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Op-Ed: UN International Conference on Syria is a Pipe-dream

Any hope for a democratic state ever arising from the current chaos, carnage and confusion in Syria is beyond comprehension.
Published: Sunday, October 06, 2013 11:19 AM


It seems incredible that after 17 months of wrangling the best the Security Council could agree on is calling another International Conference that has no possible chance of convening -  let alone helping peacefully resolve an end to the 30 months old conflict in Syria.

Suspended in an apparent time warp - Resolution 2118 - passed on 27 September - calls for:

"the convening, as soon as possible, of an international conference on Syria to implement the Geneva Communiqué, and calls upon all Syrian parties to engage seriously and constructively at the Geneva Conference on Syria, and underscores that they should be fully representative of the Syrian people and committed to the implementation of the Geneva Communiqué and to the achievement of stability and reconciliation;

The Security Council seems to have not noticed that since the Geneva Communique was issued on 30 June 2012 - the then civil war being waged by Syrians against an autocratic Assad regime has now escalated into a far wider conflict involving foreign jihadist forces seeking to exercise power and influence in this latest episode of the Arab Spring.

Indeed  on 25 September - just two days prior to the passing of Resolution 2118 - the Washington Post had reported:"

"Nearly a dozen of Syria’s powerful rebel factions, including one linked to al-Qaeda, formally broke with the main opposition group in exile Wednesday and called for Islamic law in the country, dealing a severe blow to the Western-backed coalition.

The new alliance is a potential turning point, entrenching the schism within the rebellion and giving President Bashar Assad fuel for his long-stated contention that his regime is battling Islamic extremists in the civil war

The Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition — the political arm of the Free Syrian Army rebel group — has long been accused by those fighting inside Syria of being a puppet promoted by the West and Gulf Arab states supporting the Syrian rebellion.

Wednesday’s public rejection of the coalition’s authority will likely be extremely damaging for its future in Syria, particularly at a time when the U.S. and Russia are pushing for peace talks."

It should be blindingly obvious that this development signals that some of the forces within the so-called Free Syrian Army are breaking up with the Syrian National Coalition supported by eleven West and Arab states - known as the London Eleven - to join forces with more hard-line foreign anti-Western Islamists.

Now just a few days later - Yahoo News has ominously reported on 2 October:

"The al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of the northern border town of Azaz last month, kicking out rival rebels and prompting Turkey to shut the crossing about 5 km (3 miles) away.

ISIL, which wants to merge Syria into a larger state ruled by Islamic law, has maintained control of the town since then and clashes have periodically erupted between it and fighters of the Northern Storm brigade that they had expelled to its outskirts.

Activists said the latest fighting broke out on Tuesday night after a deadline ISIL had set for Northern Storm fighters to surrender their weapons came to an end...


Russia has obviously relished further embarrassing the London Eleven as they slowly sink in the political quicksand of their own making.
... The Syrian rebels have been undermined by infighting, partially over conflicting ideology, but more often over territory, spoils of war and control of resources and smuggling."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon showed how out of touch he is with what is happening in Syria.

In the full proces-verbal of the Security Council’s discussion after the adoption of resolution 2118  - the Secretary General:

"pressed the Council to capitalize on its new-found unity by focusing on two other equally crucial dimensions of the conflict:  the dire humanitarian situation and the political crisis.  For their parts, the Syrian sides must engage constructively towards the creation of a democratic State, while regional actors must challenge those who sought to undermine that process."

Any hope for a democratic state ever arising from the current chaos, carnage and confusion in Syria is beyond comprehension.

The idea that "regional actors" can challenge those against creating a democratic Syria - short of war - is breathtaking.

Sergey Lavrov - Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation - said:

"The resolution set up a framework for the political settlement of the conflict by backing the convening of an international conference, which he believed could take place as early as mid-November.  He also expected the Syrian opposition to state its readiness."

As Assad's prime backer - Russia has obviously relished further embarrassing the London Eleven as they slowly sink in the political quicksand of their own making.

Laurent Fabius - Minister for Foreign Affairs of France - said France:

"felt it was necessary to prepare the Geneva II conference within the framework of the Geneva Communiqué. He had chaired a meeting on Thursday with the President of the Syrian National Coalition, who confirmed a readiness to send a delegation as soon as possible.  The Syrian regime’s supporters must make a similar commitment. He urged the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy to move quickly in that direction."

Strangely, the new alliance of Syrian and foreign jihadists did not rate a mention by either Lavrov or Fabius.

They surely know this alliance would spurn any invitation to an international conference - let alone agree to the creation of a democratic State in Syria.

The Security Council is surely living in a fool's paradise of self delusion and unreality.