Is there any hope for “Geneva II”?

15-06-2013 03:05 AM

By Amer Al Sabaileh

The blocking of “Geneva II” by the US should make the whole region more cautious as it prolongs the Syrian crisis and increases the likelihood of the violence breaking across its borders.

This is the same America that signed “Geneva I” and abandoned it some days after by aggravating the tensions within Syria, starting with the battle in Damascus and then Aleppo directly after.

While American diplomacy appears to seek an end to the crisis in Syria, it has once again taken the same escalation tactic they followed over the last two years.

Recent developments in Syria have resulted in a freeze on US diplomacy and the adoption of a more aggressive stance from them. Some observers believe this is a reasonable response to the developments in Quseir and its political and military consequences that reach Aleppo and its surroundings.

From America’s strategic perspective, “Geneva II” would not be possible after the recent developments. Along with UK and France, America is looking to effect some changes on the ground before heading towards “Geneva II”. In response, the US has suggested arming the rebels in an attempt to impose some balance within Syria.

The “Eager Lion” military exercises between America and Jordan synchronize with America’s increasingly aggressive tone toward Syria. It also demonstrates American intention to make use of Jordan, politically, and militarily by using its borders.

Many analysts expect very slow movement toward political settlement, but at the same time there is an expectation of progress towards American objectives. Some security reports have highlighted direct American intervention in Syria, and intelligence operations have been launched from Syria’s neighboring countries.

This intervention from the Americans, British and French could be linked to the moves of some Saudi centers of power that seek to aggravate the situation in Syria. People such as Bandar Bin Sultan, the head of Saudi intelligence and Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal represent the hawkish anti-Syrian group within the Saudi system.

At the same time, the two top Saudi officials appear to sit on the other side, especially after a recent interview with the Al Maydeen Channel, Syrian Presidential Advisor Buthaina Shaaban addressed the positive relationship between the Syrian President and the Saudi king and his son Abdul Aziz.
On the ground in Syria, the shift of battles toward Aleppo is an inevitable result of the Al Quesir battle. However, the pro regime sentiment in Aleppo combined with the presence of US troops on the southern border increases the possibility of a new front opening in the east, especially the “Al Jazeera” area.

This policy aims to new conflict areas that could give the US axis a new chance to improve its negotiation position in any coming settlement, especially, after the failure of American diplomacy to a representative group from the opposition to sit with the Syrian regime.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the CBS network criticized this tactic as he said “ the West’s double standards in dealing with Syria, saying that the US-backed opposition is responsible for delays in the crucial Geneva talks aimed at ending the bloodshed in the war-torn country.”

The Russian minister assured that Moscow accomplished its part of the agreement, while the Americans did not: “We promised to make sure that the government participates in the conference and the government said so” while “the American officials recognize that the national coalition on which some outside sponsors want to put all the money, is not ready even to negotiate, but to decide who is in charge in this coalition.”

This pushed minister Lavrov to be more pessimistic toward “Geneva II”, especially because of the American insistence on arming militants in Syria, he said: “Washington says they support the opposition both politically and by sending them more arms “to restore the military balance on the ground. If this is the logic of moving things forward then I’m not very optimistic.”

Recent developments suggest the east of Syria might be subject to aggravation, from Deir Al Zour to the border that separates Syria from Iraq and its key ally Iran. This could push the US to the negotiation table, but before achieving such a strategic step, negotiations need strong cards in hand.

The Americans are betting on the ability to move toward settlement according on their conditions. This aggravation would have a negative impact on the Syrian and regional level. At some point, it will be impossible to contain the Syrian crisis within its geographical border anymore and that could lead the whole region to go through a very long dark tunnel of terror, religious and sectarian violence.

The political settlement also has an expiry date, and what is possible today might be impossible tomorrow. Moscow’s patience also has limits; this was clearly seen in the words of the head of Russian diplomacy when he said “I see double standards, if you wish. You either deny terrorists any acceptance in the international life, or you make your double standard policy work the way it has been working,”

* Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh is a Jordanian political analyst. He contributed this article to Ammon News English.

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