Monday, March 21, 2016

Pepe Escobar Himself: Putin's Great Bargain with the US Paves the Way to Splitting Syria into Sunnistan (sic), Cosmopolistan (sic), and Kurdistan

Unbeknownst to other (or nearly all other) Putinists, Pepe Escobar correctly states the obvious: behind Putin's decision (let us call it that way in the spirit of generosity) is certainly a beforehand made "great bargain" between the US and Putin's crew. The same "great bargain" already gave us UN SB Resolution 2254 and other recent UN SB resolutions as well as the "ceasefire." And a much obvious part of the great bargain made behind the back of the Syrian government and the Syrian people is partitioning of Syria or what is euphemistically called "federalization," which Escobar claims to have just spotted and called first (not quite, but among the Putinists this might be well so).

The obvious and correct notion that for Putin to make the withdrawal move, a great bargain must exist first (Strelkov was saying this from the beginning and for months now, for example) also shoots down or tears down the PR bombastic claims of how much "surprised" the West was--a claim that was part of the first very spins on Putin's announcement.


Escobar's "Great Bargain" by Putin & the US calls for embracing Syria's "breakup light" by dividing Syria into three "stans" with exotic or rather perfectly neo-colonial names. Escobar's unveiling and promotion of the "great bargain" made by Putin with the US was meant to explain Putin's wisdom and intent behind his "suprising" pullout out of Syria and the preceding series of agreements that produced the joint Russian-US "peace plan" for Syria.

Escobar's piece was dutifully published and promoted by Moscow's PR outlet, Sputnik, and then happily, dutifully and much automatically reposted and hailed as great on "pro-Syrian" social media sites.

Pepe Escobar tells us that a new Cosmopolistan in the place of Syria we have hitherto known and loved would be part of the great bargain struck by Putin:

"The grand bargain is based on the current ceasefire (or "cessation of hostilities") holding, which is far from a given. Assuming all these positions hold, a federal Syria could emerge, what could be dubbed Break Up Light. Essentially, we would have three major provinces: a Sunnistan, a Kurdistan and a Cosmopolistan."
Escobar's typically musing piece  does contain one truthful sentence though: "The Russian long game is complex; not be strictly aligned either with Damascus ..." the rest is a fairy tale evoking magical thinking. One commentator called this one singular sentence "a truism lost in a bog of guesswork."

Transformation of Syria into "Cosmopolistan" is a way of showing how much friends of Putin are friends of Syria and how much they care for and respect the Syrians.

How many Syrians are ready to become "Cosmopolitanians" who would live next to their fellows from "Sunnistan" and "Kurdistan"? And how many Syrians are ready to fight and die for Syria as Sunnistan or Syria as Cosmopolistan?

1. The idea of Cosmopolitanism is one of the cherished Western liberal ideas and project. See, for example, Emmanuel Kant's 1795 essay "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" and "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View" (1784).
2. As such, it was meant to be one of the liberal weapons against national resurrections and national liberation struggles.
3. The suffix -stan comes from Farsi and means "the state"--as in Afghanistan all the way to Kazakhstan. As a Persian political and historical concept, the word "stan" for Syria is much inappropriate.
4. Outside of the old historical Persian world, calling state or quasi-state formations "stan" is understood to be derogatory and contemptuous. As in Bantustan.
5. Otherwise the easy and happy way of sticking on people new political names and telling them how they should call or rename themselves has been a long established staple of Western colonial and imperial mindset, which the left, and the left-like liberals even more so, has always been ready to put on in the form of their clever heads.

While Cosmopolistan is for Escobar's word of choice for the pro-Assad Syrians, other possibilities for Escobar might have been Cosmotopia as a hybrid of Cosmos and Utopia or even "Cosmic Polity" to honor the fashion in which Putin renamed the Air Force last August when he decided that the Air Force ought to be known from then on as "the Airspace Force" or, more literally translated, as "the Air-Cosmic Force."

