The troubled path to Geneva

Neither the regime nor the opposition are enthusiastic about the upcoming peace conference dubbed Geneva II – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Bassel Oudat in Damascus, Oct 23, 2013.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria, is shuttling across the region to get everyone prepared for Geneva II — a gathering intended to end Syria’s civil war. The international envoy started his visit in Cairo and is expected to visit Damascus, Tehran, Riyadh and Ankara before his regional tour is over … //

… Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Zoheir Salem told the Weekly that the future of Syria should be decided by all Syrians — except “the gang of murderers… with its army and security backers”.

The opposition, it has to be mentioned, was caught off-guard by the recent US-Russian agreement to remove chemical weapons from the regime’s control in return for Washington calling off a possible military strike on Al-Assad’s regime. The opposition, having pinned its hopes on international intervention, now feels betrayed by that deal.

But some opposition members are willing to see a glimmer of hope in current developments.

UN Security Council Resolution 2118 on Syria’s chemical weapons refrained from condemning the regime. But — as some opposition members pointed out — it called for the punishment of those responsible for the use of such weapons, a clause that may

Also, the UN Security Council embraced the Geneva I final communiqué, which envisions a framework for a solution involving a transitional government with full powers, one that may contain members of the current regime and the opposition.

As for the regime, Geneva II is going to place it on the hot seat. Simply by showing up, the regime will have to address Kofi Annan’s six-point peace proposal, which calls for a ceasefire, release of detainees, press freedom, humanitarian access, freedom of protests, and a political transition.

If the Damascus regime accepts these points, it will be writing its own epitaph — something it is clearly loathed to do.

(full text).

Links on en.wikipedia:

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria;

National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change NCCDC;

National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces NCSROF;

Arab League;

Geneva II Middle East peace conference;

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