Friday, November 13, 2015

The even simpler reason why the Syrian peace talks are probably doomed

Actually, the real reason why Syrian peace talks are almost certainly doomed is because no Syrians were invited to the talks even though most of the people fighting are Syrian. You can't get a real peace agreement unless the people fighting agree to it. That's how peace agreements work. A real peace conference would have representatives of Assad's government, the Nusra front, ISIS, Kurdish militias, and dozens of other smaller rebel groups all sitting at the table. None of them will be at the table in Vienna this weekend. Fisher's comparison with the 1989 Taif Agreement is misplaced. That agreement was negotiated with the participation of the parties fighting in the Lebanese civil war. If just the U.S., France, Israel, and the Soviet Union agreed on an arrangement to end the Lebanese civil war in 1989 without involving the actual factions in that conflict, it would not have stopped the fighting.

That said, I still support the effort in Vienna. It would obviously be better to have all of the parties to the conflict there. But one problem with this conflict are all those foreigners who are participating in it (e.g. the U.S., Russia, Iran, etc.) They aren't the biggest problem with the conflict but they do collectively represent a problem. As Max Fisher says, it's a real long shot those outside parties will be able to agree on anything. But if somehow they do, things would be better.

But it still won't end the conflict. It just would make it slightly less complicated, which theoretically would put a real solution a little closer. The war in Syria is so bad even that would be something.