You might have noticed that Escobar's happy gospel of the breakup of Syria as part of Putin's great bargain or trade with Uncle Sam contained in its first form (see the screenshot above), his claim to have learned of this "off the record"--hence from Moscow's insider sources. 

For this, there is, however, also a good amount of evidence from public sources, which the Putinists, however, hate to see reposted in the social media and thus keep removing the links or the references to them as much as they could (but Escobar's joyful bragging about the great bargain or sale is a different thing for he is certifiably on their side and one has to love what he says ...).

Thus, Putin and his other officials do demand a new Syrian constitution, which would include self-determination for the Kurds, and they also demand that "federalization" be part of the Geneva talks on Syria and Syria's constitutional reform:

Putin in January, 2016: Syria, get a new constitution! I read your constitution and I think a new one is needed and ASAP! The US thinks the same. I might have even got the idea from there! What the hell do I know? 

Moscow outlines to Damascus what the new Syrian constitution should look like. Moscow: Syria should have a new constitution and the new constitution should include the right to self-determination for the Kurds: 

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS: "The self-determination of Kurds should be outlined in the framework of new Syrian constitution." 

Moscow wants "federalization" to be part of the Geneva talks on the new Syrian government and part of the new Syrian constitution together with inclusion of the right to self-determination for the Kurds.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov: "The Kurds should have been involved in the talks from the very beginning, the issues [of federalization - TASS] should have been discussed with other participants in the talks who represent both the government and the opposition," he added.

One of the main "achievements" of Putin's intervention in Syria has been Moscow's decision to relabel the CIA-run FSA, allies of al Qaeda (and formerly also of ISIS) as "the healthy" and "patriotic opposition." 

Would the Kremlin, Putin, and the Putinists call ANY opposition to Putin as patriotic and healthy? It is a very good question, but also almost a stupid one, because the answer is clear: "Hell, no! Are you kidding me?" 

Alright, and do you think that Putin, the Russian government, or any Putinist would call an opposition that would launch an armed uprising against Putin (not to mention with the help of the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey etc.) and start killing other Russians (by now over 200,000 of them) and destroying most of Russian cities and its civilization as "patriotic" and "healthy" and one with which Putin needs to negotiate, to whom Putin needs to give reins of a new transitional government and for whom he needs to change Russia's Constitution? So here you have it.

Moscow: As far as we are now concerned, the FSA is "patriotic" and "healthy":

If the FSA is, according to Moscow, Syria's "patriotic opposition" what does this make the Syrian Arab Army in Moscow's mind? And what does this make the Kremlin and its policy to be?

Lavrov: "This calls for a representational, exclusive inter-Syrian dialogue between the government and a wide range of the patriotic opposition that could lead to the agreements reached on the basis of mutual consent." November 27, 2015

Lavrov: "We believe that the Free Syrian Army should be part of the political process like some other armed groups on the ground composed of Syrian patriotic opposition individuals." October 1, 2015

Lavrov: "We are ready to also support patriotic opposition, including the so-called Free Syrian Army, from the air." October 24, 2015…/russia-ready-to-provide-air-support-t…
Official press release of the Russian Foreign Ministry on the agreement between Lavrov and Kerry: "They also expressed support for UN efforts to resume the Geneva talks on a political settlement of the conflict between the Syrian Government and the patriotic opposition." March 2, 2016…/asset_p…/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2123567

"The delegation of Syria’s patriotic opposition that has been formed at the Hemimim base is expected to come to Geneva "any day," Russian Permanent Representative to the Office of the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin told reporters on Tuesday. The delegation of the [Syrian] internal patriotic opposition that has been formed at a conference held at Khmeimin is expected to arrive in Geneva any day," he said. March 15, 2016

