Thursday, October 29, 2015

New Syria Talks to Begin on Friday

New international negotiations on Syria start on Friday. Iran and Saudi Arabia announced yesterday they would attend the talks in Vienna. However, neither Assad’s government nor the opposition, the two main parties to the conflict, has been invited to the gathering.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and three of his deputies have arrived Vienna today. Iran says it supports a political solution in Syria, but along with Russia has been the main supporter of Assad. Opposition groups, and their regional backers including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, say Assad must leave. Saudi Foreign Minister Abdel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday the intentions of Iran and Russia should be tested during the talks to see if a political solution acceptable to both sides could be reached in Vienna.

The Washington Post reported today that the future of Assad will not be on the table in the first round of meetings of the talks, which will be attended by a dozen countries, including the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, UAE as well as European countries including Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

Not unlike nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, where Iran-U.S. bilateral talks played the key role in reaching a final agreement, within this expanded Syria talks trilateral negotiations between Russia, the U.S., and Iran, representing the Syrian government, could have the same effect. 

The Syrian civil war, which began more than four years ago, has killed a quarter-million people, contributed to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, and its ungoverned territories have become the preferred space for the Islamic State and other extremist groups.

Photo credit: Damaged buildings in Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province, Syria; 28 October 2015 (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)


Anonymous said...

An Iranian=American erican businessman was arrested by Iranian security forces two weeks while he was visiting relatives in Tehran from his home base in Dubai, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The newspaper, citing people briefed on the situation, said Siamak Namazi, head of strategic planning at Crescent Petroleum Co, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard's intelligence arm, which reports to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In recent weeks, Iranian business officials with ties to foreign companies had been held, interrogated and warned against wading into economic monopolies controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, the Journal said, quoting several businessman interviewed inside and outside Iran.

Mark Pyruz said...

Much has changed.

Where before Iran was excluded from talks, now it is included.

Where before there was a diktat in place that Assad must go, now there isn't.

What brought about the changes?

1) Continued warfare, stalemate..

2) Rise of ISIL.

3) Migrants to Europe.


5) The current Russo-Iranian offensive in Syria.

As an aside, the unlikely stalemate between the much more powerful GCC forces and Ansarullah should also be a factor.

Nader Uskowi said...

And how does your comments relate to Syria talks, the subject of this post? In future, if you see the need to write on a subject not covered by the authors, please submit the piece to us and we could publish it under your name or a pen name as a guest blogger.

Anonymous said...

good point and I'll certainly do my best to comply,
but would appreciate it if, in future, you cover all subjects that suit me prior to my figuring out what I'm interested in.

yours truly,
another appreciative (and demented) reader

Nader Uskowi said...

lol:) Thanks so much for your readership, it means a world to us.