What Really Behind Syria Peace Talks Failure?

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Wednesday, 25 May 2016


When it comes to diplomatic negotiations on Syria, like the recent Vienna peace talks, more than focusing on ways to end the five-year crisis, the concentration is more on two important cases on which the relevant countries and groups of the Syrian crisis remain at odds. The disaccords stand as a hurdle ahead of conclusion of peace dialogue and reaching a comprehensive and practical agreement.

The first problematic case is the difference on the central Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow as well as some regional players- and even some Syrian opposition- believe that any agreement should support central government of Damascus, even if this means supporting President Assad.

These players argue that if President Assad leaves power while nobody is agreed upon to lead a Syrian government as his successor, Syria turns into a failed state just like Libya. This presents a convenient opportunity, they argue, for the terror organization ISIS to reinforce its toehold in the country. This results in grave consequences regionally and internationally. The concerns over collapse of central government of Syria and the chaos that could ensue keep Russia and Iran have the back of Syria’s President Assad.

A strong central government in Syria is necessary for cooperation in battle against terrorism and also for post-war reconstruction of the country, but the US and its allies oppose Assad’s stay in power, arguing that should the government of Syria remains led by President Assad, it would be so difficult to assume that armed groups put their guns down and respect the peace provided by the central government.

The second sticking point in Syria peace process is related to Iran’s role in Syria in post-war period.

Iran’s sway in Syria- and in West Asia region in general- has caused US’ regional allies to raise concerns. Actually, the gains Assad’s government has made during the past eight months, with backing from Iran and Russia, have sent Western-Arab bloc to grow anxious at the prospects of Assad’s stay in power.

They feel that any agreement on Syria that guarantees ongoing Iranian influence in Syria could give Tehran potentials to threaten the Israeli regime’s northern borders.

Therefore, the Western and Arab players insist that the future Syria agreement should limit Iran’s toehold in Syria in post-war Syria. This is what prevents Syria peace process conclusion.

Additionally, it does not seem possible that diplomacy by itself could put an end to the Syrian crisis if there is no game-changing development in the battlefield, though a comprehensive ceasefire could further allow for political bargaining, scaling down of the people’s plights and finally prevent the crisis from hitting its climax.

Should no deal is reached between the anti-terror sides, any truce would backfire, and lead to intensified frontline battles.

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