Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 09, 2012

Lavrov on Syria

The Russian Federation's Foreign Minister Lavrov just held a press conference on Syrian. The major points as I noted them from the live TV stream:

  • Russia will NOT support any military intervention and will veto should any such UN Security Council resolution come up.
  • Any intervention in Syria would have unpredictable consequences and would likely lead to a wider conflict sprawling over the Middle East.
  • Outside forces clearly continue to incite violence and to deliver weapons to Syrian rebels. These forces are breaking the Annan plan that was agreed upon and is supported by the whole UNSC.  People who do this clearly want the Annan plan to fail and have said so. [Lavrov emphasized this several times.]
  • Russia will not allow an end-date for the Annan plan or any end-date that could then be used to argue for new action, i.e. intervention. Some seem to want such an end-date but Russia will not allow for such.
  • When Syrian troops withdrew from the cities rebel forces moved in. Rebel forces are continuing the violence. Thirty dead government forces per day clearly show that these are not "peaceful demonstrators".
  • There is some progress since the Annan plan was implemented. Journalists are allowed in Syria, the humanitary access has been cleared up, the violence went down. This must continue.
  • Russia suggests a conference that would include the UNSC veto members, Syria's neighbors, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Iran. This conference shall have an open agenda with the purpose to find a negotiated way between the Syrian parties to end the conflict. Everyone who has influence with the Syrian government or with the rebels should take part. That is why Iran needs to be included. The U.S. can be pragmatic. It negotiated with Iran when its troops in Iraq were in danger. So why then should Iran not be table in such a conference.
  • Russia has not and is not arguing for Assad to stay president of Syria. Russia is arguing for a peaceful solution in Syria and for the Syrians to decide over their government. This was our position from the very begining and this is, unlike some seem to suggest, has not changed at all.

Posted by b on June 9, 2012 at 13:25 UTC | Permalink


Misurata brigade committed genocide in they are clearly lying...but these are the guys being aided by western regimes and press

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 13:46 utc | 1

'Russia has not and is not arguing for Assad to stay president of Syria.'

well i do....its not the place of anh foreign body to say who is president...and how ironic that we see terrorist here being used to force a people to change its govt...isnt the usual US EY mantra : 'we dont make deals with terrorists?'

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 13:51 utc | 2

Well, it's seems the bare has drawn a line in the sand..After they were fooled in Libya, it won't happen again..And I seriously doubt the US want to go to war and face Russia in Syria just to please Qatar and Saudi Arabia..

I'm just wondering what the blowback for all this will be for those pushing the so called "rebels"...

Posted by: Zico | Jun 9 2012 14:10 utc | 3

Unless Syria's allies gain leverage over the sponsors of the rebels, this will not end well. This means supporting the pkk until Turkey reconsiders it's interests, random bombings of Saudi oil pipelines, and putting the squeeze on NATO in afpak.

If Syria just plays defense. It will be worn down. Possibly even without foreign invasion.

I also would love to see Russia bring in its best air defense systems and anti ship missiles to raise the price to any attackers.

Posted by: lysander | Jun 9 2012 14:14 utc | 4

As reported by 'b', Lavrov said Russia will not allow an end-date for the Annan plan or any end-date that could then be used to argue for new action, i.e. intervention. My comment: The Annan agreement says in writing that the agreement ends three months after starting, which is on 20 Jul 2012. Lavrov also said when Syrian troops withdrew from the cities as per the Annan agreement, rebel forces moved in, and rebel forces are continuing violence such that we're seeing thirty dead government forces per day. My comment: The Syrian government needs to fight the rebels with an iron fist, and retake control of law and order in Syria, and yet it has agreed to not do that under the Annan plan. It must not renew the Annan plan in July.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 9 2012 14:26 utc | 5

The video of Lavrov's press conference (in Russian translated to English) is downloadable from (170 Megabytes). Some more reportage on what Lavrov said today is at

I say Lavrov's international conference proposal is of no use because nobody on any side is going to be talked out of their their current position.

Lavrov said that there is no alternative to the Annan plan to achieve a peaceful settlement. I say the Annan plan has zero chance of achieving a peaceful settlement. The only way to achieve a peaceful settlement is to suppress the rebellion by force of arms.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 9 2012 15:02 utc | 6

Yesterday, NPR discussed Russia's "refusing to join" the Western powers in their approach to Syria with Mark Katz, a Russia expert and professor of government and politics at George Mason University's Department of Public and International Affairs. The title of the segment is Russia Refuses to Change Its Position on Syria, which makes clear the editorial position. Prof. Katz is first asked about the "new tone" in Russian statements. (Audio is available at the link.)

