Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Syria Talks Are Doomed Without Iran: Excluding Bashar al-Assad's most important ally won't halt a widening proxy war

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014   No comments

The United States won a short-term diplomatic victory over Iran this week. Under intense pressure from American officials, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdrew an invitation for Iranian officials to attend the Syria peace conference.

Disinviting Tehran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s continual search for easy, risk-free solutions in Syria. As the conflict destabilizes the region, however, Washington must finally face the hard choice: Either compromise with Iran, or decisively support and arm the rebels.
The lack of an Iranian presence in Switzerland this week dooms the talks’ prospects. Whether Tehran’s actions are depraved or not, its comprehensive efforts to supply troops, munitions, and funding to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad makes the Iranian government the key foreign player in the conflict.

“Iran is the sine qua non of the solution,” said an American analyst, who closely follows Syria and spoke on condition of anonymity. “They have to feel comfortable with the outcome—if there is going to be a solution.”
...
Unless Iran is negotiated with or confronted militarily in Syria, the Geneva talks of 2014 are likely to be as insignificant as those of 1988. Yes, the Assad government is engaging in unspeakable brutality. Hard-line jihadists in the opposition are also carrying out horrific acts. But foreign powers are exacerbating this conflict by pursuing their own rivalries in the region.

All that has changed is that the hundreds dying each week are Syrians, not Afghans.



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