While I may be feeling unwell, I just can't pull myself away from the situation in Syria
A fairly decent ,, though still lacking, article from BBC?
Who would have thought?
That sets one of the parameters that are essential for
successful movement towards a settlement of the Syrian conflict, which
has embroiled many outside players
Arresting and reversing that process of disintegration is a massive task
Lakhdar Brahimi, stressed that, vital and hopeful as the apparent US-Russian understanding is, it is only a first step.
In practice, sufficient ambiguities were left open in the Geneva
statement for the bickering to start almost before the ink had dried.(and it did)
In particular, there was no understanding on the future role of President Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle.
(And there still isn't)
-Now Washington seems to have softened its position to the
extent of leaving Mr Assad's future up to the outcome of negotiations
and whatever the Syrians themselves decide, which has long been the
- The alternative is a scenario which does not serve the interests of
either of the big powers, and it is hard to see how it serves anybody
Which is not to say that it will not happen.
-Democrats in the US Congress have introduced "Syrian
stabilisation" legislation that would empower the administration to
provide lethal aid to the Syrian opposition - weaponry that could tilt
the balance on the ground, which would be the purpose. (The Israel first crowd? Or Plan B)
But Mr Kerry made it clear that that scenario would become irrelevant if there is a serious settlement process.
If the US Congress is continuing on in this fashion. I come away with the impression the US is being disingenuous with this negotiations.
The US Strategy:
-Its strategy was to tilt the battlefield sufficiently that the
government - or the Alawite leadership - came under enough pressure to
jettison the ruling circle and agree to regime change through an orderly
And all the noise about defections was as I had surmised, much ado about nothing. The Syrian government remained intact.
-But that was not happening, and the risk attendant on beefing up support
for the rebels and prolonging the conflict is that it could lead to an
uncontrolled regime collapse and chaos, with all kinds of radical groups
possibly moving in.
Which is exactly what the US had hoped for, but, it did not happen
The past few months have seen reflected on the ground the fact
that Russia, Iran and the latter's Lebanese allies, Hezbollah, are
determined not to allow the Syrian government to be brought down by
With government forces making increasing headway against
rebels in many areas, the US would have had to put huge resources - and
perhaps direct involvement - into redressing the balance and tilting it
the other way, risking embroilment in a deepening proxy war that could
go badly wrong, and would actually stand little chance of going right.
That prospect was clearly not attractive for the Russians either.
The 30 June Geneva statement is destined to provide the
starting point for the conference the two big powers propose to convene
in the coming weeks.
This time, they seem genuinely committed to working together to
bring their allies to the table for a constructive negotiation, rather
than agreeing a lowest common denominator text that would get torn to
shreds immediately by unresolved disputes.
But it will not be easy, on either side of the equation.
A successful negotiation is normally based on translating an
established balance of power on the ground into political reality, and
obviously depends on the parties involved being able to deliver their
side of the deal.
This time the US is seeming to be committed. The Russian position has been consistent all along
-On the government side, the picture is fairly cohesive, though any
negotiation would need the opposition to agree to sit down, or deal
indirectly, with the powers that be.
On the opposition side, the situation is far less clear.
-The umbrella Syrian National Coalition has signally failed to
establish itself as a coherent, unified and focused force to be
-After months of internal wrangling it has not even been able
to produce the transitional or provisional government that the Western
powers were hoping would provide a credible vehicle for regime change.
But the coalition has received limited international
recognition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people,
which it may try to invoke in arguing that it alone should take part in
negotiations, to the exclusion, for example, of government-tolerated
internal opposition groups.
Whoever talks for the opposition, there is also the issue of whether they can deliver.
The coalition is largely based on opposition figures living abroad.
-The fighting forces on the ground are desperately fragmented, in some
cases very localised, in others, involving radical Islamist jihadis
from outside the country.
-Who is going to deliver - or force - compliance by the
al-Qaeda-related al-Nusra Front, which has made the running in many
rebel-held areas? (Cut their paycheques)
A negotiation requires both sides to concede that they have not won and that a compromise is needed to save the country. (A negotiation requires the NATO backed terrorists and foreign opposition to concede they have not won, not Assad. Weird BBC spin)
The opposition would be implicitly admitting that, if they agree to talks without President Assad stepping down.
There is more at the link, you can read if you wish