Comment se tirer de Syrie, discrètement...

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Comment se tirer de Syrie, discrètement...

Sharmine Narwani, experte des questions du Moyen-Orient et Senior Associate au St. Antony's College de l’université d’Oxford, suit avec attention la crise syrienne. Pour elle, l’affaire apparaît tranchée et le bloc BAO est sur la voie de perdre la partie. Dans un article publié d’abord le 21 mars 2012 dans Al Ahram, elle expose son analyse de la situation, décrit le bourbier et l’impasse où se trouvent les américanistes-occidentalistes avec une “opposition” de plus en plus divisée et discréditée, et surtout infiltrée de plus en plus clairement par des groupes islamistes extrêmement dangereux ; et, d’autre part, une Russie de plus en plus affirmée comme maîtresse du jeu, prônant une solution négociée sans les habituelles exigences préalables du type “regime change” et assurant ainsi, de facto, la protection du régime Assad. Le tournant de la situation en Syrie a été, selon Narwani, la nomination de Kofi Annan comme négociateur de l’ONU…

«The first clear-cut public sign of this new phase was the appointment of Kofi Annan as UN envoy to Syria. Annan is an American “concession” that will draw out this dealmaking phase between the Syrian government, opposition figures, and foreign governments potentially until the May 2012 parliamentary elections. This phase is what the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and other BRIC countries have sought from the start: the creation of a protective bubble around Syria so that it has the time and space necessary to implement domestic reforms that will not harm its geopolitical priorities.

»Dealmaking and dialogue can be seen everywhere suddenly. Annan is only a figurehead masking these multilateral efforts. Reports are coming in that the US has kept a steady dialogue with the Syrian regime throughout. Opposition religious figures – mostly Muslim Brotherhood in their day-job guises – have met with the regime in recent weeks. And prominent Syrian reformists who reject military action and are open to dialogue with the regime are now being sought out by various European governments.

»The European Union kicked things off in March in a joint foreign ministerial communiqué rejecting military intervention in Syria. This was swiftly followed by Kofi Annan's strong warning against external efforts to arm the Syrian opposition, with various Americans making similar sounds in his wake.

»One very prominent Syrian reformist who has remained engaged with both sides of this conflict confided that the externally-based Syrian opposition are now “looking over each other's shoulders – none yet dares to speak out.” The fact is, says the source, “they are getting military assistance, but nowhere near enough. They need much, much more than what they are getting, and now the countries backing this opposition are developing conflicting agendas.” Three high-level defections from the opposition Syrian National Council were announced within days of that conversation, hinting further at the fundamental policy shifts occurring in all circles, behind the scenes.

»The game has changed along Syria's borders too. Turkey, a ferocious critic of the Assad government this past year, is reconsidering its priorities. A participant in a recent closed meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reveals the emptiness of Turkish threats to form a “humanitarian corridor” or security zone on their Syrian border. Davutoglu, says my source, insisted in private that “Turkey will not do anything to harm Syria's territorial integrity and unity because that will transfer the conflict into Turkish territory.”

»Recent deliberations with Iran also seem to have resonated with the Turks. During Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi's January visit to Ankara, a source tells me that an understanding was reached. The Iranian FM is said to have warned Turkish leaders that they were leveraging a lot of goodwill – painstakingly built up in the Muslim/Arab world – in return for “no clear benefit” in Syria. According to my source, the Turks were encouraged to strike a bargain to regain their regional standing – the key concession being that Assad would stay through the reform period.

Dans un entretien avec Russia Today, le 26 mars 2012, Narwani confirme son analyse, caractérisée par deux faits : la recherche d’un retrait honorable par les pays du bloc BAO, type “sauver la face” et s’en laver les mains, et le rôle leader des Russes. Elle est rejointe dans cette analyse par Karl Sharro, un autre spécialiste des questions du Moyen-Orient sur Internet.

«Sharmine Narwani, a Middle East expert from St. Antony's College in Oxford University, believes that NATO does not have any particular plan with regards to Syria. Therefore, such claims like the one made by the White House about possible “non-lethal aid” to the rebels are of little significance. “NATO countries, including the United States, the European Union and Turkey, are now looking for a face-saving exit from Syria,” she told RT. “So, I think, regardless of what Obama says… I mean, really, what does that statement mean? It could mean band-aids, for all we know. So forget what the players are saying, watch what they are doing. That’s going to tell us what’s going on in the backrooms.”

»Narwani’s view was echoed by Karl Sharro, a blogger on Middle East affairs. “The West doesn’t have any plan in Syria. It’s been very loud, but it doesn’t have any clear plan of action," he said. "We’ve seen the sanctions [imposed on Syria] by the EU. It’s a joke. When you don’t have any other initiatives or any other pressure to apply, they slap these kinds of sanctions on the president’s wife and his mother.”

»What is more important, both Narwani and Sharro continued, is that Russia is “taking the lead” in the current situation and helping “move into the next phase” of the Syrian crisis. “Russia is clearly taking the lead in efforts to help create some time and space for the Syrian government to move with the reforms that were initiated last spring,” she said. “It’s supported heavily by a number of developing countries, particularly with the BRICS, and even some regional players, like Iran.”»