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Syrian Peace Talks: DOA

by Stephen Lendman Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM


Syria Peace Talks: DOA

by Stephen Lendman

An article was written yesterday for today. It was titled Iran Invited to Syria Peace Talks.

No longer. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdrew his invitation. He did so disgracefully.

He's a reliable imperial tool. Credibility isn't his long suit. Nor observing international law. He violates his own Charter. He bows to Washington's will. He salutes and obeys as ordered.

He supports US imperial wars. He doesn't give a damn about peace, security and stability. His agenda is polar opposite what he swore to uphold.

He's complicit in US war crimes. He's beholden to wealth, power and privilege. His record reflects failure, betrayal, and lawlessness.

He mocks UN Charter principles. He consistently supports wrong over right. He's silent about the worst of Western and Israeli crimes. He blames victims for what harms them.

He defends the indefensible. He lies for power. He claims Western wars of aggression are liberating ones. He blames Assad for Washington's war on Syria.

His deplorable record earned him two terms as Secretary-General. He shares blame for horrific harm to billions.

He did the unthinkable. His action was unprecedented. He disinvited Iran from Syrian peace talks. He did it a day after inviting its representatives to attend.

His excuses don't wash. He bowed to Washington's will. Iran is a key regional player. Why do rogue states like Saudi Arabia deserve invitations?

Why Australia, Korea, Indonesia, and over 30 other nations? But not Iran! Who gave Washington decision-making power?

Who let Saudi Arabia decide? Who let US proxy fighters? They're convenient stooges. They have no legitimacy whatever. They want war, not peace.

So does Washington. Geneva talks aren't about peace. Obama demands regime change. Conflict resolution is impossible as long Assad remains president.

He won't step down as long as Syrians want him retained. They do so overwhelmingly.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed outrage. He called Iran's exclusion "profane." More on what he said below.

On January 19, Ban invited Iran to participate. He issued a statement saying:

Iranian "Foreign Minister Zarif and I agreed that the goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional governing body with a full executive powers."

"It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux."

"Therefore as convener and host of the conference I have decided to issue an invitation to Iran to participate. Iran needs to participate as one of the important neighboring countries."

A State Department statement said:

"The United States views the UN Secretary General's invitation to Iran to attend the upcoming Geneva conference as conditioned on Iran's explicit and public support for the full implementation of the Geneva communique including the establishment of a transitional governing body by mutual consent with full executive authorities."

"This is something Iran has never done publicly and something we have long made clear is required."

"We also remain deeply concerned about Iran's contributions to the Assad regime's brutal campaign against its own people, which has contributed to the growth of extremism and instability in the region."

"If Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communique, the invitation must be rescinded."

On January, Ban disinvited Iran. His spokesman Martin Nesirky said:

"The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with" so-called preconditions.

They stipulate transitional governance excluding Assad. They demand regime change. They demand what Syrians reject.

Ban "continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva Communique," Nesirky added.

"Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran's participation."

Fact check

No global consensus exists. Washington, other Western countries, Israel, and rogue regional allies want regime change.

Russia, China, Iran and numerous other nations want Syrian sovereignty respected. Demanding Assad must go violates it.

Syrians alone must decide their future. International law prohibits outside interference. Washington rules make peace impossible. Talks are DOA.

Nesirky lied saying Ban wants to ensure that "all those who can contribute to the success of a Syrian peace process be present in Montreux to express their solidarity and support for the Syrian people."

"Throughout the conflict, (he) has sought to do everything within his power for a political solution, which is the only path forward." He supports "a new Syria."

He supports imperial lawlessness. He supports conflict without end. He rejects Syrian sovereignty. He wants Syrians having no say in determining their future.

He's beholden to Washington. He's a reliable imperial tool. He was chosen for that purpose. He hasn't disappointed.

John Kerry is no honest broker. He represents the worst of imperial lawlessness. He's militantly pro-war.

He's complicit in major crimes of war and against humanity. He's contemptuous of rule of law principles. He's a serial liar.

He wrongfully accused Assad numerous times of insurgents' crimes. He's an unabashed bully. He matches the worst of his predecessor.

He disgracefully accused Iran of being "a major actor with respect to adverse consequences in Syria. No other nation has its people on the ground fighting in the way that they are," he claimed.

Syria is Obama's war. He launched it. He and complicit administration officials bear full responsibility. They're partners in high crimes too grave to be ignored.

Blaming victims doesn't wash. Kerry is a duplicitous liar. He's a war criminal. Syria and Iran know what they're up against.

They know conflict resolution is impossible as long as America remains hostile. Nothing suggests a major US policy shift from Geneva.

Business as usual continues. Peace is as distant as ever. Expect Geneva II to fail like Geneva I. Perhaps direct US intervention will follow.

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran would only participate with no preconditions. "(W)e will not participate if preconditions for participation are put forward against us," he stressed.

On Saturday, Zarif said Syrians alone should decide their future. Outside interference must be excluded.

He returned from visits to Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Russia.

"The talks which were held during my visit to a number countries concentrated on the necessity for halting violence in Syria and reaching a solution as there was a consensus on the importance of confronting terrorism and extremists," he said.

"The viewpoints of all states...were identical," he added. The first order of business is implementing a ceasefire.

Doing so is impossible. At the same time, no political solution can be achieved without one. Upcoming talks are between a rock and a hard place.

On Monday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian confirmed Iran's invitation.

He stopped short of issuing a formal reply. He stressed Iran's participation depends on doing so "without any preconditions." Participants must accept a "realistic view," he stressed.

They must "remember that their decisions should not lead to the strengthening of extremist movements in Syria."

