By Roger Annis, Jan 29, 2017
You can listen to a 13-minute interview with me on January 26, 2017 on Vancouver Co-Operative Radio’s morning newsmagazine program ‘Media Mornings’. The interview discussed the appointment of Canada’s new, anti-Russia foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, the election of Donald Trump and the prospects for peace in Syria and in Ukraine.
Listen to the interview here; it starts at the 34-minute mark. (Allow the time slider to load before trying to move it.)
Syria and the world
Four inter-related developments are unfolding in Syria:
* The war being waged spearheaded by extreme-right armies and paramilitaries (ISIS, al-Qaeda, etc) continues, causing untold suffering to the Syrian people. This war has been supported openly or covertly by NATO powers including the United States and Turkey. As a result of the Russian military intervention on the side of the Syrian people beginning in October 2015, the responsibility of Turkey and the Western powers for Syria’s humanitarian crisis is under intense scrutiny and condemnation. This is causing them to shift their language and gestures, though not their goal of unseating the sovereign government of Syria.
* An important ceasefire agreement for Syria came into force at the end of December 2016 and is holding. The ceasefire was made possible by the liberation of the city and region of Aleppo from extremist forces just prior to Christmas. Sections of the armed as well as political opposition to the Syrian government have joined the ceasefire process. An international conference to consolidate and extend the ceasefire took place in Astana, Kazakhstan on January 23, 24 and scored modest advances. Two promising ceasefires in February and September 2016 failed due to U.S. opposition and interference; this latest one has more chance of success due to a certain marginalizing of the U.S. role.
* A parallel political settlement process is occurring in Syria. Government and opposition forces met in Astana, itself an accomplishment. Russian specialists have drafted constitutional amendments for the consideration of the Syrian government and people, while the United Nations is supposed to convene an international conference in Geneva in February specifically devoted to a broader political settlement. The conference was recently postponed by the UN from February 8 to a later date in the month, a decision criticized by Russia’s foreign minister.
* Donald Trump and the Turkish government are threatening to intervene more forcefully in Syria under the guise of establishing so-called ‘safe zones’ for Syrian victims of the war. The aim of the ‘safe zone’ policy is to block further progress by the Syrian people in defending their national government, strengthening their national sovereignty and blocking the ‘regime-change’ plans of NATO and its regional proxies. Turkey already operates a ‘safe zone’ in the area of northern Syria surrounding the border city of Jarablus, following its invasion of Syria last August. Turkey calls its invasion and occupation of Syrian territory ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’.
All of this news and much, much more is being reported daily on the New Cold War.org website. You can read the website regularly and you can subscribe to the Monday-Friday newsletter emailings alerting readers to the day’s new items posted to the site. The website is an extensive archive of news and analysis of the civil conflict that came to a head in Ukraine at the beginning of 2014, resulting in a coup d’etat against Ukraine’s elected president on Feb 21, 22, 2014.