No Alternative to “Geneva”!

By: Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 25 April / Apr 2016. 10:48 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

American President Barack Obama hesitates not to remind everybody involved of the limits of the American approach in Syria; No ground intervention to topple Assad, and no Safe Zones. What Obama did not do at the beginning of his second term, he will not at its end.

Does this add more to the frustration of the “Riyadh” group of the Syrian opposition that withdrew from the Geneva deliberations without intentions of returning, according to their leaders’ statements?

Are there other alternatives?!

Obama’s declarations converge implicitly with Moscow’s position; there is no alternative to the Geneva negotiations. Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, was more aggressive in his statements, gloating against the opposition, when he blessed the withdrawal of the Riyadh group, and called to resume the talks without them!

Nonetheless, all parties admit to the hole. The withdrawal of the opposition delegation, with growing breaches in the fields, indicate the truce is on the verge of collapse.

Notably, the cease-fire is the only gain, now, in Syria, and its sustenance has become everybody’s goal; inside and out. Going back to square one will push the Russians back as well, and violently, to the battlefield, giving ISIS a breathing chance.

Should that happen, Syria will be torn asunder the moment the truce collapses, according to Obama. De Mistura, on his part, is also concerned over the unexpected fall-back in the latest deliberation rounds in Geneva. And to avoid further collapse, further diplomatic effort is being put to bring together foreign “Friends of Syria” ministries very soon, to conduct thorough and condensed deliberations with the Russian party to do their duty towards their Syrian ally, to contain the deterioration, and restore motion to the wheels of negotiation.

The opposition frustrated by the Geneva talks and field breaches of the truce, have only one alterative; military escalation. And in this contexts, there are reports leaked on a qualitative arming of militant groups in Syria intended to flip the balance of powers on the ground, and push the Syrian regime to loosen up their stiff positions.

This alternative, however, has been tried before, and made not much of a difference on the ground, particularly after Russia’s interventions, and Moscow’s readiness to revamp their military presence to what it was before they withdrew from Syria.

As for Washington, they do not seem to be considering pumping more arms into Syria, and Turkey has gone back on their previous plans given the rise of internal terrorist threats.

The re-militarisation alternative, for both; the Regime and opposition, has devalued, and is not being considered by their allies. Russia supported the regime to restore its balance in order to engage in the Geneva talks with a good standing position. Washington and Riyadh worked together —in spite of disparities; forcing the opposition to negotiate, with no intentions otherwise.

In western diplomatic communities, there dominates the idea that an international power can still impose their options on both parties of the conflict, and will soon bring them back to Geneva in a few weeks. And before that, it tremendous pressures is to be applied on the continuation of the truce, with some breaches on both sides to be expected.