Pinhas Inbari published this timely Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) brief on the issues and dramatis personae at the opening round of the Geneva II talks in Montreaux, Switzerland that began today.. We consider insightful Inbari’s analysis of the roiling seemingly intractable, inconclusive civil war in Syria now in its 35 month. Israel is concerned about what may arise from these fractious discussions given the presence of both Assad regime and Syrian opposition, including potenntially intrusive Al Qaeda-affiliates operating in the demilitarized zone on the Golan plateau.
Further, as Inbari points out in this brief, should , mirabile dictu, should an agreement be reached and a new government installed in Damascus are the be renwal of demands for return of the Golan, annexed by Israel in December 1981.
There have also been reports of both Israeli Arab Muslim extremists and Palestinians from Gaza joining those al Qaeda opposition militias in Syria. The Syrian Kurds have abiding concerns regarding attainment of possible hard fought regional autonomy that has apparently vanquished Al Qaeda militia thteatening their Rojava heartland in Syria’s North East.This post should assist you in identifying the contending parties, including the Islamic regime in Tehran and its proxy Hezbollah, whose presence at the meeting was considered unhelpful. vigorous objections raised by the Syrian opposition, the US, UK and others forced UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to abruptly ‘disinvite’ the Iranian delegation from attending this session. Nevertheless, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, who lauded the UN Secretary General’s invitation extended to Iran, may be both the assad regime;s and its Shiite hegemon’s diplomatic proxy auditing the proceedings for the Islamic Regime.
- The Geneva 2 peace conference was convened after an agreement between the United States and Russia that themain danger posed by the situation in Syria is that of al-Qaeda, and that the course of events should be steered in order to obviate this danger.
- The Syrian opposition sees a danger that the two powers will prefer to leave Assad in place since, if the choice is between him and al-Qaeda, then Assad is the better option.
- The powers’ need to convene the Geneva 2 conference stemmed primarily from the failure of the Free Syrian Army under General Idris to defeat Assad’s army and bring about regime change.
- Ironically, the success of the al-Qaeda groups against the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army helped Russia convince the United States that, at least for the time being, Assad should be left standing. The result is that Assad’s loyalists will be in attendance at the conference.
- If the Syrian opposition has trouble accepting the presence of Assad loyalists at the peace conference, it cannot accept an Iranian presence at all. They say their real opponent on the Syrian battlefield is the Iranian army, and they view Iran as an invading country that is also deploying Hizbullah against them.
- Israel must pay attention to two possible outcomes: A Middle Eastern inter-bloc agreement may at some stage include the Palestinian issue. Another possible scenario may involve renewed pressure on Israel to give up the Golan Heights in order to “strengthen” the new Syrian government.