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Russia Changes Stance on Syria

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Posted on Mar 20, 2012
AP / Misha Japaridze

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov signaled a shift in his country’s position vis-à-vis the ongoing crisis in Syria, indicating that Russia may be willing to cooperate more with the U.N. Security Council’s proposed plan, but with some stipulations.  —KA

The New York Times:

Mr. Lavrov’s statement suggested that Russia had dropped its adamant position regarding Mr. Assad and was moving closer to the position of Western members of the Security Council. He made it clear, though, that Russia would approve a resolution or other statement only under certain conditions — principally, that the statement’s wording does not present Mr. Assad with an ultimatum, but rather sets the stage for negotiations between Syria’s government and the opposition forces embroiled in a year-old conflict.

He also emphasized Russia’s support for the mission to Syria by Kofi Annan, the former secretary general who was appointed as a special representative of the United Nations and Arab League. Mr. Lavrov said Mr. Annan’s recommendations should be made public. Though Mr. Annan has met twice with Mr. Assad, his report has remained confidential.

Mr. Lavrov bridled at comments by Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, welcoming “an evolution in Russia’s public position” on Syria.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, March 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Russia, China join UN demand for Syria peace move
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) March 21, 2012

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Dear Truthdiggers. There are rules of Ettiquette and its time to remind everyone of the rules:

1)Do not post on a thread until one full hour after Oceanna has posted.

2)Do not quote Oceanna

3)Do not disagree with Oceanna

4)Do as you are told by Oceanna

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By heterochromatic, March 21, 2012 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

please try to address the substance of my comment and cease your hysteria
about personalities.

if you want to post a story about human rights violations by people fighting
against a ruthless dictatorship that has killed tens of thousands of its people
over the 40 years of rule and has tortured many , many more….then expect
rebuttal… if that’s more than you care bear, perhaps you are unprepared for
public and open discussion.

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Oceanna's avatar

By Oceanna, March 21, 2012 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Stop stalking me here.  You show up MINUTES later after I make a post,  with
insults and ad hominem after being having been repeatedly told to leave me alone.

You have a pronounced inability to acknowledge and respond to boundaries. It’s a
trait commonly found in bullies and sociopaths.  I also think someone’s earlier
assessment of your online behaviors was accurate—that you’re very angry and
because of that, you seek to elicit it in others. 

You elicit pity and concern.

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By heterochromatic, March 21, 2012 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

not surprising that the opposition is torturing and killing the Syrian torturers.

the Syrian regime goons have been sweeping up thousands and systematically
torturing and raping women, men and boys in their prisons…....

torturing and killing the goons is what is to be expected.


who was it that erring said that the Ocean is deep?

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Oceanna's avatar

By Oceanna, March 21, 2012 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

The Syrian opposition is torturing, kidnapping, and executing, like the Libyan
opposition.  Not surprising.

Neither is the polling showing Americans against military intervention in Syria.

The template obviously resembles Libya, regime change through he pretext of
humanitarian intervention.  Though the results would far different and far more

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By heterochromatic, March 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

gerard——good point…... but is it a desirable outcome that after killing all those
people and after 40+ years of a family dictatorship….that Assad’s family get their
faces out of the country?

wouldn’t an agreement not to have them all tried and executed be a sufficient
escape hatch for them to crawl through?

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, March 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Hence Russia’s demand that any negotiated solution keeps Moscow the dominant power-structure in Syria.  Russia is acting in its own best interest. 

Moscow released this today as well. 

Syria: Russia To Honor Contracts - Official
March 20, 2012 | 1836 GMT

Russia will honor all of its contractual liabilities with Syria because there are no effective sanctions, Russian Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said March 20.

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By gerard, March 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

I don’t know about Syria, but in most “cultures” including the U.S.A.‘s current situation in Afghanistan, “losing face” becomes a problem once violence is adopted.  Very often the way to cessation of hostilities is to provide some “escape hatch” that provides combatants on all sides a way to avoid “losing face”. It’s usually an important ingredient of negotiation.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, March 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

It seems to me Russia is simply attempting to put the best face possible on a bad and worsening situation, for Russia.  After all, is it not true that Moscow provides both logistical military support against rebels and significant protection and political cover for Damascus in the international community?  Even with this significant aid the Assad government is falling apart as I write.

Moscow’s refusal to go along with the majority in the U.N., NATO, and the Arab League is precisely the reason Putin is signaling a shift today. - All are attempts at keeping a firm grasp on Syria and the hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue that comes with it. Putin is trying to find a way for Assad to remain in power so as to maintain settled agreements and contracts worth trillions over the next decade. 

Syria, under Assad, also hosts Russia’s only strategically significant military presence in the entire Middle East.  Russia’s goal, understandably, is to maintain that presence by retaining the current Assad government.  Hence the demand that any negotiated solution keeps Moscow the dominant power structure in the end.

Russia is acting in its own best interest.  Moscow’s “rationale” is geared toward itself.  Not toward peace, love of the Syrian people, or harmonious and reasonable diplomatic relations.

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By heterochromatic, March 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Russia is indeed speaking diplomatically….... they’re, to seek a
toothless statement calling for negotiations after the Syrians have relentlessly
pursued a policy of killing people, imprisoning and torturing them, and using
tanks and artillery to level neighborhoods.

I’m sure that the Russians wont veto any statement to calls upon Assad to retain
power if he promises to be nicer ........pretty soon.

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By bobi6, March 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, how about that. Perhaps the Russians can tutor the Republicans on
compromise and changing their radical stance

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By gerard, March 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

“... provided the wording does not present Mr. Assad with an ultimatum, but rather sets the stage for negotiations between Syria’s government and the opposition forces ...”
  Russia’s stipulation here seems more rational than some arbitrary demand, which is the style of the United States “diplomats” who won’t play unless they can point their index fingers and issue childish orders like: “Make no mistake about it!” and other “my way or the highway” strictures that make a pretense of negotiation and a fetish out of dominance.
  Somebody should write a book on the decline of U.S. diplomatic language since—oh, say—1867, maybe, or at least since 1917. Somewhere in there.
What was the turning point—“Manifest Destiny”?

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