Part One

Immediately prior to the resumption of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva on February 23rd, here's a status-report on what has been achieved in these talks so far:

(PRELIMINARY NOTE: Many allegations in this report are contrary to what has been reported by virtually all Western press agencies, and so the documentation behind any such allegation here can immediately be accessed by the reader, simply by clicking onto its link, wherein the untrustworthiness of the Western press can be verified on the given matter, and the facts that haven't been reported by the mainstream media are verified.)

THE BACKGROUND PRIOR TO RUSSIA TAKING OVER

Russia took over the Syrian peace negotiations after U.S. President Barack Obama sabotaged them, by bombing the Syrian government's army at Der Zor (or Deir Ezzor) in Syria on 17 September 2016 (which was a direct violation of the September 9th ceasefire agreement). This sabotage terminated his own Secretary of State John Kerry's longstanding efforts to get the U.S. government to agree to remove Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups from the negotiations, and to abandon Al Qaeda in Syria. Obama insisted that, during the peace negotiations, the ceasefire would continue to allow bombing of ISIS in Syria, but not allow any bombing of Al Qaeda in Syria. The September 9th ceasefire agreement allowed continued bombing of Al Qaeda in Syria, but did not allow continued bombing of Syria's army — such as occurred on September 17th. The U.S. and Russia had both signed that deal. Obama's prompt violation of the agreement terminated any remaining trust that the leaders of Syria and of Russia had in Obama. It thus terminated America's ability to continue participating in the Syrian peace-process. Kerry's years-long peace-negotiations suddenly turned to dust.

Al Qaeda in Syria went under the name of "Al Nusra", and had long been America's main fighting-force in Syria to overthrow and replace Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad. They were, furthermore, leading all of the jihadist groups there, who likewise were aiming to overthrow and replace Syria's President — which was Obama's main objective.

As Bill Roggio documented as early as 11 December 2012:
"The Al Nusrah Front has by far taken the lead among the jihadist groups in executing suicide and other complex attacks against the Syrian military. The terror group is known to conduct joint operations with other Syrian jihadist organizations".
Furthermore, when the Obama regime formally declared — on that very same day, December 11th — that Nusra is a "terrorist" organization, Roggio reported the next day, that:
"The head of the Syrian National Coalition, which was recognized yesterday by the United States as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, is urging the US to drop its designation of the Al Nusrah Front as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. ... And lest we think he is alone, 29 Syrian opposition groups have signed a petition that not only condemns the US's designation, but says 'we are all Al Nusrah.'"
Obama knew that Nusra was his only hope for overthrowing Assad; and, so, he quietly decided to back them.

Al Qaeda in Syria has been absolutely central to America's war-effort in Syria — it has provided not only America's proxy 'boots on the ground' (which Obama backed up with American air power) but the leadership of America's other proxy 'boots on the ground' in that war. (Since they were mere proxies, instead of actual U.S. troops, they also had the advantage for Obama, of the press not blaming the U.S. for their terror-acts. By quietly arming the jihadists, their mass-murders wouldn't be blamed on Obama — especially because Obama himself condemned Nusra as being a "terrorist" organization. For American 'news' media, this put the necessary verbal distance between himself and what Nusra and the other jihadists did — which he quietly backed.)

Obama was so determined to oust Assad from Syria's Presidency, that Obama in 2014 ordered Syria's U.S. Embassy closed, and all of Syria's diplomats to leave the U.S. America's last Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, had already been withdrawn more than two years prior, during February 2012. Obama was personally committed to Assad's overthrow even before being re-elected in 2012.

Obama's only remaining communication with Assad after forcing out his diplomats was military: invading Syria (via air-attacks and via arming the tens of thousands of jihadists that were imported into Syria through Turkey and financed by the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia, and by the Thanis who own Qatar — this was a cooperative, multi-national, effort).

But his invasions of Syria were limited. He refused to go so far as hard-liners in his Administration, such as Hillary Clinton, were urging: America's establishing a "no-fly zone" or "safe havens" in Syria, euphemisms for places in Syria where the U.S. would shoot down any Syrian or Russian warplanes — euphemisms for U.S. war against both Syria and Russia, over sovereign Syrian territory: a full-fledged invasion and war between the U.S. and not only Syria, but also against nuclearly armed Russia (which Syria's government had invited into Syria, to help defend against the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-Turkish invasion of Syria; the U.S. was an invader, but Russia was not). On the U.S. hardliners' plan, of all-out invasion, Russia might thus be forced to respond with its nuclear weapons in order to avoid defeat in that traditional-armed conflict. Obama never went so far as Hillary Clinton and many others in his Administration constantly urged: escalation toward nuclear war. He limited his aggression, so as to avoid World War III.

