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Kerry and Nuland in Moscow: Has the U.S. Ended Its Opposition to Democracy in Syria?

For the first time today (December 15th), the United States has publicly and officially accepted the position that Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon have consistently held on the Syrian situation: that only a free and fair internationally monitored and accepted election of Syria’s President by the people of Syria can legitimately determine whom the President of Syria ought to be, and that no Syrian citizen, not even the current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he decides to be a candidate, can be blocked by any foreign power from being a candidate in that election.

The way America’s AP (Associated Press) put this in their news-report on Tuesday December 15th, was: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday accepted Russia’s long-standing demand that President Bashar Assad’s future be determined by his own people.”

The way that Ban ki-Moon, or Mr. Ban, had expressed this “demand” is:

“I believe that the future of Syria, or the future of the peace talks, … should not be held up by an issue of the future of one man. I believe that it is up to the Syrian people who have to decide the future of President Assad.”

“The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people.”

As the present reporter had noted, headlining on November 15th, “U.S. Yields to Russia’s Insistence Upon Democracy in Syria”: ”the agreement is said to specify that, by 14 December 2015, diplomats will reconvene to discuss any residual issues,” and this meant that, until this “reconvening” would be over, nothing would be final. Now that the second meeting is completed and the agreement is publicly affirmed without changes, the agreement has become official.

Here (as stated in my previous article) are the next steps that are specified in this agreement:

On 1 January 2016, the UN will then convene formal negotiations between the Syrian government and its political opponents who are not involved in terrorist activities. Obviously, defining who those parties are will be highly contentious between the U.S. and its allies, and Russia and its allies.On 14 May 2016, free elections will be held in Syria, administered by the UN.

The agreement specifies that the war against jihadist groups, all of which have been trying to bring down the Syrian government, will continue. This provision of the agreement recognizes the unacceptable role that these groups, such as Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) and ISIS, play in bombings not only in France but throughout Europe and the Middle East. The agreement won’t say whether those groups may participate in the elections, but it will specify that the war against those groups can continue, even while the peace process in Syria is being implemented. The “ceasefire” won’t apply to efforts to wipe out those jihadist groups, which are illegal in Syria.

Above and beyond those details, the atmospherics of the way that the current meeting ended, add further confirmation to…