Geneva II : a summary
Where are we now?
Opinion article by our correspondent KJ
The first round of the Geneva II talks came to an end. Nothing substantive came out of it but at least it proved the seriousness and goodwill of the Syrian government delegation as they came to Geneva with a high ranking team composed of Foreign Minister Waleed al-Muallem, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and political and media adviser to President Bashar al-Assad Bouthaina Shaaban. Even before they arrived in Switzerland the Syrian government delegation made it clear that they would attend the conference with an open mind willing to discuss everything on a serious basis.
Unfortunately, the so called opposition delegation did not come to Geneva with the same openness and seriousness. From the first moment and even before the talks started the only thing they spoke of was regime change and the removal of President al-Assad ignoring the fact that the Syrian government and President are democratically elected and do not represent a “regime” but a legal government representing the Syrian people. Why does the Western media always speak about the American, British and French government and about the Syrian regime? What about if for instance the BBC would talk about the American regime instead of government or if the Belgian Foreign Minister would demand the removal of President Obama? It would be totally absurd but when the Syrian government is involved it suddenly becomes acceptable to insult the Syrian people and Nation.
Secondly, there was this extremely strange and shameless coup de théâtre on the American side with regard to the Iranian participation at the Geneva II conference. It is utmost clear that Iran is a regional superpower and the most important strategic ally of Syria with a wide ranging influence all over the region. It are the Iranians who have been trying to stabilise and work towards a political solution to resolve the conflict in Syria since the beginning. It is also widely accepted that the Iranians are in the best position as an intermediair because of its good relations with Ankara and all the other countries in the region. Because of its unique position it is a no brainer that Iranian participance in Geneva II is absolutely necessary. As this is widely accepted the Iranians were invited to Geneva II and the Iranian side prepared itself to push forward its positive role in finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis. From this point of view it is incomprehensible that the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, retracted the invitation of the Iranian delegation to the conference because of pressure from the American and opposition side.
Moreover, the fact that the Americans and opposition made this pre-condition of excluding the Iranian participance at the conference, while everyone is aware of the necessity of their attendance, shows that the so called opposition is not serious and honest in its intentions to sit on the table and find a solution to the crisis.
Thirdly, the delegation of the so called opposition did only come to Geneva after tremendous political pressure from their American allies and diplomatic efforts by the Russian government as they were too busy with infighting and forwarding their silly pre-conditions. This political Shakespearian drama did for sure not show the same goodwill and seriousness as shown by the Syrian government delegation. It was if the opposition delegation had totally lost its sense of reality and was living in its own narrow minded world.
Fourthly, the question pops up who this opposition delegation is really representing. Everyone know of course that they are getting their orders from Washington, Riyadh, Doha and Ankara but who do they really represent on the popular level? Politically they surely don’t represent the Syrian people and even militarily their armed wing, the so called Free Syrian Army, has lost its positions to the takfiri and wahhabi militias reigning with terror and fear in the regions where they are active. So, the opposition delegation in Geneva is not representing anyone but themselves. Nor politically nor militarily they have any power or legality.
And finally there was the review of the Geneva I declaration. The Syrian government delegation showed its seriousness and willingness to review the Geneva I declaration from the beginning to the end , paragraph by paragraph. Contrary, the opposition delegation only wanted to talk about an unconditional transfer of power and the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ignoring the fact that Presidential election will take place in Syria this year. That the opposition demands a transfer of power and have no intention to participate in the democratic process of Presidential elections proves that they realise that if they would participate in the elections they will politically be reduced to dust.
Antwerp, February 1st 2014.