There is nothing Bashar al-Assad’s regime loves more than a process, and the international community has just delivered one that could maintain the status quo inside Syria indefinitely. It is undoubtedly better to talk than to fight, but nothing about the Geneva II talks between the Syrian regime and the opposition portends an outcome that would relieve the suffering of the Syrian people, or begin to end the war.
Had Geneva truly been an attempt to resolve the Syrian stalemate, influential nations would have insisted on the regime’s adherence to the basic recommendations of the Geneva I talks in 2012, including the provision of humanitarian aid, the release of prisoners of conscience, and the cessation of Assad’s relentless air strikes on civilians.… Seguir leyendo »
A group of foreign ministers declared last week that Bashar al-Assad “would not have a role in Syria” when a transitional governing body was established to move the country forward. For all the media excitement over the announcement, this Friends of Syria grouping merely reiterated a basic condition of the Syrian National Coalition, the main political opposition group, recognised by more than 100 countries as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people”.
The public sidelining of Assad was a mere formality while efforts continue to convince the opposition not only to remain united in a single delegation, but to show up at an international conference in Geneva on 23 November.… Seguir leyendo »
Syrian media have been busy since the uprising, weaving fantastic conspiracy theories, of open-air studios in secret locations where fake demonstrations are filmed, of campaigns stemming from personal animosity and of dubious Islamist agendas – all emanating from a single source. The proof, we are always told, is in the USB stick waved at the camera by various regime spokespeople promising to reveal, one day, compromising information involving a number of Gulf potentates.
Apparently, the emir of Qatar and his al-Jazeera network are the biggest culprits, sowing chaos as part of a Gulf/Zionist/imperialist agenda to destabilise Syria. Even the Arab League’s attempt to rein in the Syrian regime’s brutal repression of its people seems solely due to Sheikha Mozah‘s special relations with certain US officials, according to Syria’s ambassador to Cairo.… Seguir leyendo »
The notion of a modern political awakening in the Arab world was first whispered more than a decade ago in Syria, when an assortment of intellectuals, artists, writers and activists lit the spark of what would become known as the Damascus spring. Having risked carefully crossing the regime’s red lines in the last years of Hafez al-Assad‘s reign, they continued to push the boundaries after his son Bashar inherited power in July 2000, willing themselves to believe that he would support a gradual transition to a more pluralistic political system.
The Damascus spring was abruptly cut short with the Syrian regime’s usual brutal methods; by 2001, civil society forums had been forced shut, and the main protagonists were charged in state security courts and given long jail sentences.… Seguir leyendo »