UN Invites Rebels to Syria Talks, But Will Anyone Come?

Rebels Head to Saudi Arabia to Discuss Situation

The UN has announced that Tuesday it sent invitations to rebels to attend Syria peace talks in Geneva. The UN has not indicated who they invited, though it has been confirmed that the Syrian Kurds were not invited at all.

It’s also not clear if any of the groups that actually were invited intend to participate, with the factions believed to dominate the invite list heading to Riyadh to discuss the invitation, and early signs suggesting many are leading toward refusing to attend.

France appears supportive of the rebels invited, who appear to be the same ones involved in recent Riyadh meetings to organize a rebel negotiating team. Those rebels, however, are accusing the US of backing Iran and Russia at their expense.

Even before they were invited, the Riyadh rebel leadership was issuing myriad demands as conditions for participating in the talks at all, including a demand that Russia end all military involvement in the civil war.

This was a long-standing problem with the planned Geneva talks, which were supposed to begin Monday, as no one was really on board with attending. The UN even made a point of putting invitations “on hold” to try to stop the flow of preemptive refusals, and now that the invitations finally happened, it’s not clear anything changed.

The Riyadh rebels say they will make a decision sometime Wednesday on their participation in the talks, though some of their leaders are still demanding “goodwill gestures” before they’ll attend, and the likelihood of them showing up at all seems no better now it ever was.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.