Efforts to spin pro-Western rebels as serious about the Geneva 2 peace conference continue, with Secretary of State John Kerry claimed they simply “have to make up their mind” and that he remains confident the talks will happen in November.
But the reality of the situation is exactly the same as it was in June, when Geneva 2 was initially announced. The pro-West Syrian National Coalition is facing major internal opposition to attending, and most of the other factions have ruled out any involvement in talks that include the Assad government.
In some cases this is being presented as a precondition for the Syrian government to unilaterally surrender before the rebels will attend the talks, and then the talks would only be about cobbling together a new rebel “interim government.”
And that’s only among the rebels who have even been asked to attend, as the majority of the rebels are al-Qaeda affiliated, and there’s been no talk of them being involved in the talks at all, meaning there’s no real chance that Geneva 2 could end the fighting.
The Geneva organizers, and the US in particular have spent most of their time bickering over who should be allowed to attend, with the US trying its best to keep Iran from being allowed at the talks. All of this is entirely academic, however, since the actual combatants on the ground aren’t going to be represented anyhow.