Prof. Mark KATZ:...I think that...this change of tone is supposed to indicate that they're being reasonable, that they understand that there are some flaws with the Assad regime. But the basic message is that the Syrian opposition are also bad guys, and that the Russians understand this if the Americans don't.


I think they're simply trying to delay any kind of action by suggesting that Iran should come in. They know full well that the U.S. and Israel would object very strongly, as well as out Western countries. I think that they are trying to do is to drag the so-called peace process out long enough so that the Syrian government could, in fact, destroy the opposition.

David GREENE (host): What's behind that? Let's talk about, more broadly, the Russia-Syria relationship. There are arms agreements. How important is that relationship, and is that behind Russia's thinking right now?

KATZ: It's not the most important thing. ... They, you know, also have some commercial interests. There's some oil investment. More important is the naval base at the port of Tartus on the Syrian coast. But I don't think that these are the most important things.

...Syria is the last ally they have in this region. If they lose that ally, they really have no influence in the Middle East. And I think that part of the motive is simply ... that they want to thwart the United States. They felt that they were taken advantage of with regard to Libya. Also ... they feel that the West simply misunderstands what's happening, that if the Assad regime goes, there will be chaos, that radical Sunni Islamists will come to power. They're looking at this in the worst possible terms. They're slightly hysterical about this issue. And so I don't see them giving in.

GREENE: You said the memories of what happened in Libya. Are the Russians worried that that's where we're headed with Syria?

KATZ:...I don't think that they think we're going to do that. In other words, that for the Russians, they've had enough experience with us that they know that when we're really serious, that we will act outside of the Security Council. And so I think that what they see is that the Obama administration is, in many respects, hiding behind the Russians - in other words, that we can't do anything because the Russians and the Chinese won't approve a resolution. Well, that never stopped us in the past. So I think that they don't see a real cost for hanging tough on this.

GREENE: Where do we go from here? Do the U.S. and Russians just keep sort of disagreeing, finding areas where they can talk about little agreements on Syria? I mean, just the rhetoric continues, or do we come to some moment?

KATZ: I don't think that we're going to get to any, you know, decisive difference. One has to remember that one of the things that the Russians see as favoring their position is that the Israelis share their concern about the downfall of the Assad regime.

...[I]f they just continue to do what they do, the situation will resolve itself in the favor of the Assad regime, and that Russia will be better off, Israel will be better off and that even the West will actually be better off, even though it doesn't want to acknowledge that. But the fact that the West isn't doing much seriously about Syria suggests to them that, in fact, maybe we understand that logic, as well. (My emphasis)

Most of what Katz says is fairly well known here. What stood out for me is the Obama really does need an intransigent Russia and China to keep him from being forced by the hardliners into taking military action prior to the election, leaving me to consider that he might very well do that should he be reelected.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 9 2012 16:41 utc | 7

Syrian Rebels Responsible For Houla Massacre?

The question mark is unnecessary. The piece is based on a report from the Syria correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the prime German daily paper of the record.

According to the article’s sources, the massacre occurred after rebel forces attacked three army-controlled roadblocks outside of Houla. The roadblocks had been set up to protect nearby Alawi majority villages from attacks by Sunni militias. The rebel attacks provoked a call for reinforcements by the besieged army units. Syrian army and rebel forces are reported to have engaged in battle for some 90 minutes, during which time “dozens of soldiers and rebels” were killed.

“According to eyewitness accounts,” the FAZ report continues,

the massacre occurred during this time. Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities. Over 90% of Houla’s population are Sunnis. Several dozen members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet.

Posted by: b | Jun 9 2012 17:19 utc | 8

Putin made a big deal of repressing ‘terror’ (Chechnya, etc.) to his own advantage and shored up the 9/11 myth. After some time when he realized he was on a ‘wrong path‘ and challenging the US on this matter was impossible. At first, he and his generals called bullshit.

He will fold on Syria, wait and see.

What is he going to do? Send troops to Syria to support Assad? To fight - whom? Is he going to raze villages? Bomb? Imprison? Whom? Young men who look rebellious? Where to put them? It would destroy the country entirely and he would be at fault.

I think not. That is a fight Putin cannot take on. And the Int'l community knows that.

He - and his staff, envoys, minions - are making an all-out diplomatic effort (and good for them) but beyond that he, they, will not go.

