The Lavrov-Kerry Agreement
by Nasser Kandil on 26 Dec 2012 0 Comment
For decades, the Middle East has been living under the stipulations of the agreement signed between the French and British foreign ministers under the name Sykes-Picot in 1916. Unlike what many Arabs assume, this agreement did not stem from the French support offered to a group of Lebanese leaders, none of whom is still alive while Sykes-Picot is. Others believe it aimed at supporting the monarchy in Egypt or Iraq, or at instating the authority of Al-Sharif Hussein’s action, through its dynasty over a unified kingdom.


The changes which affected the ruling political components in the region, especially Gamal Abdul-Nasser’s revolutions, Syria’s and Iraq’s coups and the victory of the Algerian revolution among other developments witnessed in the Sykes-Picot states during the Cold War, failed to induce drastic change at the level of the geography of the Sykes-Picot components, although the major actors in the Yalta Summit were able to inherit the makers of the agreement, or rather share its influence, without being able to amend it since this would have required a decisive victory by a rising international superpower, which would draw up alone the facets of the new world. The United States under George Bush’s two administrations tried to do that and failed, while no new international understanding has been reached between two major opposite camps in a war that would determine the balance of power and the circles of influence, as the chapters of this process have been ongoing since the 2001 Afghanistan war.


Clearly, between the dismantlement of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, we faced a Third World War launched by the United States to impose a new political geography and new rules of influence. This succeeded in Eastern Europe, whose identity has changed, reaching the discovery of the necessity to arrange the Middle East before drawing up the rules of the new game.


We thus saw the Afghan war which marked the beginning of the campaign that reached Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza, and the emergence of the new balances saying that the Russia-China-Iran trio, which is the new actor in Asia, is not the Sick Man who could be eliminated in a Third World War. We also saw the eruption of the Arab spring and its revolutions, with all that this revealed in terms of alliances with political Islam represented by the Muslim Brotherhood group, reaching the point of allowing collaboration with Al-Qaeda organization, i.e. the decisive element of this war.


At this level, Geneva seems to be the address of the new understanding that is surfacing, while John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov seem to be the two names that will enter the history of international politics from its wider door, by placing their signatures on a document which will control the world for maybe a decade to come.


Many wish to see the world revolving around them and to see its facets drawn up through them, as it was the case during the birth of the Sykes-Picot agreement. However, the American times of progress are faltering and the countdown is beginning, despite the numerous promises and countless deadlines. The hopes have collapsed with the end of the wager on Syria’s fall as the last piece of the puzzle to come up with the new balances. Kerry is the maker of the Muslim Brotherhood game in the region for those who don’t know, its promoter in the American backstage, the creator of dialogue with President Al-Assad and the promoter of this dialogue in Washington, the obstinate opponent of intelligence cooperation with Al-Qaeda or the so-called dual containment, the caller for calm sharing and soft negotiations with Beijing, Moscow and Tehran to draw up the facets of a new Middle East other than the one heralded by Condoleezza Rice, is proud that the fruit of the alliance with the MB was Israel’s security after Hamas’s repositioning in the lap of the Egyptian Brotherhood, as he expected and explained to his colleagues in the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee.


As for Lavrov, he is the number one man of geopolitics around the world, and the man behind its theory which Davutoglu tried to steal with his known zero-problems policy with the neighbors. He a solid negotiator and the maker of well-studied terms, such as linking the negotiations over the Syrian presidency to the non-undermining of sovereignty, and linking foreign intervention to ensuring the conditions for dialogue, then the elections. The two men will negotiate for a long time and will tear up many maps. But it is clear from now that four equations will be dubbed the Lavrov-Kerry agreement for a century to come:


-        The geographic area extending from China to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and the frozen Pole is a Russian area of influence hosting American interests. The Southern part is an American area of influence with Russian-Chinese-Iranian interests.


-        There will be a long process to appease the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without embarrassing its parties with lethal concessions before their explosive populations


-        The oil and gas pipelines, trade and security are a strategic, security, economic and financial interest under Russian-Chinese-Iranian control from the Mediterranean to the Gulf and Kazakhstan, while there is at the heart of this intersection a critical position occupied by Syria, which deserves funding to reinstate its stability and ensure its reconstruction needs.


-        The political changes to ensure elected governments sharing power with presidents, kings and princes will affect all the states of the region, including the Gulf kingdoms and emirates, but in a calm way. As for the oppositions in the Gulf, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, they will get what will be given to the Syrian and Iraqi oppositions, with a red line preventing the representatives and supporters of Al-Qaeda from entering the authority game.


During the spring, Kerry and Lavrov will be able to draft the details of this memo, and Kerry will then be ready to visit Syria.






While the Syrian Arab Army is proceeding with its field operations against the terrorists, hundreds of people in the Al-Sabil neighborhood in Aleppo staged crowded marches in support of the Syrian Arab Army in its operations against the terrorists, calling for the ousting of the terrorists receiving support from foreign sides, asking the army to hasten its national mission in eliminating the terrorism pits, in order to reinstate security and normalcy in their city. In the meantime, the population of the Yarmouk camp in Damascus took to the streets to ask that the terrorists be ousted from the camp.


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon contacted Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem over the phone, and addressed the situation in Syria in general, the mission of UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and the situation in the Yarmouk camp in particular. Minister Al-Muallem assured the secretary general that the United Nations and the international community were responsible for the frustration of the Palestinians, due to their non-implementation of their resolutions in regard to the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. He stressed that what Syria has been offering the Palestinians for decades was never offered by any hosting state, and that Syria repeatedly warned in the past against the seriousness of the Palestinians’ implication in the Syrian crisis and the attempts to shift their attention away from their rights, at the head of which comes the right of return.


The independent international investigation commission into the events in Syria said on Thursday that the conflict was now being conducted on sectarian bases, thus increasingly placing the Alawite minority in the face of the Sunni majority, in the presence of foreign fighters helping both sides. Human rights investigators affiliated with the United Nations revealed that fighters from all around the world had infiltrated Syria to participate in a civil war which divided the country on sectarian bases.


The author is a journalist

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