Negotiations on a “transition” out of the Syrian Civil War are now underway, and conspicuously absent in the talks are any Syrians whatsoever. Instead, the talks on what a new Syria will look like are entirely up to the US and Russian government’s decisions.
Russia is keen to ensure that any post-war Syria remains a close ally of theirs, and has also expressed concern that the US is simply going to use the talks as an excuse to start a war and impose their own policy at any rate.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s position is that whatever else happens, “free Syria,” which in this context means whatever government is imposed on the Syrians from abroad, can never include Bashar Assad in any form.
The talks seem to have finally sidelined even nominal Syrian involvement in the Syrian civil war, with pro-democracy protesters long since replaced by Western-backed military defectors, and now those defectors to being kept sidelined, leaving the question of the transition up to Clinton and her Russian counterpart.
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