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Moscow Syria Talks 2015: Government Perspectives

Government attitudes towards the Russian Syria talks initiative
Moscow Syria Talks 2015: Government Perspectives

Russia: tired and bored, looking for a way to break the ice in order to protect its political investment in the regime. The Kremlin's impatience with the Assad regime is only compounded by the prospect of an imposed-buffer zone and further military escalation that Russia cannot face if there is no serious political process in its hand.


Iran: dissatisfied with the Russian move, fearing a change of its perspective to a final political solution in Syria. Iran's vision of a political solution is based on the containment of the opposition without a comprehensive restructuring of the Assad regime.


Turkey: convinced the Russian initiative will inevitably fail, while optimistic for a change of military balance on the ground.


America: the United States has not green-lit the Russian initiative as rumored. It seems clear that Washington's participation was not requested for diplomatic talks with the opposition, while Bogdanov's tour did not include or mention Washington. Probably, the US observes cautiously, and will not interfere as long as a move towards a power-sharing proposal can be seen to benifit the interests of the opposition.


The Syrian opposition: those outside the Coalition believe if Russia succeeds in hosting talks it will break the back of the Coalition without making it an enemy, as there is a quiet dialogue with its symbols, openning the door for a change in Syria without the institutional collapse of the state. If Russia fails, it may reflect negatively on Moscow-Damascus relations, prompting the Kremlin to loose enthusiasm in Damascus in the near future. The new Russian ambassador in Damascus will also relieve the political scars of previous diplomatic failures since the outbreak of the crisis.


France: there are whispers of "reconsidering"  the position of the Coalition, but what this means is not entirely clear. It either means reconsidering new ways to support and improve the Coalition, or reconsidering overall support, gradually. No one knows. Regarding France, each guest listens only to what suits them politically. 


The regime: knows that there is an inevitable political price to the Moscow move, but hopes to rationalize demands on opposition figures entering the Syrian state as it continues its fight against terrorism, thus weakening the Coalition. The general strategy continues to rely on holding a military position, buying time until a politically-impotent and unpopular opposition is included in a future democratic process. 


Here, you cannot blame any particular political strategy, as each party is fighting their own major battle, and by no means a normal one.


Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer

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