Up until the agreement between Russia and the U.S. dated September 9th of 2016, Kerry, in his efforts to achieve a negotiated end to the Syrian war, hadn't been able to get Obama to agree to allow continued bombing of Al Nusra (by Russian and Syrian forces — U.S. forces were protecting Al Nusra) during the peace talks, but the September 9th U.S.-Russian agreement finally did allow it. Kerry played down the agreement's allowing Al Qaeda ("Nusrah") to be bombed, and said:
"Now, I want to be clear about one thing particularly on this, because I've seen reporting that somehow suggests otherwise: Going after Nusrah is not a concession to anybody. It is profoundly in the interests of the United States to target al-Qaida - to target al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, which is Nusrah."
That had indeed been his personal position on the matter, but, until September 9th, it was not the U.S. position on it: Obama had blocked it. Allowing the continued bombing (by Russia and by Syria) of "Nusrah" was the real breakthrough in the September 9th agreement, the element that Obama had always previously refused to accept.

Of course, the September 9th agreement prohibited any bombing of the Syrian government's forces.

Suddenly, the U.S. government seemed finally to be committing itself against the international Saudi jihadist networks. Russia's Sputnik News headlined on 12 September 2016, "Saudi-Backed Syrian Rebel Faction Ahrar al-Sham Rejects US-Russia Ceasefire Deal", and reported that:
"Ahrar Al-Sham, the Saudi-backed militant organization, announced that it will reject the ceasefire which is to enter into force on Monday, September 12. The militant group, which has evaded being labeled a terrorist organization thanks to US veto in the UN Security council, announced that it will not comply with the ceasefire negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov."
Everyone thought that Obama had now become serious about ending America's reliance upon jihadists as foot-soldiers in its until-then-permanent war against Russia.

However, The New York Times gave Obama on Tuesday September 13th a fall-guy to take the heat for the soon-to-come violation of Obama's new international agreement. The headline was "Details of Syria Pact Widen Rift Between John Kerry and Pentagon", and the report made clear that Obama's Secretary of 'Defense', Ashton Carter, and others at the Pentagon, were passionately opposed to the deal:
"On Tuesday at the Pentagon, officials would not even agree that if a cessation of violence in Syria held for seven days — the initial part of the deal — the Defense Department would put in place its part of the agreement on the eighth day... In private, he [Kerry] has conceded to aides and friends that he believes it will not work. But he has said he is determined to try, so that he and Mr. Obama do not leave office having failed to alleviate a civil war that has taken roughly half a million lives... At a time when the United States and Russia are at their most combative posture since the end of the Cold War, the American military is suddenly being told that it may, in a week, have to start sharing intelligence with one of its biggest adversaries to jointly target Islamic State and Nusra Front forces in Syria... But to Mr. Kerry's inner team of advisers, the Pentagon approach was reflexive Cold War-era thinking."
Then, Obama's bombing of Syria's army at Der Zor on September 17th ended the September 9th agreement. His deception-tactic soon became clear. That bombing in blatant violation of the new agreement could not have been authorized by anyone below the Commander-in-Chief himself — or, if it had been, that person would promptly have been fired by the Commander-in-Chief. No one was fired.

Both Russia and Syria excluded the United States from any further participation in the peace-talks process.

From that moment on, Russia's leader Vladimir Putin, and Syria's leader Assad, knew that America's leader Obama was entirely untrustworthy — not someone suitable to negotiate with. They knew that Obama would (and, there, did) even help ISIS take over Der Zor in order to bring about the overthrow of Assad. It wasn't just Nusra that Obama was continuing to support — it now was even ISIS; anything to replace Assad.

