January 27, 2014

Updates On Syria [1.27]: A Localized Ceasefire Is Off The Table, Syria's Leading Internal Opposition Group Is Not Represented At Geneva II, Syria Makes A Fool of Itself By Releasing A Communiqué Saying It Is A "Democratic Country"

1. An excerpt from, "Brahimi saves his energy for Geneva III" by Jean Aziz, Al-Monitor, January 27, 2014:
But reaching a cease-fire will not be much easier. It seemed that the two parties have different priorities for the cease-fire for military and geographic considerations.

The opposition delegation, for example, wants to start the cease-fire in Homs, where things are clearly going in the Syrian army’s favor and a cease-fire would give oxygen to the opposition’s armed groups. The official delegation wants to start the cease-fire either in the Aleppo area or in Daraa, near the border, as a test of outside intentions about meddling in Syrian affairs and to stop the flow of support and supplies for opposition fighters. Ending the hostilities in Daraa means ending the support for fighters across the Jordanian border. The same goes for Aleppo and the Turkish border.

But more importantly, said the diplomat, Brahimi soon discovered that neither of the negotiating delegations have the technical knowledge, practical ability or authority to implement a cease-fire decision.

The diplomat concluded by saying that Brahimi will conserve his energy during the remaining Geneva II sessions and that he would seek to alter the negotiating delegations for Geneva III and beyond. In effect, he would ask the two negotiating parties to send those who know the ground and who can take concrete steps to stop the fighting and to silence the guns.
LOL @ Geneva III. What's next on the agenda, Geneva V? Geneva X? Stop this nonsense, please. This Geneva charade is a rotten joke, a bad carnival act, not a legitimate peace conference. 

2. An excerpt from, "Conflicts Forum's Weekly Comment 10 - 17 January 2014," Conflicts Forum, Published January 24, 2014:
It seems too that Geneva may have to proceed without representation from Syria’s leading internal political opposition group as well: Haytham al-Manna, a senior leader in the National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change (NCC), was quoted by Al-Mayadeen as saying that the group would not attend Geneva II. The NCC - an internal umbrella political opposition grouping made up of a number of left wing and nationalist parties – had hoped it could coordinate with the SNC to finalise a unified delegation to attend the talks. “We called on them to coordinate with us,” Ahmad al-Esrawi, a member of the NCC’s Executive Bureau, told Al-Monitor, adding that the coalition has yet to reply to the NCC request. Also, according to a senior official in the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), Ali Haidar, minister of national reconciliation and head of the SSNP, will not attend the talks due to differences with the coalition. “He (Haidar) will not be with the government delegation, definitely. As long as there’s one delegation headed by the coalition, we’re not going. Absolutely not,” said Elia Samaan. (The political opposition have from the outset largely been sidelined both by exiled opposition groups, as well as their Western and Gulf supporters, due to their complete opposition to foreign intervention and to their support for dialogue and negotiations with the Syrian government)
3. An excerpt from, "In Assad Government Communiqué, a Clue to Syria Peace Talks’ Hurdles" by Anne Barnard and Hala Droubi, The New York Times, January 27, 2014:
The opposition has demanded that the government formally confirm that it accepts the protocol, but on Monday the Syrian government made its own interpretation clear by submitting what it called “basic elements for a political communiqué.”

One of the Syrian government’s most senior delegates to the conference, Bouthaina Shaaban, a longtime presidential adviser, distributed a copy to reporters on the sidelines.
It called for an end to foreign interference and foreign supplying of weapons and information to terrorists, and says Syria’s future can be decided only by its citizens at the ballot box. The government has blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the West for supporting jihadist groups in Syria, but says foreign interference and terrorism do not apply to the intervention of Iran, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias on its side in the Syrian war.

Ms. Shaaban said that she was surprised that the opposition delegates rejected the document and that she thought Mr. Brahimi was surprised, too.
4. An excerpt from, "Coalition delegation of so-called "opposition" rejects a political communiqué containing principles submitted by official Syrian delegaiton" Syrian Arab News Agency, January 27, 2014:
Sources close to the Syrian official delegation to Geneva asserted that the delegation was and still is open to discussing all points, but it proposed these principles which no patriotic Syrian would reject in order to find common ground, yet the coalition delegation of the so-called "opposition" rejected them.

Following is the full, exact text of the communiqué:

Basic elements for a political communiqué

1-Full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and inadmissibility to give up any part of its territory. Commitment should be made in order to restore all its occupied territories.

2-Rejection of all forms of dictate and foreign interference in the Syrian internal affairs directly and indirectly so that the Syrians decide the future of their country through democratic means and the ballot box as the Syrians are the ones who have the sole right of choosing their political system without compromising on any subject unacceptable to the Syrian people.

3-The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic country on the basis of political pluralism, the rule of law and the independence of judiciary and citizenship and protecting national unity and cultural diversity of the components of the Syrian society and protecting public freedom.

4-Rejeciton of terrorism and combating it and rejecting all forms of extremism, racism, and takfiri Wahabi thinking and asking the countries to stop providing terrorist groups, supplying them with armaments, training, financing and providing them with information or financing for those and also stopping all kinds of media hatred incitement to perpetrate terrorist acts in accordance with international resolutions relevant to combating terrorism.

5-Preserving all state institutions and the country's infrastructure and public and private properties and protecting them
Syria, what are you doing? Who do you think you are fooling by labeling a regime based on family rule democratic in nature? There is no honour in crediting yourself a "democratic country" when you are not in a stupid communique for a meaningless conference that was set up to fail from the outset. There is nothing honourable about democracy. By stylizing yourself a "democratic country" you just make a total fool of yourself. Stop trying to be something you're not and defend what you are. Come on, now. Get real. Release a new political communique, and take the word democratic out. Leave everything else the same, it doesn't matter, just don't make a fool of yourself and don't treat others as if they were fools.