After more than 23 months of violence and bloodshed in Syria, the opposition has become disappointed and thus has called for the start of talks with the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Neither the opposition nor the government has been able to bring an end to the nearly two-year conflict, and negotiation seems to be the last option left for resolving the crisis.
From the very beginning of the crisis in Syria, the opposition leaders were opposed to any form of negotiation with the government and their only objective was to topple Assad. However, they gradually became discouraged about their ability to oust the president, and they seem to have accepted the reality on the ground. Opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib’s recent call for talks with the government clearly reflects the general desire for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Syria. Al-Khatib’s recent meetings with the Iranian and Russian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference paved the way for the start of talks.
Arab governments seem to have had almost no influence in al-Khatib’s recent decision. In fact, most Arab leaders always obey the policies adopted by Western governments, especially in the case of Syria, where they have blindly supported the West’s militarization plan since the beginning of the conflict. After spending billions of dollars to support Syrian rebels, Arab governments’ efforts to oust the Assad government went to naught, and now they must silently accept the U.S. decision to engage in talks.
The recent proposal to the UN Security Council made by United Nations-Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, which Russia tentatively endorsed, was another blow to the Western-Arab front’s efforts to interfere in Syria. The growing inclination at the UN to support a political solution to the Syrian crisis will certainly play a major role in the efforts to establish peace in Syria.
Hossein Ruivaran is a Middle East expert based in Tehran.
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