The Geneva II conference aimed at some diplomatic resolution to Syria’s ongoing civil war never came, but US and Russian officials met today in the Swiss city to discuss the prospect of reviving the effort, after weeks of acrimony and US threats seem to be giving way to a more conciliatory attitude.
The conference was always intended to include rebel and government factions, with an eye on negotiating some sort of mutually agreeable political transition to end the war. It was formally endorsed by Russia and the US, and President Assad had agreed to take part.
While a sudden lack of US threats could give the process a new shot in the arm, it likely faces the exact same problem which kept the June conference from ever happening, and has kept it on the shelf to this day: lack of rebel participation.
The rebels were never very keen on the idea of negotiating, and aren’t thrilled with a chemical weapons disarmament deal that is bringing the world closer to settling the dispute and farther from invading Syria to install them as the new regime.
Within the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main pro-US rebel faction, debate about participating in the conference carried on interminably without a resolution, and it’s still not clear if they’d send anyone to the talks. Al-Qaeda, the other major player in the rebellion, is unlikely to even be invited.