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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Caught between Turkey’s demands and Kurdish ambitions, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has an impossible mission in Syria in which he is both the peacemaker and the war-maker.

India's National Magazine from the Publishers of THE HINDU
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Print edition : September 30, 2016 Letter from America
Syrian File

BY Vijay Prashad | http://www.frontline.in/world-affairs/syrian-file/article9103415.ece?homepage=true

Caught between Turkey’s demands and Kurdish ambitions, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has an impossible mission in Syria in which he is both the peacemaker and the war-maker. By VIJAY PRASHAD

UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN Kerry seems to have inexhaustible reserves of energy. He has been going back and forth between the various Arab capitals and Turkey’s capital, as well as between Geneva and Washington, D.C. Kerry’s brief is a complex one. On the one hand, it appears that he is tasked with bringing peace to Syria and Iraq as well as the other conflict zones in West Asia and north Africa: he is, in other words, to be the peacemaker. On the other hand, Kerry’s mission is to coalesce the diplomatic efforts against the Islamic State (I.S.) and against other threats to the U.S. In this role, Kerry is a war-maker, given ballast by the massive U.S. military presence in the region and the considerable U.S. military sales to its allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Ancient Romans gave their god of war—Mars—a peaceful incarnation, Mars Pacifier. It is Mars who wore the olive branches that were associated with peace, the crossed branches of which are on the United Nations’ flag. Mars’ conflicted mission will be familiar to Kerry, who enters conversations that are putatively about peacemaking with arms sales and belligerence on his sleeve. It is an unenviable position. http://www.frontline.in/world-affairs/syrian-file/article9103415.ece?homepage=true

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