Only two days ago the talk was of President Bashir Assad being given a safe passage out of Syria in a brokered deal. It seems that the G20 summit involved little tete a tetes between various leaders and this plan was created by President Obama, David Cameron and President Putin of Russia. A day as they say though is a long time in politics.
Yesterday a Turkish jet was downed close to the Syrian border. Dropping into the seas around the two countries both Navies are now looking for the pilots. Surprisingly the previously volatile Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoga, reacted calmly to the news.
Initially he refused to blame Syria until he had firm evidence. Today, Saturday, June 23, there are reports that he now accepts Syrian forces were responsible but his reaction remains muted.
This could be for any number of reasons such as:
Perhaps now that Russia has decided that Assad is not pivotal in how they see the future of Syria, Erdoga is prepared to wait and see.
The escape plan for Assad brokered by the three leaders would involve a further no doubt costly summit this time to be held in Geneva. Once again the leaders will ignore the environmental threat of too may jaunts to foreign lands which they try to impose on the people.
Cameron for the UK and Obama for the US are hoping for a Yemen option for Assad which would solve their immediate concerns over Syria. The Geneva summit would include China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France. Russia also want to include Iran which will make it interesting. With western leaders adamant that they will not do business with Iran will this prevent the summit or will they back pedal once more?
Only recently Cameron was insistent that Assad and his wife, who is a British citizen, will not be welcome in the UK, period. How long will this stance last, we wonder?
The irony of David Cameron's statement was not lost on us when he said, “There’s little time left to resolve this. Syria is descending into a bloody civil war with potentially irreparable consequences for its people. “It is welcome President Putin has been explicit in saying that he’s not locked in to Assad remaining in charge in Syria."What we need next is an agreement on a transitional leadership that can move Syria to a democratic future.”
Of course it is the last sentence that amazes us.
The West has gleefully helped the people of Egypt and Libya destroy their old regimes and destroy much of their respective countries. Egypt currently has a power vacuum. In the last week the old military leaders who were hand in glove with ousted President Mubarek have seized power. There has been a military coup in all but name. The people are on the streets again with democracy and fair election just a hope on a distant horizon.
Then there is Mr Putin. Yes he knows all about free and fair democratic elections doesn't he?
More than 11,500 civilians have died in Syria since the uprising began in 2011.
It still remains unclear just who the rebels are, who is backing them and what the majority of Syrians want. Of course reporting restrictions point to an oppressive regime in power. A free and fair election would hopefully put in power the leaders that the majority of Syrian people want.
Would it be crass to remark here that in the UK the majority of people are not represented by our hastily cobbled together Coalition government?
Syria needs peace. It needs it badly, as does the whole middle eastern region. What forces are at work destabilisng the area is not known. Another costly summit could perhaps lead to a conclusion. However surely it is becoming the time when positive action is long overdue rather than more debating the issues. No person wants another war but we have to decide whether to turn away, as we do with so many countries, or intervene, plunging Syria into who knows what.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog