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Where is the US on the Geneva Talks?

The two warring Syrian sides do not have the power to reject or obstruct any peace deal and the position of the new US administration on Syria will determine whether the Geneva talks will be successful
Where is the US on the Geneva Talks?

The new talks in Geneva began without signs of its success in reaching any solution to stop the slaughter in Syria. The Geneva meetings did not begin in the first place to reach a political solution to end the Syrian tragedy but rather to justify its continuation. The negotiations suggest that the international community is trying to find a solution but the complexity of the Syrian issue and the deep rift between the opposing sides makes it difficult to reach one.

But is the Syrian issue really so complicated? And does the rift exist between the Syrian parties or between the backers of these parties, who have become the real decision-makers regarding the Syrian issue as the two Syrian sides have yielded entirely to their backers and creditors for their continued existence?

The observer of the peaceful uprising of the Syrian people may notice that the solution was not complicated and that issue was not so tangled before the regime and the enemies of democracy in the region succeeded in transforming it into a sectarian and religious civil war. The regime and its backers wanted a war because it was the only means possible to prevent Assad's downfall, thereby transforming him from a war criminal who should be put on trial to a party in a terrible war between various war criminals and takfiris who are no less bloodthirsty and criminal. The observer may also notice that this process was completed within the sight and hearing of the international community.

This transformation in the path of the Syrian revolution was not only desired by the regime and its backers. Rather, it also served all the ruling regimes who feared the expansion of democracy in the region and who supported this transformation as well as to make Damascus the last station on the train of the Arab Spring which set off in Tunisia. In this way, the tragedy of the Syrian people will be prolonged and made a very negative example of for other people who rebel against their rulers.

Does the prevailing gap between what the regime representatives have proposed at the first rounds of Geneva talks and what is proposed by the opposition representatives really represent a division between Syrians? Meaning, if the guardians on both sides reached a deal to stop the Syrian war, regardless of the terms of this deal, do either of the two negotiating delegations have the ability to reject or obstruct it?

The regime does not have the ability to reject any deal agreed by Moscow and Tehran because they are, simply put, able to end the rule of the Assad family within hours if it tries to rebel against their orders. Assad's survival in power has become contingent upon the continuation of Russian aerial firepower and the continuation of the influx of Iran’s militia fighters and their finances to protect it. At the same time, the opposition political and military institutions do not have any power to reject a deal agreed by Turkey (the Turkish-Russian deals, for instance) and the Gulf countries backing them, because the survival of these institutions and their continuing ability to form negotiating delegations is linked entirely to the financial and logistical support offered by its backers. Neither party is self-sufficient and does not enjoy enough popular support to be independent in their decision-making.

But why have the competing powers in Syria not reached a deal to stop the bloodshed? Will the Geneva talks succeed someday in stopping this bloodshed and reaching a political solution, returning to Syria its unity and its ability to carry on, removed from tyranny and chaos and takfiri organizations?

The possibility of reaching a solution in Syria or not depends on the answer which de Mistura was searching for when he told attendees in Munich: Where are the United States on the Geneva talks? And answered: I can’t tell you, because I don’t know.

When we know the answer to this question, we will know if the Geneva haggling will turn to talks that produce a solution, or will remain simply haggling, as they have for the past four years.

The Obama administration did not give a response to this question over the past four years — will the Trump administration do so now?

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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