Growing Disputes, Rebel Opposition Mean Syria Peace Talks Almost Certainly Delayed

Divide Between US, Russia Another Obstacle to Talks

Anyone who’s been paying even a little attention to the efforts to launch a Geneva II peace conference for Syria has known this for awhile, but Western officials are just finally admitting today that the speculative November 23 date will almost certainly not happen, and the talks are indefinitely delayed.

The big issue is that none of the rebels have agreed to show up at the talks, with a top Islamist umbrella organization of rebels threatening treason charges against anyone who does attend.

The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) the self-proclaimed head of the rebellion, actually has almost no fighters supporting it anymore, but they offered a last minute deal to attend, on condition that the whole purpose of the meeting would be to install them as the “transitional government.”

Since the US doesn’t see any other way to get the rebels to the talks, and the SNC is the only rebel faction that really likes them anymore, the proposal was fine with the US, but since it wouldn’t actually end the fighting (but would rather turn the growing war between al-Qaeda is the Free Syrian Army into the “main” war), Russia rejected it, suggesting a growing split there, and one more reason to be pessimistic about the talks ever happening at all.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.