Saturday, June 30, 2012

US-Russia Relationship Overshadows Geneva Talks on Syria

Washington's (worsening) relationship with Moscow is casting a shadow over talks in Geneva aimed at ending the Syrian bloodbath. Officials from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council--the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France--gathered Saturday in Switzerland's second most populous city, a center for international finance and diplomacy. Envoys from Arab countries were also in attendance. Read more.

Comment: The diplomats should use neutral Switzerland as an inspiration for a possible solution to the Syrian crisis, strange as this may seem. A politically neutral, federated Syrian state, comprised of, say, three autonomous provinces, or cantons, would be in the best interests of all concerned parties, including the U.S., Russia, and Syria's neighbors--Arab states as well as Israel. Russia could conceivably keep its naval installation at Tartus; and Russian arms companies could be compensated over time for losing $1 billion in annual sales of weapons to Damascus (in the wake of losing $4 billion in yearly sales to Libya following the NATO-backed, Islamist-led takeover of that Arab nation).

Related: Reflections on the Tragedy of Syria

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