To the kind attention of Ms. Catherine Ashton
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Vice-President of the Commission
Re: The developments in Syria
Ms. High Representative / Vice President,
There is no doubt that chemical weapons were used within the ongoing civil war in Syria. It does not matter how it was done and who did it. The mere usage is enough to legitimize an appropriate reaction of the international community. The nature, the means and the size of that reaction are the real issue.
Without further investigation and evidences, what is already known and proved define a real problem of security and as a problem of security this should be dealt with. There is no need or, for the time being, no ground to couple this problem with another one implying the consideration of guilt, responsibility, retaliation or punishment.
On the other hand, there are already signs that in coping with this challenge, the EU, as well as NATO are divided. Internal divisions within the member states are to be noted as well. The deepening of these divisions has to be avoided at any cost. They are weakening our Union and our transatlantic alliance in a time of global crisis when our solidarity and unity are more necessary than ever. Moreover, this split diminishes our capacity to negotiate a common, realistic and efficient approach towards Syria with our Russian and Chinese strategic partners.
As Europeans we have the vital interest to avoid leaving US alone or isolated in a military endeavor in Syria, as well as to avoid fueling a new dispute between the so-called “Old Europe” and “New Europe”. We should be also concerned by the growing insecurity of Israel in the midst of the “Arab nightmare” emerged from the “Arab spring dream”.
Therefore I strongly believe and I ask you Ms. HR/VP to accept the view that the international reaction to the Syrian issue must be placed on security grounds exclusively (Syrian, regional and global), free from any ideological connotations. Only such objective basis, which excludes unilateral accusations and aim to bring security for all, could allow us to build a general consensus for a pragmatic and peaceful solution; a solution that could and should be, in the same time, just, feasible and sustainable.
In this light I suggest that you take the initiative of proposing to the UN a Resolution on Syria to be adopted by the Security Council, preferably under the joint sponsorship of all its permanent members, as follows.
Starting from the already proved incapacity of the Syrian Government to guarantee the control over the military assets of the country, the Resolution should ask Syria to transfer its weapons of mass destruction as well that equipment which is essential for producing them, in a secure storage in one or more third states, under the supervision of the UN. The weapons that cannot be transferred will be destroyed on the spot by the Syrian authorities themselves under the supervision and with the support of the UN.
The weapons and equipment thus stored in third countries will be restituted, as well under the UN supervision, to the legitimate Syrian authorities once a political settlement of the present crisis is found and agreed by all stakeholders.
An ad hoc coalition of the willing will receive the UN mandate to use military means, where, when and if necessary to protect the implementation of this Resolution against those who might try to undermine it. (The Resolution might mention that such a military intervention will be operated only from the air without any action on the ground.) This mandate will be granted immediately after the Syrian Government will undertake to observe the said UN decision. Thus, this will be the last chance for the present Syrian leaders to prove a minimal level of responsibility towards the international community and its security.
When somebody owns dangerous goods and is unable to guard them, thus putting in jeopardy the security of the neighbors, it is the duty of that owner to move those goods in some other place where somebody else could store them securely. If the owner does not do it, all third parties concerned are legitimate to intervene in order to protect their collective security. This is not about accusations, condemnation, sanctions, confiscation, interference in the internal affairs of others or imposing the extraterritoriality of foreign decisions. This is about protecting the local, regional and global security for the benefit of all.
Normally the members of the Security Council, as well as the Syrian official authorities and those opposing them in good faith from a democratic prospective, should accept such a Resolution and work together for its implementation. Consequently I am confident that by launching such an initiative and by promoting it through appropriate negotiations with its allies and international partners, the EU will contribute significantly to the neutralization of the threat represented by the Syrian weapons of mass destruction, without engaging in none necessary and hopeless military adventures that, beside the casualties and other damage they will bring, will alienate, frustrate and divide the Arab world, as well as the European and Euro-Atlantic alliances.