Lavrov confirmed and "welcomed" in plain, open text the "great bargain" with the US by plainly and openly welcoming the US proposal to trade Palmyra for Raqqa (and hence much of Syria). Lavrov's statement is indicative of the old-fashioned colonial divide--it would make (for now) Escobar's Cosmopolistan the zone of Russian influence and Sunnistan and Kurdistan, the sphere of US patronage and control:

According to Sergey Lavrov, as reported by Russia's state new agency, TASS, the US did propose to Russia to divide Syria into their own zones of influence and operations--Palmyra and the other part to Russia, the ISIS capital, Raqqa, and the rest to the US:

"US proposed that Russia liberate Palmyra and that the US take Raqqa
US asked Russia to focus on liberating Syrian Palmyra, while the coalition led by Washington would deal with Raqqa, said Russian Foreign Minister.
Palmyra - the pearl of Syrian Desert
"We are ready to coordinate our actions with the Americans, because Raqqa (the "capital of the banned in Russia terrorist group," Islamic State) is in the eastern part of Syria, and the American coalition is active mainly there," he said. "I will probably not reveal a secret if I say that at some point the Americans offered to us a 'division of labor': the Russian Aerospace forces should focus on Palmyra, and the American coalition with Russian support will focus on Raqqa. "

According to Lavrov, "this proves that [the Americans] have some kind of epiphany." "The United States understands that it is necessary not only to communicate with each other so that we don't shoot down each other, but that it is also necessary to really coordinate our actions to combat terrorism, otherwise it will not work", - said the Russian minister."

Here, among others, Reuters reporting on the same: "Russia is ready to coordinate its actions with the U.S.-led coalition in Syria to push the Islamic State group out of Raqqa, Interfax news agency quoted Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.
"We are ready to coordinate our actions with the Americans, because Raqqa is in the eastern part of Syria, and the American coalition is mainly ... acting there," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying in an interview with the Ren-TV television channel.

"Perhaps, this is no secret, if I say that at some stage the Americans suggested performing a 'division of labor': the Russian Air Forces should concentrate on the liberation of Palmyra, and the American coalition with Russian support will focus on the liberation of Raqqa," the minister added."…/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-raq…

This became distorted, for example, in Joe Lauria's article as if Lavrov, instead of welcoming this US proposal, made Lavrov to be the initiator of this divide of Syria and claimed that the US rejected what Lavrov presented as the US proposal. Lauria also claims that President Assad "has apparently also agreed," which, unless proven, I don't see as true:

""Curiously, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the last days offered to divide the task of defeating Islamic State by inviting the U.S. to take Raqqa, an offer the U.S. refused. It is not at all clear why Russia would want the U.S. to control the Islamic State capital unless Moscow is pushing for a federalized Syria, which it has publicly supported. Assad has apparently also agreed."…/risks-in-putins-syria-withdra…/

США предлагали России заняться освобождением Пальмиры, на себя брали Ракку
США предлагали России сосредоточиться на освобождении сирийской Пальмиры, в то время как возглавляемая Вашингтоном коалиция занялась бы Раккой, сообщил также глава МИД РФ.
Пальмира - жемчужина Сирийской пустыни
"Мы готовы координировать наши действия с американцами, потому что Ракка ("столица" запрещенной в РФ террористической группировки "Исламское государство" на территории Сирии - прим. ТАСС) - это восточная часть Сирии, и там активно действует в основном американская коалиция, - сказал он. - Наверное, не открою секрет, если скажу, что на каком-то этапе американцы предлагали осуществить "разделение труда": российские Воздушно-космические силы должны сконцентрироваться на освобождении Пальмиры, а американская коалиция при российской поддержке сосредоточится на освобождении Ракки".
По словам Лаврова, "это доказывает, что у них какое-то прозрение наступает". "США понимают, что нужно не просто обмениваться информацией, чтобы друг друга не сбивать, а реально координировать свои действия по борьбе с терроризмом, иначе ничего не получится", - отметил российский министр.
Подробнее на ТАСС:

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