Al Qaeda is funded by the aristocracies of the Arabic oil kingdoms, and is funded, above all, by the royal family of America's chief ally in the Middle East, the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia. The Saud family insisted, and Obama accepted, that jihadists — who would be selected by the Sauds — control the negotiating team representing 'the rebels' at the negotiations. It would be basically the Sauds negotiating against Assad, to discuss the arrangements for a new government to replace Assad's government, and to establish Sharia law in Syria (which is the most-secular nation in the Middle East). Syria under the Assads has been and is, the only secular nation in the Middle East, and the Sauds' aim has always been to replace it with a fundamentalist-Sunni government, like theirs in Saudi Arabia (or like that of the Thani family who own Qatar, or any of the other Arabic royal families). The U.S. government has backed the Saud family, in this goal.

Part two

The Sauds pay undisclosed sums, amounting perhaps to billions of dollars annually, to support the U.S. CIA, and especially to finance U.S. training and weapons to Al Qaeda and other jihadists in Syria for the overthrow of Assad, and they have for decades financed efforts to overthrow and replace Syria's secular non-sectarian government. The Sauds' contribution, according to The New York Times, is "by far the largest from another nation to the program to arm the rebels against President Bashar al-Assad's military." They hire us — and not only for the Syrian operation. After the bloody CIA coup that had replaced democracy with fascism in Chile in 1973, and the U.S. Senate's Church Committee hearings revealed how evil the CIA is and the CIA thus became subjected to some public scrutiny for a brief period, the Sauds took up much of the slack, filling in for the CIA until the matter faded from the headlines. "In the late 1970s, the Saudis organized what was known as the 'Safari Club' — a coalition of nations including Morocco, Egypt and France — that ran covert operations around Africa at a time when Congress had clipped the C.I.A.'s wings over years of abuses." This program continued: "In the 1980s, the Saudis helped finance C.I.A. operations in Angola, where the United States backed rebels against the Soviet-allied government." Moreover, "Prince Bandar bin Sultan [al-Saud]... directed Saudi spies to buy thousands of AK-47 assault rifles for Syrian rebels." Such is 'The Western Alliance' of 'the free world' of 'the democracies', who work for the Sauds. And what's publicly known about it, is only the most palatable part of the reality.

For this reason, President Obama vetoed a bill that would allow America's victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue in U.S. courts the government of Saudi Arabia, including the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar, and his wife, both of whom had been regularly paying thousands of dollars to the Saudi officials who were paying the 9/11 terrorists during the immediate lead-up to 9/11. Obama's argument for their being above the law was that if the Sauds were to be held liable for what they did to produce 9/11, then the U.S. President and other U.S. officials could be held liable for what they do (bombings, coups, invasions, etc.) to other countries. Obama's argument was the Medieval concept of 'sovereign immunity', or 'the king can do no wrong'. However, since Congress was up for re-election at the time, it overrode Obama's veto. "'I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983,' [White House] press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters" on that occasion. For the first time ever, Congress had voted against the Saud family. Obama, like Bush before him, did all he could to protect his masters; but, finally, it could no longer be enough. Even a king can't always get what he wants.

Within a day after America's September 17th bombing of the Syrian government's soldiers at Der Zor, enough details of the operation became known so that Russia's government was already saying, in essence, that Obama had been negotiating in bad faith and that Russia's attempts to work cooperatively with him on Syria were ended — not because of Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry's having had any ill intent or lying in the negotiations, but because "The White House is defending Islamic State. Now there can be no doubts about that". It was "the White House", not the Secretary of State (and not 'the Pentagon'), who sabotaged those peace talks. Obama ditched Kerry on Syria, just like he had earlier ditched him on Ukraine (the other flashpoint, with regard to Russia).

The independent German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer managed to get a video interview with an ISIS commander ("NF"), and Todenhofer headlined his interview on 26 September 2016, "Inside IS". The following passage from it (Todehofer is fluent both in German and Arabic, and here is my translation of his German translation of it into English) was typical, regarding America's back-stage support not only of Al Qaeda, but even of ISIS — the group that Obama's bombing of the Syrian army at Der Zor on September 17th was helping — and of all of the other jihadist groups in Syria:
JT: Is this only true for "Jabhat al Nusra" or also for the allies of "Jabhat al Nusra" here.

NF: This is valid for all groups, who are our allies.

JT: Islamic Front, Islamic Army?

NF: They are all with us. We are all the "Al Nusra-Front". A group is formed and calls itself "Islamic Army" or "Fateh Al Scham". Each group has its own name, but the belief is uniform. The overall name is "Al Nusra-Front" (Jabhat al Nusra).