If Russia can manage to dent the W’s bloodlust (lets call it that for now), it will be a big victory for Russia, which will be obscured. That might happen, because the US/EU/NATO etc. is somewhat gingerly on intervention (compare with Lybia) they may just prefer to let civil war run its course, clearing the landscape so to speak, merely trying to keep it locally contained.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 9 2012 17:29 utc | 9

lets hope Russia has the wisdom to hold tight. china and russia, irrespective of all their various business deals with the west & israel (yes china- particularly YOU) are next on the balkanization chopping block once iran and syria are out of the way. its some ugly ugly stuff Rothschild Inc has planned. but make no mistake, the World Gov capital is JERUSALEM. not london, not The City, not DC or paris or beijieng.

Posted by: .vat | Jun 9 2012 17:30 utc | 10

Posted by: Zico | Jun 9, 2012 10:10:51 AM | 3

the outcome will be what it was after IRAQ. nothing. and the profits from spoils of nations.

every single non-first world state is now vulnerable to a similiar UN mafia "humanitarian" attack at the slightest sign of disobedience or exercise of self-defense. UN offers them no protection- only their own collusion in their own downfall.

the genius solution would be for the masses of UN member states in harm's way, to withdraw their endorsement of the world govt entity and LEAVE THE UN. strip it of the formal legitimacy they themselves have lent it- to their own detriment. rescind the western colonialists' UN cover and force them into showing their brute hand.
otherwise, this is a juggernaut that feeds on chaos and its "humanitarianist interventions" will be nevr ending. thats why cheney and the zio-architects changed the trademark from War on Terror to "Long War"- estimating 100 more years of 'innovation'.

Posted by: .vat | Jun 9 2012 17:41 utc | 11

>>> And I seriously doubt the US want to go to war and face Russia in Syria just to please Qatar and Saudi Arabia..>>>

Zico #3, I doubt Russia would take on the US and the rest of NATO for Syria's sake. I also doubt that the US wouldn't strike a deal to let the Russians keep the Tartous base just to get the whole mess over with.

Posted by: www | Jun 9 2012 18:16 utc | 12

As I pointed out earlier Russia has the hands on the throat of U.S./NATO logistics to Afghanistan.

If things about Syria get tough expect some bureaucratic "delays" on that Line of Communication. The the U.S. has little chance to get its will. What is it going to do? Rely again on Pakistan? Go to thermonuclear war?

Posted by: b | Jun 9 2012 19:13 utc | 13

@ 13.
I agree. Russia has a lot of cards it can play.
There's too much Pentagoon huffing and puffing about US-NATO's Asia-Pacific wet dreams. If they had a coherent plan for A-Pac, they'd be DOING it, not TALKING about it.
It's pretty obvious that they're running away from the ME, having created the Mother Of All SNAFUs there, and China is the best excuse they could come up with.
Not being much of a diplomat, myself, I like the way Russia and China are playing this game.
Putin won't back down. He can't afford to and in any case he doesn't need to - with America and most of its allies on the threshold of US-instigated bankruptcy.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 9 2012 20:34 utc | 14

I keep thinking about those "defensive" missile installations the US is placing to...uh...shoot down Iranian non-existant (well, not thoroughly tested) intercontinental missiles. Yet they're so ready to be reaimed at Russia....

Is this entering to anything going on between Russia and the US/EU/

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 9 2012 23:12 utc | 15

Yankee "defensive missiles" will become a ticklish issue between Russia and the US in the near future; not because Russia is unduly concerned about post-launch interception of its own missiles, but because (as you say) they can be reprogrammed for pre-launch interception of Russian missiles - and anything else on Russian turf.

This 45 minute doco was made in 2001. It's called Rogue State and it's about Missile Defense (ABM) and the Neocon baloney and fear-mongering which spawned it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 10 2012 14:36 utc | 16

T/U, Hoarsewhispherer, for the link to Rogue State. I can't watch and have blookmarked it bcz I tend to put watching videos off, then can't recall where I found out about them. Hhhmmm, age or...?

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 11 2012 0:03 utc | 17

theres no such thing as a 'defensive missile' and the missle shield is an offenisve weapon....imagine if Russia put up a missile cuba! the america regime would go ballistic

Posted by: brian | Jun 11 2012 0:54 utc | 18

@ jawbone.
I agree that videos can get a bit tedious.
However there's a link to the transcript on the same page.
If you search the text for '21 times' you'll be near the top of the part which explains why ABM is more a money-making scam than the solution to an artificially-induced belief in a Phantom Menace.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 11 2012 4:50 utc | 19

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