Syrian Negotiations About Negotiations Move Forward Amid Confusion
Russia Seeking To Use Its Influence In Syria
In recent days, Russia has renewed its push for talks on the situation in Syria by holding a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Russian officials also held a telephone conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry on ways the nations could cooperate on reaching a consensus on Syria.
Russia has stated that it believes the Syrian opposition is “warming up” to talks, however Reuters is reporting that Iran maintains the Syrian National Coalition has yet to commit to participating. But it might be the Wall Street Journal that has the real truth.
Writing on the paper’s editorial page, Ahmad Jarba, president of the Syrian National Coalition, says ”
The international community says that it wants a democratic, pluralistic Syria. We share this vision, and we are working toward this goal. But until these nations apply the necessary pressure on the Assad regime and provide the support that is urgently needed, there can never be a level playing field. These Geneva II talks will test the will of those around the negotiating table.
But how can I sit at that table, facing those responsible for the relentless massacres of the Syrian people, without gaining some commitments from the regime?,” asks Jarba.
He lays out three goals that need to be set for the Coalition to participate in the discussions.
The coalition would need:
- The full enactment of the “confidence-building measures set out in the communiqué of the London 11;”
- Pressure to be applied to achieve implementation of the Geneva I meeting agreement; and
- Unity with the Supreme Military Council representing the armed opposition in Syria.
The Global Leadership Gap
Roger Cohen laments in the New York Times that the world finds itself at a juncture in history when there is a glaring lack of leadership.
“[The world] is poised between inward-looking old powers and reluctant emergent ones. The post-9/11 era is over; it has bequeathed an exhausted America. Morbid symptoms include a dysfunctional United Nations Security Council, a Syria that bleeds, an American economy squeezing its middle class and a Europe that leaves its youth jobless. But does anyone want the superpower’s mantle?,” he asks.
Cohen believes today differs from other transition points in history, such as when Britain ceded superpower status to the United States. It was, he says, a relatively seamless transition like “an affair between cousins.” But as the United States steps back, “nobody much wants the keys to the kingdom.”
“Never have the ambitions of the European Union been so circumscribed. Consumed with internal problems, particularly those of the euro, it has lost coherence. Europe, for the foreseeable future, will spend more time debating its internal architecture than defining its external objectives.”