For example, one person has 2000 fighters. Then a new group is formed from there and calls itself "Ahrar Al Scham" — brothers, whose faith, thoughts and aims are identical with the "Al Nusra-Front".
As Steve Chovanec had aptly summarized, on 4 March 2016, Obama's position in negotiations with Russia on Syria: "Please Don't Attack Al-Qaeda". Obama kept that position till the end of his Presidency (though Kerry did not). Eliminating Assad was far more important to him than was eliminating Al Qaeda; it even caused him to fire or otherwise sideline any of his top national-security officials who didn't share his passion in this regard.

Seymour Hersh reported on 4 April 2014:
"The former intelligence official said, 'the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently "painful" to the Assad regime.' The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into 'a monster strike'."
Gareth Porter reported on 16 February 2016:
"Information from a wide range of sources, including some of those the United States has been explicitly supporting, makes it clear that every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces is engaged in a military structure controlled by Nusra militants. All of these rebel groups fight alongside the Nusra Front and coordinate their military activities with it."
Christina Lin noted, on 8 April 2016:
"Reports say some American-backed jihadi groups are being equipped with US-made MANPADS. Indications are they're obtaining these advanced weapons either directly or indirectly from the US or its Mideast allies in connection with a recent escalation in the fighting in Syria."
Izat Charkatli headlined on 12 August 2016, "Nusra commander defects to ISIS with his battalion", and reported:
"The leader of Jabhat Al Nusra's, now Jabhat Fath Al-Sham, Barraq Battalions, defected from the Al-Qaeda affiliated terror group and joined the notorious ISIS group."
Nominally, Obama was opposed to ISIS in Syria, but he wasn't even nominally opposed to Al Nusra (except publicly to American audiences): he instead insisted that during the peace negotiations, there would be no bombing allowed against any of the anti-Assad forces except ISIS — especially Nusra and its allies were being treated by Obama as 'moderate rebels', 'freedom fighters against Assad'; and he insisted that, during the peace negotiations, only ISIS could still be bombed. Russia always refused to accept that condition. Russia insisted that no exception be made for Al Nusra and the other non-ISIS jihadist groups. Russia insisted to be allowed to continue bombing all jihadists that don't put down their arms during the negotiations — that there be no cease-fire against any of them that don't. Russia's minimal demand was that the existing bombing and other attacks by Russia and Syria against Nusra be allowed to continue while the peace talks continue. Finally, Kerry managed to get Obama nominally to agree to that minimal condition; but, within less than a week thereafter (the September 9th agreement went into force on September 12th, and Obama bombed the Syrian army post on September 17th), Obama's bombers killed over 60 Syrian soldiers at Der Zor — the attack that terminated the peace-talks. This was in such blatant violation of the September 9th agreement, so that, since then, the U.S. has been out of the picture: the talks resumed with only Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, as governmental participants.

The tactic of using jihadists against Russia had started late in the 1970s, as a means of weakening the Soviet Union, during America's war against communism.

The U.S., and the royal family of Saudi Arabia, had created Al Qaeda back in 1979, to be their "boots on the ground" against the Soviet Union, and used them not only in Afghanistan but also in Russia's own Chechnya region, to weaken, first the Soviet Union itself, helping to break it up, and then, after the Cold War ended on the Russian side in 1991 when the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance all ended, America and the Sauds continued arming and funding Al Qaeda, so as to create terror in Russia and to overthrow Russia's allies abroad, such as Assad. Perhaps communism wasn't the reason for the Cold War but merely the excuse for the Cold War; but, certainly, this has been and is the case after communism ended but America's war against Russia didn't. Only the excuse is gone. The U.S. subterranean policy since the termination of the Soviet Union and of its communism and of its Warsaw Pact military alliance in 1991 has been to continue the Cold War now against Russia, by bringing its former Warsaw Pact allies, and even the other states that had been parts of the Soviet Union, into America's anti-Russia military club, NATO. Syria had never been a part of the Soviet Union, nor of the Warsaw Pact, but it had been an ally of the Soviets and then of Russia, and the Sauds wanted to take it over and bring it into 'The Western' fold.

