The Geneva Agreement, approved by the Syria Action Group on Saturday, provides that the future transitional government will include members of the current government and the opposition.
For Paris and Washington, this implicitly means the departure of Bashar al-Assad. The plan was accepted for Moscow and Beijing, claiming that the Syrians should choose their own future. Indeed, Russia and China oppose a forced departure of Bashar al-Assad, while the United States and its European and Arab allies consider it essential.
In a war in which the Ba’ath regime and its opponents have clashed for almost 15 months and the violence increases despite the presence of UN observers, there is little chance that the Geneva Accord will be applied on the ground. Since the beginning of the revolt and despite the gravity of the internal situation, the current regime has benefited from the support of Moscow and Beijing to buy more time. On the other hand, the Syrian opposition, which calls the Geneva Accord a “farce”, rejects the idea of having to negotiate with the current government. Although the Syrian authorities did not comment on the transition plan, the official press also spoke of a “failure”.
For his part, Bashar al-Assad condemned any solution to the Syrian crisis imposed abroad, ruling that Syria was under pressure from part of the international community, but that this pressure would have no impact on the Syrian Arab Republic. According to him, it is his government’s duty to “destroy the terrorists” who have been fighting it for a year and a half. Bashar al-Assad accused the West and some Arab countries of wanting to derail Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
Under the auspices of the Arab League, Syrian opponents gathered in Cairo on Monday to establish a common vision for the post-Assad era. However, the rebels of the opposition armed forces decided to boycott the meeting, which in their opinion constitutes a “conspiracy” because the participants reject “the idea of foreign military intervention to save the Syrian people”.
In an interview on Iranian public television, the Syrian President said that a NATO-led military operation was not possible in his country and welcomed Iran’s support for his government.
For his part, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels, stated that there would be no military intervention in Syria until the political solutions were exhausted.
In a tense context, the continuation of the massacres and the differences in the interpretation of the Geneva Agreement among the members of the Action Group itself contradict a unified vision for the future of Syria. On the basis of the observation that the international community has an obligation to end the Syria conflict, it will succeed in finding a political response to a regime that some accuse of having lost all legitimacy and in a country where the possibility an explosion lurking that could have catastrophic regional effects?