Shamus Cooke: Who Killed the Syrian Peace Talks?
The rebels have been defeated. Is the War Over? The long awaited Syrian peace talks, instigated by power brokers Russia and the United States, had already passed their initial due date, and are now officially stillborn. The peace talks are dead, because the US backed rebels are boycotting the negotiations, ruining any hope for peace, while threatening to turn an already tragic disaster into a Yugoslavia style catastrophe, or worse. The US backed rebels are not participating in the talks, because they have nothing to gain from them, and everything to lose. In war, the purpose of peace negotiations is to copy the situation on the battlefield and paste it to a treaty. The army winning the war enters negotiations from a dominant position, since its position is enforceable on the ground. The US backed rebels would be entering peace talks broken and beaten, having been debilitated on the battlefield. The Syrian army has had a string of victories, pushing the rebels back to the border areas, where they are protected by US allies Turkey, Jordan, and northern Lebanon. Peace talks would merely expose this reality and end the war on terms dictated by the Syrian government. A rebel leader was quoted in The New York Times, revealing this motive for the rebel's abandonment of peace talks: What can we rebels ask for when we go very weak to Geneva for peace talks? The Russians and the Iranians and the representatives of the Syrian regime will say: You don't have any power. We are controlling everything. What are you coming to ask for? This is the reality as it exists in Syria, and realistic peace talks would recognize the situation in Syria, and end the conflict immediately. But first the rebel's supporters, the United States and its lackeys Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar must acknowledge this reality, and demand that the rebels forge ahead with peace talks, on threat of being cut off politically, financially, and militarily. If this happens, the war is over. But if the war ended tomorrow, Syrian President Bashar Assad, would still be in power, and President Obama has said repeatedly, Assad must go. Obama would be further humiliated by his Syria policy, if he had to again recognize Assad as president after spending a year recognizing a group of rich Syrian exiles as the legitimate government of Syria, and after his administration repeatedly announced that the Assad regime had ended over a year ago. More importantly, if Assad stayed in power, US foreign policy would appear weak internationally, which is one main reason that the US political establishment wants to go all in for regime change in Syria: Super powers must back up their threats, since otherwise other nations might choose to challenge the United States.