Whereas NATO is the European wing of America's continuing war against Russia, the African or southern wing of America's permanent (meaning: until conquest) war against Russia is led by the Saud family, who dominate their Gulf Cooperation Council of other Arabic royal families. So: whereas the U.S. aristocracy leads the anti-Russia war in Europe, the Saudi aristocracy leads it in Africa (basically in the other countries that are owned by the other fundamentalist-Sunni Arab royal families). On 15 December 2015, the Saud family announced that they had created and gotten 34 nations signed onto their new "Islamic Military Alliance", but the Sauds' main ally remains the U.S. aristocracy.

Those two aristocracies — U.S. and Saudi — control The West. The U.S. controls the dollars, and the Sauds and their fundamentalist-Sunni allies control enough of the oil and gas, so that between them the petrodollar-era has been the American-Saudi Empire; and, after the end of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Sauds have been doing all they can to crush all challengers but especially Russia and its allies including Iran and Syria — two Muslim-majority countries that refuse to subordinate themselves to the Saud family and its Wahhabist-Salafist clergy.

So, the U.S. government sometimes arms, and sometimes arms against, Al Qaeda (a joint U.S.-Saudi product, fundamentalist-Sunni like the Sauds themselves): it all depends on where, but basically it depends upon whether Al Qaeda is fighting against Russia (which both the U.S. and the Saudi aristocracies want to become conquered — that aim is Al Qaeda's original reason for being). Whereas the U.S. sometimes is against Al Qaeda, and at other times is arming Al Qaeda, Russia is always against Al Qaeda and against all of the Sauds' other terrorist groups (such as the ones Al Qaeda leads in Syria).
Part Three

AFTER RUSSIA TOOK OVER THE NEGOTIATIONS

The conclusion of the first round of post-U.S.-involvement Syrian peace talks took place in Astana Kazakhstan and ended on January 24th, and included, as governmental participants, Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Neither the Sauds (who had selected and organized the delegation that supposedly represented 'the rebels' in the previous, America-led, talks) nor the United States government (which is the main international representative of the Sauds) participated. (However, America's Ambassador to Kazakhstan was allowed to be one of the "observers"; America's master, the Sauds, weren't granted even this recognition.) The Syrian announcement noted that "Regarding the omission of the reference to Syria's secularism in the statement, al-Jaafari [Syria's Foreign Minister] said that this was upon the request of Turkey and the armed groups [these ones not having been selected by the Saud family, but by the four governmental participants], which is odd since the Turkish government claims that Turkey is secular, but when it comes to Syria, it stands against secularism".

Both the U.S. government and the Saudi government — and their respective allies — were totally excluded from any decision-making in the post-U.S. talks. Turkey had been a U.S.-Saudi ally (except against them on Kurdish independence) until the failed 15 July 2016 CIA-backed coup-attempt to replace Turkey's President Erdogan by a U.S.-Gulen junta that would allow the U.S. aristocracy's aim of creating a Kurdish nation so as to weaken Syria, Iraq, and Turkey and so allow even more Saudi dominance of the region. Russian intelligence had learned of the coup-plan in advance; and, hours before the coup started, Russian President Putin informed Erdogan that it was about to happen, which saved Erdogan's life and his regime. This is why Turkey was now cooperating with Russia. (However, Turkey still hasn't yet left NATO; so, Turkey is now the first and only nation that's allied with both the U.S. and Russia, at least for the time being. Erdogan, after the coup, is "on the fence". Formerly, he had been pro-U.S., anti-Russia, reliably pro-NATO.)

There was a separate announcement, from Al Jazeera, on January 24th, "Astana joint statement by Iran, Russia, Turkey: in Full". It said that the parties:
Reaffirm their commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, non-sectarian and democratic State, as confirmed by the UN Security Council;

Express their conviction that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it can only be solved through a political process based on the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2254 in its entirety; ...

Reiterate their determination to fight jointly against ISIL/DAESH and Al-Nusra and to separate them from armed opposition groups; ...

Support the willingness of the armed opposition groups to participate in the next round of negotiations to be held between the government and the opposition under the UN auspices in Geneva as of February 8, 2017
The resistance, by some religious Muslims, to the Russian delegation's proposed new Constitution for Syria, which is even more secular than the existing one, caused the February 8th resumption-date in Geneva to be moved back to February 20th.

