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Warring parties from Syria surrounded by 30 nations

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A report from Foreign Policy this morning describes the setting at the Syrian peace talks in Switzerland. They describe the environment as “bitter”.

Of course it is. Assad is accused of war crimes. Syria blames the conflict on western influence led by the US arming the rebels. They forgot to mention that Russia is arming the government to wage war against civilians and rebels.

All of the parties to which the war of words is waged are at the table except Iran. Why not have Iran at the table too?

  1. Is it because having Iran at the table might fuel the environment with the propensity toward a wider conflict?
  2. Might Iran’s presence simply complicate and add to the fog of the situation?
  3. Is it because Iran doesn’t deserve to be at the table?
  4. Who are the other undeserving parties at the table?
  5. Russia and China are proxies for Syria and Iran, right?

Secretary Kerry said this will be a long process. Correct, it will be. What do the parties think about U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as peacemaker? It seems that he is surely trying to be an even-handed mediator.

If he pulls off a peace agreement, he might be on the cover of Time magazine or a candidate for the Nobel prize.

“Syria Peace Conference Opens With Bitter Remarks

A long-planned peace conference opened Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland with the Syrian government and opposition meeting face to face for the first time since fighting began in March 2011. In his opening remarks, opposition leader Ahmed Jarba accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of war crimes, bringing up new evidence of torture investigated by three war crimes prosecutors, and demanded the government delegation agree to the "Geneva I" transition of power. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem accused the West of "pouring arms" into Syria and backing terrorism. He addressed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Assad had lost legitimacy and that there could be no place for him in a transitional government, asserting, "No one, Mr. Kerry, has the right to withdraw legitimacy of the [Syrian] president other than the Syrians themselves." U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appealed to the warring parties to seize the opportunity to resolve their conflict. The conference began with more than 30 international governments, but is expected to be followed by mediated talks between government and opposition representatives at the end of the week. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose invite to the conference was withdrawn on Monday, said the peace talks were unlikely to succeed due to the lack of influential players at the meeting. Russian and U.S. officials noted the talks would be complicated and the process would not be quick, though according to a senior U.S. administration official, "the opening of the process is important." Meanwhile, clashes were reported in several areas of Syria on Wednesday including the suburbs of Damascus, Daraa, Idlib, and Homs. Additionally, a government airstrike killed 10 people in the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights."

http://mideastafrica.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/01/22/syria_peace_conference_opens_with_bitter_remarks

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