Speaking at a press conference today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned against allowing the Annan peace talk negotiations to go on too long, saying that there had to be a “deadline” for Assad to start the talks.
This is in spite of the fact that Assad already agreed to the talks but doesn’t have anyone to talk to, since most of the rebels have rejected the idea of a negotiated settlement on general principle.
And indeed, Clinton’s comments suggest that this is the official US position as well, saying that the Syrian President “must go” no matter what, terming the peace talk effort part of a “multi-pronged” approach to regime change.
This is similar to the US strategy in Iran recently, in which officials openly say talks with Iran are designed primarily to fail, which in turn “justifies” more sanctions. Whether officials are successful in spinning Assad’s agreeing to talks and the rebels not as a fault of the regime remains to be seen.