West sees toppling Assad more important than ending bloodshed in Syria

It’s still unclear whether the Geneva-2 conference, due to settle the Syrian conflict, will be held or not. Neither Iran, nor the Syrian opposition has confirmed that they will take part. The Syrian opposition still has preconditions and has said it will not decide on their participation until January 17th.

The Geneva-2 international conference on Syria has been scheduled for January 22nd . But the list of attendees has not yet been agreed. The Syrian opposition will not hear of sitting down at the negotiating table with Iran. But the presence of all parties involved in the conflict is a key condition for holding the conference. No important decisions can be made in Iran’ absence, says the director general of the Centre for the Study of Modern Iran, Rajab Safarov, and elaborates.

“It’s pointless to hold a conference with no Iranian delegation attending, Rajab Safarov says. Actually, the Middle East problem has not been settled to this day precisely due to the non-participation of such an important regional player as Iran. So, if Iran does not attend the forthcoming Geneva conference, any decisions the other conferees may make will prove ineffective.”

Meanwhile, Syria remains the scene of bloody battles. The situation is made worse by a split within the opposition. The radical foreign Islamists fighting in Syria are now opposed both to the government troops and the Free Syrian Army. So, a ban on interference in Syria’s internal affairs by third parties would prove instrumental in settling the conflict, points out the Director of the Centre for Public and Political Studies, Vladimir Yevseev, and elaborates.

“Before starting talks with that largely shattered opposition in Geneva, all countries involved in the Syrian conflict to a greater or lesser extent should meet under the UN aegis to adopt a resolution that would recognize any interference in Syria’s internal affairs as an international crime. This could be followed by a peacekeeping operation to seal the borders that foreign mercenaries have been crossing to get into Syria from neighbouring states. The second stage of the operation would focus on disarming foreign militants.”

The violence in Syria shows no signs of subsiding because the top priority of the enemies of the current Syrian regime, both in Syria and elsewhere, is an overthrow of Bashar al-Assad, rather than an end to fighting. But that position proves increasingly untenable at a time when Russia’s role in settling the conflict situation is growing, says Senior Fellow, an expert on Iran with the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, Vladimir Sazhin, and elaborates.

“We should now consolidate the trend towards preserving the situation for further moves to ensure peace, rather than towards preserving al-Assad as an individual. Given Russia’s major influence on the Damascus regime, as well as on many interested parties around Syria, Russia’s role will keep growing, and this will be borne out by the Geneva-2 conference and the subsequent events.”

Experts are agreed that the very fact that many countries have accepted the idea of calling this kind of conference and admitted that the Syrian crisis can only have a negotiated settlement, with no use of military force, is quite a breakthrough. Geneva-2 has already become an important symbol irrespective of whether it is actually held or not. Even if the Syrian conflict is settled militarily, which experts do not rule out at all, this will call for international recognition. Agreement should therefore be reached both inside Syria and among the countries that are currently engaged, in one way or another, in the efforts to resolve that conflict.

By The Voice Of Russia


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