Syria donors’ conference in Kuwait

Syria donors’ conference in Kuwait

Syria is in tatters; its future is bleak. The embattled Bashar al-Assad regime, as well as the coalition of rebels supported by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and a shy Western world, all agree that the situation in Syria no longer borders on civil war but is indeed a full-fledged civil war, the end of which cannot be seen for now.

Over the past 30 years I have been to Kuwait many times. Now I am back in this tiny Gulf state for a conference of prospective donors for the eventual reconstruction of Syria. Of course a day will come – hopefully tomorrow or the day after – when somehow the Syrian quagmire will come to an end and a new Syria will be reconstructed on whatever is left. It will be big business.

One thing is for sure, warring is very beneficial. Don’t raise your eyebrows, I am not speaking madness. War means huge arms and ammunition sales. It means devastation of cities and thus, once it is over, gigantic reconstruction tenders amounting to billions and billions of dollars, euros, yens and rupees. War means human trafficking and making huge profits in prostitution and later in family reunion programs. And in the Middle East, war means cleansing the neighborhood of the bad guys who no longer heed the advice of the West – or clowns of the West –and installing new, nice guys.

Yes, people perish in this “transformation,” but what are people for? There is a cost to every great stride forward for mankind, is there not?

The UN-supported International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria that will be held in Kuwait City today will be attended by United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon as well as dignitaries from many countries.

It is a fact that Turkey has been extraordinarily generous to the Syrian “refugees” for whom it built temporary prefabricated towns along the Turkish-Syrian border area. The conference is aimed at collecting funds – at least pledges – to assist displaced people in Syria as well as the neighboring countries, where hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled to in order to escape the devastation of war. According to local media reports here in Kuwait City, Kuwait is expected to announce a generous $500 million donation and the conference hopes to raise as much as $1.5 billion for Syrian refugees. Kuwaiti newspapers reported that representatives from more than 60 countries are expected to attend the one-day conference. Among those attending will be delegates from Russia and Iran, the two main backers of the al-Assad regime.

Turkish officials have been tightlipped about the exact amount the country spent so far on the “Syrian guests” – odd, but as of today, Turkish laws still don’t accept refugees coming from the east – but even the UN executives have been publicly appreciating the high quality of accommodation, food and other services Turkey has been providing to displaced Syrians. Yet Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will be absent at tomorrow’s conference, as he will be in nearby Qatar accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Even though Turkish officials have been categorically denying a sectarian motivation – if not adamancy – to their hard-line position against the Alevite Assad regime in Syria, they have been, together with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, the backbone of the Sunni coalition supporting the rebels fighting the Syrian government.

Why is the Kuwaiti initiative to garner funds for the displaced people and refugees of Syria so important? The answer indeed came from France, where on Jan. 28 there was a meeting of the “Friends of Syria.” Stressing that the Syrian National Coalition’s legitimacy inside the country was at stake (because it was unable to cater to the demands of civilians in areas not under government control), French officials appealed to the international community to live up to their donation pledges if they do not want Syria to slip into the hands of Islamist militants.