Here are some provisions of that proposed Russian draft:
Chapter 1. Basic Principles

Article 1

- The Syrian Republic is an independent sovereign state, based on the principle of the rule of the people by the people and for the people, the rule of law, equality of all before the law, social solidarity, respect for rights and freedoms and equality of rights and duties of all citizens regardless of any differences and privileges. ...

Article 2

- The sole source of power in Syria shall be its multinational and multi faith people. ... The People of Syria shall exercise their sovereignty in accordance with the Constitution directly by means of a referendum, and through their representatives elected on the basis of universal, equal, direct suffrage by free, secret and personal ballot. ...

- No person carrying another nationality, in addition to the nationality of Syria, may occupy the position of a member of the People's Assembly, a member of the Constituent Assembly, President of the Republic, Prime Minister, a deputy prime minister, a minister, or a member of the Supreme Constitutional Court. ...

Article 3

The State shall respect all religions and religious organizations, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order. Religious organizations shall be equal before the law. ...

Article 5

- The political system of the state shall be based on the principle of political pluralism, and exercising power democratically by secret ballot. ...

Article 6

- Ideological diversity shall be recognized in Syria. No ideology shall be proclaimed as State ideology or as obligatory. Public associations shall be equal before the law.

- The State shall ensure security and protect the rights and freedoms of national and religious minorities.

- The establishment and activities of political parties and other public associations whose goals and activities are aimed at the forcible changing of the basis of the constitutional order and at violating the integrity of the State, at undermining its security, at engaging in terrorism, at creating armed units, at instigating religious, social, racial, national, and tribal strife; and that are based on sectarian, regional, class, professional discrimination, or on discrimination by gender or origin, may not be undertaken. Such organizations may not be part of the social and political system in Syria. ...

Article 7

- Laws and other legal acts, which are adopted in Syria, must not contradict the Constitution.

- Universally recognized principles and norms of international law as well as international agreements of Syria shall be an integral part of its legal system. ...

- Syria shall maintain good neighborly relations with other countries based on cooperation, mutual security and other principles stipulated by international legal rules.

- Syria denounces war as an infringement on other countries' sovereignty and a means to resolve international conflicts.

Article 10

- The army and other armed forces shall be under public oversight and shall defend Syria and its territorial integrity; they may not be used as an instrument of suppression of the people; they may not interfere in politics or participate in the transfer of power. ...

Article 11

- In Syria the freedom of economic activity is guaranteed, and private, State, municipal and other forms of property shall be recognized. Property may not be used to infringe on human and civil rights and freedoms, public and State interests, and human dignity.

- Developing the economy on the basis of different forms of property is aimed at improving the people's wellbeing. The State shall use market principles to bolster economic development, guarantee freedom of entrepreneurship and prevent monopolization and unfair competition in economic relations. ...

- Natural resources shall be publicly owned. The law shall regulate how utilization rights for natural resources or concessions are granted. ...

- No discrimination by gender, origin, language or faith shall be allowed. ...

- The State shall provide women with all opportunities enabling them to effectively and fully contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life, and the State shall work on removing the restrictions that prevent their development and participation in building society. ...

Article 14

- Protection of the environment shall be the responsibility of the state and society and it shall be the duty of every citizen. ...

- The National Bank of Syria is owned exclusively by the State. ...

Article 18

- Everyone shall have the right to life, security and freedom and the State shall guarantee these rights. No right can be restricted or denied to a person unless otherwise provided by law and following the decision by the appropriate judicial authority.

- All persons shall be equal before the law without discrimination among them on grounds of gender, race, nationality, origin, color, religion, personal convictions, beliefs or views, and economic and social status. ...

Article 20

- Everyone shall have the right freely to seek, receive, transmit, produce and disseminate information by any legal means. In accordance with the law the State ensures freedom of the press and mass media.

- Propaganda or agitation, which incites social, racial, national or religious hatred and hostility, and propaganda of social, racial, national, religious or linguistic supremacy, shall be prohibited. ...

Article 22

- Everyone shall have the right to the inviolability of his (her) person, home, personal and family privacy.

- Collecting, keeping, using and disseminating information about the private life of a person shall not be permitted without his (her) consent.

- The State shall guarantee a person's right to privacy of correspondence, of telephone conversations and of postal, telegraph and other communications. This right may be limited by law to prevent a crime or to uncover the truth when investigating a crime.

