Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Where the anti-Assad coalition went wrong

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013   No comments

We don’t know what will come out of Geneva II, the US and Russian backed conference for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. But it is forcing rhetorical and diplomatic conversions upon those taking the road to Damascus.

In mid-May the Arab League made a surprising declaration. Two months after handing Syria’s seat at Doha to the opposition, League Chief Nabil el-‘Arabi explained that Syria’s seat was in fact vacant, that the opposition was in Doha at the invitation of Qatar, and that having failed to form a government, it was barred from attending League meetings.

Then Turkey. Erdogan’s fiery anti-Assad rhetoric, even accusing the Syrian regime of the Reyhanli attacks, gave way to reports rebels were arrested with Sarin gas in Turkey. In a country ranked low on press freedom, the absence of neither government confirmation nor refutation speaks volumes. Before the sarin story broke, the usually tight-lipped FM Davutoglu treated journalists to a session of bizarre intimate confessions on how he formed his judgement on Syria and Assad, as if he were coming to terms with the past, before the next leap of faith.

In Arabia, there was no soul searching. Patrons of the now discredited Syrian National Coalition turned. Qatar, smarting from its failure to engineer and broadcast Assad’s fall over its very own private TV channel, ceded its place to Saudi Arabia. The change of guard was reflected in the changing composition of the SNC, not easy as the SNC agrees only on one thing: wrestling power from Assad, and nothing else.


Isr Ed

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