Rebels from the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) today met with backers in London, the latest in a long line of meetings that have mostly focused on promising funding to the opposition factions, but this time appears aimed at convincing someone of at least a little credibility to attend the Geneva 2 peace conference.
That’s looking increasingly unlikely, as several factions in the SNC have ruled out involvement, and one of the bigger factions has even threatened to withdraw its backing if anyone else attends. So far no rebel faction has agreed to attend.
That’s a big problem with the talks tentatively set for November 23, though US and Russian officials have insisted the date isn’t finalized, and Syrian President Bashar Assad echoed those comments today, saying he doesn’t hold out much hope for the talks.
Assad’s comments were immediately spun as harming the peace process, but seem entirely accurate, as even if the US does manage to get a rebel faction or two on board, al-Qaeda and others clearly won’t be, and thus anyone who does attend won’t credibly be able to offer to end the fighting.
The US and Russia have admitted as much repeatedly, and the Obama Administration seems more focused on arguing that Iran shouldn’t be involved than in getting people involved who might be able to stop the fighting.