The desperate bid to negotiate an end to Syria’s civil war. Fragile talks in Geneva. We’ll dig in.
After all kinds of pressure from Washington and beyond, peace talks over the Syrian civil war are finally underway in Geneva. Maybe. Participants can’t even agree over whether they’ve started. The odds of a negotiated solution seem almost nil. But the talks are a good window through which to look at Syria and the clashing interests behind a war that has destroyed a country, spawned ISIS, flooded Europe and set the world on edge. This hour On Point, war and peace and Syria.
— Tom Ashbrook
From Tom’s Reading List
Los Angeles Times:’The talks have started’: U.N. mediator meets with Syrian opposition — “In addition to securing a cease-fire, the talks, which could last for months, are aimed at forming a transitional government and eventually organizing U.N.-backed elections. But everyone acknowledges those goals will be difficult to attain. On Monday, pro-government forces overran opposition-held areas north of Aleppo city, disrupting supply lines and threatening to cut off rebel-held territories to the west, according to government and opposition accounts.”
Newsweek: What Should Be Discussed At The Syria Peace Talks — “If Russia and the U.S. can’t agree on whether Assad stays or goes, at least they can make progress in defining how that question will ultimately be addressed. Otherwise, Syrian-Syrian negotiations are virtually guaranteed to break down over this point—likely sooner rather than later. In the first two Vienna meetings, those assembled took a small step in this direction: calling for free, fair, UN-monitored elections open to all Syrians inside and outside the country. But that is insufficient.”
Syria Comment: The Ten Most Important Developments in Syria in 2015 — “The actors involved in Syria’s war should plan for failure even more than they plan for success. They should already be preparing for a post-Geneva situation where they need to salvage, secure, and build on any shred of progress achieved in the talks. Reaching a comprehensive ceasefire by June seems incredibly difficult, but a dampening of violence just might be possible, with some luck. If serious about it, Syrian negotiators could presumably also reach meaningful agreement on more limited and less controversial issues.”