinful husband Epimetheus, thus evils flew out of the box into the world of humans. The myth also tells that Pandora quickly discovered her terrible deed, and she hastened to close the box while the sprites were still coming out of it, and by closing it quickly she was able to keep only one thing locked inside of the box: “hope”. Ever since, humans have been able to hold onto this hope despite of the disseminated evils. But today USA with its deliberately opening of Pandora’s box for a long time, has made it completely empty. However, the peoples still enjoy a historic immunity against hopelessness, and when the evils unleashed by USA inflict USA itself, they will turn into absolute good... and this is just around the corner.
Translated by Kassioun from the Arabic original published in Kassioun newspaper, Issue No. 844. On Sunday, January 7, 2018,