foto: Reuters (syrian oppositioners mocking Putin)
So while a new draft resolution condemning Damascus is right now under discussion at UN SC in NY, with Russia still saying “niet”, rumors in Moscow increase about a possible changing in Moscow’s position on Syrian crisis after russian Presidential Elections, on march 4. After that deadline (before summer), Putin – currently in full electoral campaign, i.e. needing to avoid compromises on foreign politics – would be ready to say yes to a thougher international stance against Syria, as well as against Iran (i.e to stronger sanctions or an explicit condemnation of crackdown on opposition for example, but staying firm against any foreign military intervention): this is the “red line” for Moscow as foreign minister Lavrov spoke recently, and syrian permanent representative to UN Al-Jafari repeated yesterday: “Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity are a red line”.
Why? In exchange for a closed eye and softer stance on next russian vote, democracy and HR in the country from western side, for example. Or some other bargain yet to negotiate.
And if by now the Kremlin is fiercely opposing any overthrow of Assad’s regime, in the coming months – after elections – Moscow would be preparing to welcome Bashar and his family (i.e. as political refugees: a “serbian option”), thus meaning the formation of a national coalition transitional government in Damascus including Muslim Brothers as recently proposed by some MO actors. When? Russia might be persuaded to act if the Assad regime looks certain to fall, experts say.
In the meanwhile, Moscow again proposed to host dialogue between Assad’s circle (already accepted) and (true) syrian opposition (so far dismissed): will it fail as usual or get some audience this time? Some analysts also talk about a possible participation of russians in an hypotetic after-crisis monitoring or peacekeeping mission.
Here’s a link to Arab League’s observers mission to Syria leaked report, which is serving as a base for the discussion on the proposed UN resolution (remember that so far Russia has been a strong supporter of AL efforts on Syria)