Syria Peace Talks Are Doomed For The Foreseeable Future

SyriaAP Photo/Narciso ContrerasIn this Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 photo, a Syrian opposition fighter rests inside a cave at a rebel camp in the Idlib Provence countryside, Syria.

This week President Barack Obama
toldthe UN General Assembly that
military action cannot end the Syrian war and advocated the need for a political settlement.
But a deal needs two sides.

And the Western idea of how peace would play out is unravelling after the largest Islamist brigades in Syria rejected the Western-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) and the opposition’s planned exile government.

From The New York Times:

“At this stage, the political opposition does not have the credibility with or the leverage over the armed groups on the ground to enforce an agreement that the armed groups reject,” said Noah Bonsey, who studies the Syrian opposition for the International Crisis Group.

“You need two parties for an agreement, and there is no viable political alternative to the coalition,” he said, defining a disconnect between the diplomatic efforts taking shaping in New York and the reality across Syria.

The most powerful forces on the ground (including Syria’s government) don’t recognise the opposition government-in-exile. America and its allies say any peace process must involve that government.

As it stands, the process can’t even start (much less decide the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad).

Basically, a political settlement is a pipe dream at this point — much like the unprecedented task of securing and destroying a massive chemical weapons stockpile in an active warzone within a year.

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