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“Caesar”: A Quagmire and Political Deceit
The new US sanctions package, or the Caesar Act, came into effect yesterday, Wednesday, with a “spectacle” involving cheering, applause, and welcoming on the part of that type of personalities, who were nine years ago begging for external intervention in its various forms, especially militaristic.
More importantly, within this “spectacle”, were the expectations and analyses linking the Caesar Act to the political solution, and even trying to portray it as the last blow that would lead to the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254.
What should be clarified regarding this issue are two fundamental aspects of what we believe to be the current US action plan toward Syria:
Firstly: A Quagmire
No one can express the true US objective in Syria better than James Jeffrey, when he said: “My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.” This job has at its disposal a number of tools, including working against implementation of the Sochi Agreement, trying to legitimize al-Nusra, and intensifying efforts to isolate the Syrian northeast from any forthcoming solution. In this context, sources close to the talks that led to the announcement of the agreement between the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) told us that Jeffrey’s deputy, William Robak, who was the main sponsor of the agreement, exerted unprecedented pressure to announce it despite not resolving the main outstanding issues between the two parties, and even linked the announcement date with his travel schedule.
The Caesar Act itself, and the burdensome sanctions it imposes, from which only the ordinary and most vulnerable Syrians, i.e. up to 90% of them will suffer, will be an additional tool within the quagmire policy, leading to reigniting things in the country with all sorts of conflicts, if they can.
It is not too difficult to conclude that the conditions for the real implementation of UNSCR Resolution 2254 have matured to a large extent, and specifically due to the Astana track. Therefore, the US spectacle-like effort, as well as the US’ henchmen within the Syrian political forces who say that the Caesar Act will be “the magical wand”, in parallel aims to reach one of the following scenarios:
1- Evoking a strong reaction from the Astana three guarantors, so that they slow down the process of pushing towards the implementation of UNSCR 2254, so it does not appear to be a political victory for the US. Such a reaction would only increase the depth and seriousness of the quagmire.
2- If UNSCR 2254 has to be implemented, which is what the US does not want, then let the US have a large political share in it, and portray it not as a defeat for them as it really is, rather on the contrary: as a victory due to the effects of their “Caesar”!
3- Whatever the scenario that will become the reality, the tools to keep the quagmire for a long time to come will remain at the US’ disposal through the Caesar Act itself, and by excluding the northeast from the process of change.
The main defect in all US calculations, and in all its scenarios, is that they exaggeratedly depend on the US’ ability to influence the course of events globally, as well as on the regional and local levels. The mechanism according to which things will go in Syria, based on the Syrians’ will and the actual international balances, and UNSCR 2254 in particular – all of which are not among the US’ preferred possibilities – will be transformed into reality before too long.