‘Russia’s involvement in Syrian crisis led to peace prospects’ – British Conservative MP

© Bassam Khabieh
Despite anti-Moscow rhetoric in the West due to Russian intervention in Syria, politicians like John Kerry understand there is a need for effective dialogue between the major international powers and regional ones, said British MP Daniel Kawczynski.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday Washington has a ‘Plan B’ for war-torn Syria which involves dividing the country. The statement came days before a ceasefire brokered by America and Russia is due to begin.

RT: How optimistic are you about the ceasefire deal holding?

Daniel Kawczynski: The first thing to say is – it is very, very important that the USA understands the importance of the role that Russia has played in bringing peace to Syria. There has been a lot of anti-Russian rhetoric and hysteria in the West for a considerable period of time as to Russia’s intervention. But as we are now starting to hear from Mr. Kerry – it is because of Russia’s involvement in this war which has led to the constructive talks that we now have with the possibility of peace. So I welcome that change in tone.

Yesterday I was at a meeting at the EU in Brussels for members of Foreign Affairs Select Committees. We met with the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg. I pressed him directly on the importance of greater engagement with Russia. Not just in the theatre of the Syrian civil war, but generally speaking around the world. We need to have a constructive effective dialogue with this regional power in order to start to solve some of the serious problems that both ourselves and the Russians face.

RT: Just days before the hostilities are supposed to come to an end, John Kerry said that if the ceasefire fails, there's a ‘Plan B’ which would essentially mean carving up Syria. Is the timing and indeed the concept a surprise to you?

DK: Well, of course Syria itself for it to be partitioned now could lead to yet further instability, further down the line. It is something that worries me. It would be a leap into the unknown if this country was partitioned up – very much along the lines of some of the discussions that we have had over the last few months about Libya – also another country where there was talk about partition.

Whenever there is talk about partition that is very much something to be taken with caution and to be assessed… with regards to what the ramifications of partition would be. So it doesn’t surprise me that Mr. Kerry is potentially raising it at this juncture, but I and many others in the British parliament very much hope that Syria as an entity can remain as it has done thus far.

Turkey wants to create buffer zones not for refugees, but for terrorist groups

Geopolitical analyst with 21st Century Wire Patrick Henningsen suggests partitioning or creating buffer zones aren’t safe for refuges, but will benefit terrorist fighting groups.

RT: Do you think partitioning Syria is a viable solution to the conflict?

Patrick Henningsen: Well, that is interesting that they call it ‘Plan B.’ I believe that ‘Plan B’ was the same as ‘Plan A.’ I believe that, as far as the West is concerned, partitioning Syria was always the end game. The end game was to somehow break up Syria. This also benefits in the short-term Turkey. But I think this partition-style – what’s different about this than a sort of British-style partition like we saw in the 20th century imposed from far away by a Western foreign power - this makes no sense whatsoever to the Syrian people. They are bluffing to a degree. I think the US is trying to buy time; Turkey is trying to buy time because of the incredible advances made by both the Russian and Syrian Arab Army partnership to push back the terrorists quite frankly – there is no other description for them from the strongholds and places like Aleppo – really key choke points in terms of sealing the border. The arms, the guns, the fighters, the human trafficking – all this stuff is transpiring across the Turkish border. Turkey wants a 10-kilometer buffer zone; doesn’t look like they are going to get it right now. This move like partitioning or creating safe zones, which the US is talking about, these aren’t safe zones for refugees, these are effectively safe zones for terrorist fighting groups.   

US-backed effective fighters in Syria who became radical Islamists

Over the years the US did not have good control over those who were receiving weapons, so the effective fighters became the radical Islamists, particularly ISIS and Al-Nusra, former CIA analyst and State Department official Larry Johnson told RT.

RT: What do you make of this announcement by John Kerry of a possible ‘Plan B’?

Larry Johnson: The US is grasping at straws. The US policy has completely fallen apart in Syria from what it was. If you recall, it was at the start of the Arab Spring when the US stepped up its funding and then turned to arming opposition groups. We [US] really helped to create the civil war that was unleashed in Syria and it was basically encouraging the opposition groups and almost inciting them to violence that when they began to fight the Syrian government and the Syrian government would retaliate, we then basically helped provoke the fight and we were able to step back and say, “Isn’t this terrible, the Syrian government needs to stop this.” But what has happened over the ensuing years is that the US did not have good control over who was receiving the weapons. So the effective fighters became the radical Islamists, particularly ISIS and Al-Nusra.

Those so-called moderate groups that the US was backing to take the lead have basically proved irrelevant, so now the US has no effective policy in Syria. It has been the intervention of both Russia and Iran with the support of the government of Bashar Assad that has shifted the military dynamics, and basically it’s confronting these non-radical Islamic Sunni groups with the decision to be eliminated or to somehow work their way back to a normal political process. I think they are desperate to seize that.  At the same time, the war continues against the radical Islamists – that is not going away. From this standpoint, I guess, maybe Russia as some gesture of generosity is letting John Kerry think that he has accomplished something.

Turkey will go mad if Syria partitioned

If Syria is divided, Turkey will be completely dissatisfied and would increase the bombing of the country, as all the new parts will belong to the Kurds, said researcher Daniele Ganser.

RT: The Turkish President has reiterated there should be no distinction between Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and the Kurds fighting the terrorists in Syria since they're all extremists in the eyes of Ankara. How will Erdogan's comments affect the success of the ceasefire?

Daniele Ganser: First of all, I think it is very important to say that this is an important step in the right direction, because everybody who observes the war in Syria knows that the US and Russia are the most powerful forces involved… and if they together agree to implement the ceasefire then that is a hopeful sign and we will see on Saturday whether it works out.

RT: Speaking about John Kerry’s so-called ‘Plan B,’ what could the result be if Syria is broken apart for the region as a whole?

DG: It would be a bad idea. You would take one part of Syria, basically the North, which would then be Kurdistan; you would take one part of Iraq, which would also be Kurdistan, and then – and that is a tricky part – you would take one part of Turkey, which would also be Kurdistan. These three parts together would be for the Kurds their dream. They wanted a country for a long, long time and it was basically the European colonial powers which split them up into three different countries years ago. If that would be done it is not that we would have peace in the Middle East, because then - rightly so - the Turks would go completely mad and would increase their bombing, and the new Kurdistan would not survive very long.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.