Opposition coalition in Syria may not be part of talks
Two weeks ahead of an international peace conference on Syria, the country's main Western-backed opposition group stands on the brink of collapse, dragged down by outside pressures, infighting and deep disagreements over the basic question of whether to talk to President Bashar Assad.
The crisis in the Syrian National Coalition raises further doubts about the so-called Geneva conference, which is set to open on Jan. 22 in Montreux, Switzerland. The prospects for a successful outcome from the talks appear bleak at best: Assad has said he will not hand over power, and the opposition — if it decides to attend — is in no position to force concessions from him.
The United States and Russia, which support opposing sides in the conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people, have sought for months to bring the Syrian government and its opponents to the table for negotiations aimed at ending the war. But with the fighting deadlocked, neither the government nor the rebels showed any interest in compromise, forcing the meeting to be repeatedly postponed.
Now that a date has been set and invitations sent, the decision on whether to attend is placing immense strain on the Coalition.
“Geneva is proving to be a road to ruin for the so-called moderate opposition, both the political and military aspects,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center.
The competing factions that make up the Coalition are under intense international pressure to attend, Shaikh said, all the while knowing that “if they do, they may very well be entering into a very ill-defined and ill-prepared conference that may not produce anything that they can show to their brethren inside Syria, and further diminish their credibility.”
The issue of credibility has haunted the Coalition since its creation just over a year ago. The umbrella group was forged under international pressure for a stronger, more united body to serve as a counterweight to the extremist forces fighting the Assad government.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov shot dead
- Terrorists murder American blogger
- Kurds rout ISIS from key town in Syria
- Teacher turned notorious drug lord Gomez finally nabbed in Mexico
- South Korea to tighten gun regulations as man kills 3, self
- Fighting eases in eastern Ukraine
- Britain’s PM fends off scrutiny that security services dropped ball
- Snowed-in Afghans desperate in killer winter
- Cubans want off U.S. terror list
- Fire empties Dubai residential tower
- India’s air pollution costs 3.2 years of life, study finds