After more than 23 months of bloodshed and chaos in Syria, neither the government nor the opposition has been able to bring an end to the conflict and the two sides have no option other than sitting down at the negotiating table.
The fragmented and disappointed Syrian opposition called for the start of talks with the government after their Western and Arab supporters decided against military intervention.
United Nations-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is trying to get the green light from the major powers to hammer out a deal between the Syrian government and the opposition to end the violence. The United States and its European and Arab allies are gradually accepting the realities on the ground and are reducing their support for the Syrian rebels. This has compelled the opposition to begin seeking a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the government.
However, reaching a deal with the Syrian government will require more coordination between the opposition groups, but they still cannot even reach an agreement on how to engage in talks with Assad. This disunity will give the government the upper hand in the talks, and Assad will be able to achieve his desired results during the negotiations.
The recent clashes on the Syria-Lebanon border raised concerns about the possibility of violence spilling over from Syria into neighboring countries.
And the anti-Assad front in the region, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, has used everything at its disposal to destabilize Syria.
The recent clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon between Alawites and extremist anti-Assad groups were in fact a last-ditch effort to export more unrest to Syria. However, the Lebanese military acted swiftly and brought the situation under control.
This showed the utter futility of the plans to oust Assad through military intervention, and the opposition and their foreign supporters have now accepted the fact that negotiation is the only way out of the crisis in Syria.
Seyyed Morteza Nematzadeh is an expert on the Middle East who formerly served as Iran’s cultural attaché in Syria.
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