While U.S. officials are busy traveling abroad to Western countries to build strong coalitions against Assad’s regime, in parallel, Iranian and Russian diplomats are working hard to prevent U.S. strikes on Syria.
Of course the situation and the immediate threat for an attack in Syria is minimized compared to two weeks ago, but the most recent U.S. administration activity has demonstrated that the threat is not completely over just yet.
On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry, while visiting France, said that the videos highlight that the chemical weapons attacks is not something America can ignore. Kerry is in Europe making the case for military intervention in Syria before the U.S. Congress went back to work from their summer holiday.
To some degree, if the U.S. can build a strong coalition in Europe and back home Congress permits the U.S. government for the limited military intervention, the attack could be larger than we had previously anticipated.
Russia is a shaky ally and the length of time that Russia will resist the Security Council resolutions on Syria is unpredictable.Camelia Entekhabi-Fard
But at the same time the Arab League has been opposed to U.S. intervention in Syria. Convincing the Arab League is another challenge for Secretary of the State John Kerry who also met with the Arab League foreign minister in Paris on Sunday.
The faith of Assad regime tightens with its relation with Russia, China and Iran. Russia is a shaky ally and the length of time that Russia will resist the Security Council resolutions on Syria is unpredictable.
It is more Russia than China that is using its own veto power to block a decision to topple Assad by force. But Iran is an historic ally and even with the shifts in their foreign policy they still support Assad while at the same time condemn the “unaccepted” use of chemical weapons.
Russia, China and Iran are saying that the evidence brought by the U.S. against Assad is not convincing and they must wait for the full U.N. inspectors report.
While the Security Council has been paralyzed and is unable to take any decision against Assad, Iran and Russia are calling any action without the U.N. resolution “illegal.” They are working hard to find a political solution to prevent U.S. self-action without the U.N. approval. Iran’s FM, Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, is currently in Iraq- his first foreign visit since becoming the foreign minister. His aim is to convince Iran’s Arab neighbors of the consequences of a U.S. attack on the region.
On the other hand, U.N. Secretory General Ban Ki-Moon and the joint U.N.-Arab League Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, reiterated to the leaders attending the G20 summit in St. Petersburg the need to “push even harder” for a political solution to end the bloodshed in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
Ban Ki-Moon reminded the council members that they have a “collective responsibility to mankind” to act, but reiterated that as they debate courses of action, any decision “should be taken within the framework of the U.N. Charter, as a matter of principle.”
The U.N. chief said that he had asked Mr. Brahimi to join him in St. Petersburg to press for the early convening of an international meeting on Syria, to be held in Geneva with participation of senior Russian, United States and U.N. officials.
Despite the U.N. Chief and Brahim’s efforts to find a peaceful and political solution for Syria, many politicians blamed the U.N. itself claiming its weakness as the reason for this deadlock.
Some see veteran Algerian diplomat Brahimi as too old to actively push for peace talks in Syria. So far he has failed to achieve any success since he was appointed to his post when Kofi Annan resigned and now Geneva2 is portrayed as a joke when the whole world is expecting to hear of the U.S. strikes within days.
What the future holds
At the time of writing it’s too early to jump to a conclusion about what President Obama will address the Americans from White House. Obama will lay out his case for a strike to the U.S. public. Some of the reasons for the U.S. of taking action against Assad regime is noting than to be give a sign to Tehran that the U.S. will not tolerate Tehran if its nuclear activities are not as peaceful as the regime is claiming.
The major U.S. concern and hesitation to enter to a war with Syria is due to Iran’s involvement through Hezbollah, the proxy war it could launch against the U.S. interests in the region and of course the security of Israel.
But it’s clear that Iran is using a different language to prevent the war in Syria and wants to build a strong diplomatic capability to play a greater and more important role in the region. Apparently there are now two sides to the Syrian story- Iran and the U.S.- both using their diplomatic skills to show their power and ability. It almost appears that they will reach a point where they may meet each other face to face over this complex and discuss Syria, nuclear file and much more. Can the U.S. wait for this meeting at the 68th General Assembly at the United Nations in late September?
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard