Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations peace envoy for Syria said on Tuesday he plans to host Iran, Russia and Turkey for talks in September on finalising a committee to write a new Syrian constitution. He was asked to set up the committee during a congress held in Sochi, Russia, in January.
There is a problem with this approach. Syria is an Arab country, it’s an integral part of the Arab world. And Arab countries have been kept conspicuously absent from the process. Plus, the long-suffering people of Syria, who have been the target of a venal and brutal campaign of atrocities by the regime of Bashar Al Assad, seem to have no real voice in these talks, despite the opposition’s move to send its list of delegates.
There’s no doubt that militarily, the Al Assad regime is on top. With the help of Russia, Iran and Tehran’s proxy militant groups, the regime has managed to crush the opposition, especially the moderate opposition.
In this, it has been helped by the failure of the international community, led by the western states, to come up with an inclusive plan for all Syrians. The United States and the European Union, in particular, have accepted a regime victory as fait accompli. Their primary concern seems to be safeguarding the Israeli regime’s “interests” in Syria.
While Russia and Iran have put their weight behind the Al Assad regime 100 per cent, Turkey continues to play a negative role in the conflict, acting increasingly as a colonial power and indulging in a land-grab in the guise of fighting Kurdish separatists militants. A case in point was its operation in the northern Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin, in which Turkish-backed rebels engaged in what amounted to an invasion and occupation of the city.
All indications on the ground, including the military posts in Idlib province, which is still outside the control of the regime, suggests Turkish forces will continue their presence in these Syrian areas for the foreseeable future.
Any “peace deal” imposed by the victors will be untenable in the long run. Clearly, Syria needs a regional and local solution, if it is to be stable in the long run. But the presence of foreign forces in Syria has become such an issue that no inter-Syrian dialogue is taken seriously anymore.
Tragically, people look to what the foreign patrons of the so-called Syrian parties have to say.