Kassioun Editorial 1053: Interpreting 2254, Part 1: Two Mentalities
The clash between two distinct international mentalities continues in interpreting UNSC Resolution 2254, six years after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted it in December 2015.
So far, this clash, in addition to many other regional and local factors, has played an important role in delaying the implementation of this resolution.
Western mentality, represented primarily by the Americans, relies in interpreting the resolution on the habit it has consistently had for over three centuries. By this we mean the colonial guardianship arrogant mentality, which sees that it has the final right to decide the form and details of the solution, including the people involved therein. Perhaps the most prominent examples of this within the Syrian situation are “Tillerson’s non-paper” and “Pompeo’s non-paper”, which represented a condensed repetition of the essence of Bremer’s constitution, albeit shorter and more general.
There is also a clear example of the guardianship-like way of dealing with portions of the Syrian opposition, which in some cases and for some portions has reached the point of dictating names and giving orders. In addition to this, there are the tangible examples in Iraq, Afghanistan, and others, where the Americans not only destroyed the old state apparatus and painted the new one, but also intervened by choosing the personalities of that apparatus in accordance with their interests.
In short, the Western mentality in dealing with various local crises deals with the right of peoples to self-determination as a slogan they use while preserving “their own right” to decide the fate of those peoples and states.
On the other side, a new and historically unprecedented interpretation emerges, which is the Russian-Chinese interpretation. This interpretation is based mainly on international law and the idea of state sovereignty. This model seeks, by adhering to the sovereignty of states, to stop the comprehensive fragmentation process that the West is working on, and which ultimately targets these two states as the “grand prize”.
This type of behavior, and because it is historically unprecedented, poses many difficulties in comprehending it in its true nature and within its strategic dimension. Therefore, it is makes it easier for media to work against it, Western media in particular, which portrays the issue as if the polarization is: America that stands with the people versus Russia and China, which stand with the regimes.
Nevertheless, what should be clear is that the complete interpretation of Resolution 2254, though it requires the concept of state sovereignty as a necessary and essential condition and as a starting point for its implementation, what is certain is that this condition is only a necessary condition, but not sufficient.
The sufficient condition is the peoples’ sovereignty over themselves and their state; these two things together are the peoples’ right to self-determination, and it cannot be complete without them. They necessarily include the right of the Syrian people not only to sovereignty over their territorial lands and their right to determine the shape of the new regime and authorities, but also the shape of the new socioeconomic and political model, which no external party can or has the right to decide, whether it is the Americans, the Russians, the Saudis, the Turks, the Iranians, or others.