Credibility at Stake as Syrian Rebels Debate Peace Talks

June Talks Mostly Opposed, But Not Participating Carries a Risk

Intense debate in ongoing in the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) over whether or not to participate in the upcoming Geneva 2 conference aimed at ending the ongoing civil war. The rebel SNC has not decided on the matter despite UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi already claiming they would attend.

It’s a difficult matter for the SNC as it tries to find a position that allows them to resist ending the war without looking like they are doing so. Leaders in the SNC debate are openly condemning the talks, and warning it would amount to “surrender” to attend without setting their usual preconditions of unconditionally ousting the current government.

At the same time, other members say that keeping their current strategy of spurning peace talks of general principle is going to cost them huge amounts of credibility with the international community, particularly with the US now supporting the talks.

Yet the SNC has limited support among the actual rebel fighters to begin with, and they might lose what support they have if they agree to end the war at a time when Islamist rebels are determined to conquer not only Syria, but the entire region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.