Geneva II, the peace talks scheduled for June and repeatedly delayed, finally have a date, and both the Assad government and opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) have agreed to take part on January 22.
After months of opposition to their involvement, reports also say that the US will not only accept Iranian involvement in the talks, but will ask them to help with reaching a ceasefire.
That’s going to be tough. While the SNC has finally joined the talks, after months of debate and a lot of Western pressure, that doesn’t mean they can negotiate on behalf of the whole rebellion.
“Opposition political delegations do not have any power or influence on the Syrian street,” noted one spokesman for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a secular rebel faction nominally aligned with the SNC. They insist the SNC wouldn’t be able to fulfill any serious pledges on a ceasefire.