- Except when the law says otherwise or when following a court's order, nobody may enter a home against the will of its occupants. ...

Article 23

- Everyone shall have the right to work in conditions, which meet safety and hygiene requirements, and to receive remuneration for labor without any discrimination whatsoever. ...

- The law shall regulate employer-employee relations based on economic principles and the norms of social justice.

- The State shall guarantee the right of its people to lawfully form labor associations and unions and to join them. ...

Article 26

- Everyone shall be guaranteed social security payments for legal retirement age, in case of illness, disability, loss of breadwinner, incapacitation, unemployment, and in other cases specified by law. Minimum state pensions and social benefits shall be established by law. ...

- Everyone has the right to health protection and medical care in state and municipal health institutions. ...

- Everyone shall have the right to education. The State shall guarantee free secondary education. ...

- Punishment shall be personal; no crime and no punishment except by a law.

- Anyone shall be considered innocent until his (her) guilt is proven and confirmed by a court sentence. ...

- No one may be investigated or arrested, except under an order or decision issued by the competent judicial authority. ...

- No one may be tortured or treated in a humiliating manner, and the law shall define the punishment for those who do so.

- Any person who is arrested must be informed of the reasons for his arrest and his rights, and may not be incarcerated except by an order of the competent judicial authority.

- Any person sentenced by a final ruling, who has carried out his sentence and the ruling proved wrong shall have the right to ask the state for compensation for the damage he suffered. ...

Article 35

- Members of the People's Assembly shall be elected by the public, secret, direct and equal vote. They shall represent the whole people of Syria. ...

Article 49

- The President of the Republic is elected for the term of 7 years by citizens of Syria on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

- No person can hold the office of the President of the republic for more than two consecutive terms.

- The candidate who wins the election for the President of the Republic is the one who gets more than one half of votes of those who take part in the elections. If no candidate receives such majority, a rerun is carried out between the two candidates who receive the largest number of votes. ...

Article 51

3) the candidacy application shall not be accepted unless the applicant has acquired the support of at least 35 members of the People's Assembly and (or) the Constituent Assembly. No member of the Assemblies can support more than one candidate. ...

Article 59

The President of the Republic might call for a referendum on important issues which affect the higher interests of the country. The result of the referendum shall be binding and come into force as of the date of its announcement by the President of the Republic. ...

Article 82

The term in office of the current President of the Republic shall be 7 years from the swearing-in date. He has the right to run again for President of the Republic. The President's term in office as stated in this Constitution shall apply to him as of the next presidential elections. ...
The U.S. had demanded that the Syrian public be prohibited from being allowed to vote for Bashar al-Assad when elections for Syria's Presidency will next be held. The U.S. government and its allies had held polls throughout Syria, all of which showed that Assad is by far the preferred person, among all Syrians, to lead the nation. The declaration in Astana commits Syria unqualifiedly to democracy, and also opposes the breaking-up of Syria into ethnic enclaves — Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish — which the U.S. regime (such as in a recent Rand Corporation commentary, but actually ever since at least 1957) had striven for (as the likeliest way to enable the American aristocracy's allies, the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to pipeline their oil and gas through Syria into Europe, and so undercut Russia's prices in the world's largest oil-and-gas market — it's economic war against Russia). (And its being a "Pipeline War" was confirmed in a 3 September 2016 news report from German Economic News, "Energy war over Syria: Fight only along future pipelines".)

Iran, though itself a theocratic-Shiite regime (after the 1953 fascist U.S.-British-installed regime was overthrown in 1979), has never objected to Assad's secularism. Of course, Russia, a secular nation after having abandoned the Marxist faith in 1990, has no problem at all with a secular ally. Turkey under Erdogan did, however, have a problem with it, until the U.S. tried to overthrow him to help the Sauds and Thanis. But the increased secularism that's in the Russian-proposed constitutional draft would be especially unacceptable to the jihadists who have been trying to overthrow Assad. Perhaps those jihadists — many if not most of whom have been imported into Syria by the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari alliance — will need to be either killed or expelled from Syria before any such document will be able to be seriously considered. Russia has there, in its proposed draft constitution for Syria, laid down the gauntlet to The West, to decide whose side The West is really on.

Is it on the Sauds' side, or on Russia's side?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.