"The forum can provide a political solution providing the people of Syria can decide the future of their a democratic (way) that will be manifested in their votes."

Less than two days after agreeing to participate, Syrian National Council spokesman Louay Safi said:

"The (opposition) Syrian Coalition announces that they will withdraw their attendance in Geneva II unless Ban Ki-moon retracts Iran's invitation."

SNC member Anas al-Abdah criticized Ban's invitation saying: "It is illogical and we cannot in any way accept it."

Senior SNC member Ahmad Ramadan said the Coalition is "suspending" its participation because Iran is "invading" Syria.

"If the situation does not change, the Coalition will not" participate.

The Islamic Front represents seven anti-Assad groups. It's separate from SNC. Abu Omar is a senior IF member.

He said Syria's future would be "formulated here on the ground of heroism, and signed with blood on the front lines, not in hollow conferences attended by those who don't even represent themselves."

Other extremist elements want no part of peace talks. Chances for success are zero!

On January 21, SNC chief of staff Monzer Akbik said:

"We appreciate...Ban Ki-moon's understanding of our position. We think (he made) the right decision. Our participation is confirmed for 22 January."

The Syrian Free Press Network (SFPN) calls SNC members "losers." Internal disagreement defines them. They can't decide if they want a military or political solution.

"The answer you get depends on who is sitting with whom at which time," said SFPN. Many SNC members "are not even Syrians." They live abroad. They're convenient stooges.

They're beholden to America and other Western states. They were "bought with Saudi cash." They're self-serving.

They don't care about ordinary Syrians. They're "cowards and traitors." They have "no moral compass."

They "take Saudi money," supply fighters, "pump out as much faked propaganda as possible while calling themselves representatives of Syrians."

They won't compete against Assad in elections. They haven't got a chance to win. They'd lose overwhelmingly. Most Syrians want no part of them.

Assad remains heavily favored to be reelected. The longer conflict persists, the better his chances. Presidential elections are scheduled for mid-2014.

If Syrians want Assad to run, he'll do so, he said. Victory is virtually assured. Why else would Washington want him removed by other means?

A military solution hasn't worked. US proxies can't match superior Syrian forces. Earlier diplomatic efforts failed. It's unsurprising.

Washington insists Assad must go. It wants Syrians excluded from deciding. Geneva I failed. Will Geneva II be different?

It takes a giant leap of faith to think so. It bears repeating. Chances for success are very slim. They're impossible as long as Washington demands Assad must go.

London's Guardian said outside the Western-backed Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), few opposition supporters think "progress is possible."

A prominent ex pat Homs businessman was quoted saying:

"I think Geneva is dead in the water. Short of last minute guarantees from the Americans, how can it work. It's heading for a fiasco."

It's certain insisting Assad must go. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague regurgitated John Kerry's demand saying: "Any mutually agreed settlement means Assad can play no role in Syria's future."

Britain is a reliable US imperial partner. France marches in lockstep. So do other key NATO members. They don't want peace in Syria.

They want unconditional surrender. They want their will imposed unilaterally. They want pro-Western stooge governance replacing Assad.

They want an Israeli rival removed. They want Iran isolated. They want ordinary Syrians exploited. They want Syria resembling Iraq or Libya.

They want what Syrians reject. They're fighting to remain free. They want no part of US imposed diktats. They want sole right to determine their future. They want what international law stipulates.

On January 22, Montreux, Switzerland will host talks for a day. About 40 countries will participate.

Geneva will host subsequent discussions. They're open-ended. They could last days or longer. Syria and opposition elements alone will participate.

Extremist elements comprising the majority of opposition forces aren't attending. They want war, not peace. They'll ignore whatever provisions a final Geneva communique includes.

Days or longer may pass before it's prepared. Geneva I failed. Expect nothing different this time. Conflict resolution is as distant as ever.

A Final Comment

On January 20, Assad addressed the ongoing conflict. He had plenty to say. He said Geneva II will fail if Syrians reject it.

Talks should prioritize ending terrorism, he stressed. "Any political solution that is reached without fighting terrorism has no value."

International law must be respected. So must Syrian sovereignty. Geneva can't substitute for a "Syrian (conflict resolution) process."

Syrians alone should decide who'll lead them. They alone should determine their future. Ongoing conflict affects the entire region, Assad stressed.

If Syria falls like Iraq and Libya, expect "chaos throughout the Middle East." Expect more than already. Expect war without end.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem heads Syria's Geneva delegation. Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi is deputy head. So is Assad political/media advisor Bouthaina Shaaban.

Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari will participate. So will Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad and four other Syrian officials.

On January 21, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called terrorism Syria's greatest threat.

"A major problem, which has been aggravated during the Syrian crisis, is a surge in extremism and terrorism," he said.

"Most serious politicians admit that operations of terrorist groups related to al-Qaeda present the main threat to Syria..."

"(N)eutraliz(ing) (them) should become a priority of the Geneva-2 conference."

Russia will promote "dialogue between the Syrian sides without preconditions."

"Only Syrians themselves can determine the structure of the country's future."

"The attempts of external forces to engage in social engineering and to dictate the recipes of political structure to other nations are counterproductive."

They're destructive. They're illegal. They can't be tolerated. They won't "lead to stable peace and national accord."

"The interests of the cause essentially require the representation of Iran, like all the other countries of the region."

Rescinding Iran's invitation is "an unforgiveable mistake." Lavrov hopes it's "no catastrophe."

Syrians alone must determine their future, he stressed. Iranian UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee doubts Geneva II will end conflict.

"I'm not very optimistic that (it) might solve anything in Syria," he said. Indeed not. Washington rules assure zero chance!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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