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26 Mar, 2012 00:04

‘West looking for face-saving exit from Syria’

Russia says in order to support UN envoy Kofi Annan's peace mission in Syria other nations must stop taking sides. US President Obama, however, is considering providing Syrian rebels with ‘non-lethal’ aid in their uprising against President Assad.

Sharmine Narwani, a Middle East expert from St. Antony's College in Oxford University, believes that NATO does not have any particular plan with regards to Syria. Therefore, such claims like the one made by the White House about possible “non-lethal aid” to the rebels are of little significance.“NATO countries, including the United States, the European Union and Turkey, are now looking for a face-saving exit from Syria,” she told RT. “So, I think, regardless of what Obama says… I mean, really, what does that statement mean? It could mean band-aids, for all we know. So forget what the players are saying, watch what they are doing. That’s going to tell us what’s going on in the backrooms.”Narwani’s view was echoed by Karl Sharro, a blogger on Middle East affairs.“The West doesn’t have any plan in Syria. It’s been very loud, but it doesn’t have any clear plan of action," he said. "We’ve seen the sanctions [imposed on Syria] by the EU. It’s a joke. When you don’t have any other initiatives or any other pressure to apply, they slap these kinds of sanctions on the president’s wife and his mother.”

What is more important, both Narwani and Sharro continued, is that Russia is “taking the lead” in the current situation and helping “move into the next phase” of the Syrian crisis.“Russia is clearly taking the lead in efforts to help create some time and space for the Syrian government to move with the reforms that were initiated last spring,” she said. “It’s supported heavily by a number of developing countries, particularly with the BRICS, and even some regional players, like Iran.”Narwani also added that should the Syrian opposition groups continue to reject Annan's plan, they may soon find themselves isolated.The joint UN-Arab special envoy and the Russian president held talks in Moscow on Sunday to discuss ending the violence and to get both sides in the conflict to talk. Russia says Kofi Annan's peace efforts could be the last chance for Syria to avoid plunging into a long-lasting and bloody civil war.