The key players who can influence events at Geneva II are starting to line up. America and Russia are singing from the same hymn sheet, as are Iran and Turkey. All have reached the point where they can see military victory is not possible for any one faction, and that the rise of Islamist extremism is only going to get worse.
What is needed now is a genius who can devise a peace formula whereby all parties, notably the Assad regime and the main groupings opposing him, can claim victory and thereby save face. This will be an essential requirement – that no one is blamed and that everyone gains something from the deal.
With eight full weeks to prepare, this should be possible, especially given the amount of international pressure America, Russia, Turkey and Iran can bring to bear. Saudi Arabia and Qatar will need to be placated and given something too, so that they too can claim victory and save face.
Pray God the geniuses are hard at work devising such formulas, so that 22 January can be the beginning of transfer of power away from the Assad regime before he concocts his re-election in May 2014. The alternative will be years of suffering and destruction, with thousands more deaths, injuries and refugees – a terrible prolonging of Syria’s nightmare.
- UN announces January 22 Syria peace conference (dailystar.com.lb)
- After Iran deal, the next step is to end the Middle East proxy war in Syria | Jeremy Shapiro and Samuel Charap (theguardian.com)
- Iran says no conditions for Syria talks (skynews.com.au)
- Iran invites UN to heavy water plant (bbc.co.uk)
- Iran nuclear deal will make the world a safer place | Hans Blix (theguardian.com)