In order for Nazi Germany to control occupied France in World War II, it formed a puppet French government to convince the world of its legitimacy. This is what the Syrian regime does. When it realized the opposition had legitimacy beyond its own, it invented groups that it claimed were opposition, allowed them to work in Damascus, and sent them to loyal capitals such as Tehran and Moscow to negotiate on behalf of the real opposition.
The regime, via Russia, insisted on imposing these bogus groups in the Geneva negotiations, and after the UN envoy agreed to their involvement in the negotiations, Moscow now insists on including them in the real opposition delegation. When the real opposition rejected this, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “The so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC)… is in fact sabotaging fully-fledged dialogue.”
The Geneva negotiations have become a political farce. There is no point in the HNC continuing its participation since it has been deprived of everything, even the right to represent itself as the opposition. Everything representing the regime is false — the army is not its army — and those who insist on negotiating with it are not the real opposition.
The regime is known for fabricating slogans of nationalism, Arabism and democracy, rigging elections, and inventing organizations such as Fateh Al-Sham on behalf of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
The Geneva negotiations have become a political farce. There is no point in the High Negotiations Committee continuing its participation since it has been deprived of everything, even the right to represent itself as the opposition.
When the regime decided to assassinate Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005, it formed an organization called Jund Al-Sham and produced a video of a person named Abu Adass, who claimed he was the suicide bomber. This was revealed to be false, as international investigations disclosed the names of the real actors who have ties to the regime.
The regime did more than that in the war in Iraq after the US invasion. It founded, in cooperation with Iran, organizations it claimed to be Islamic and Baathist resistance.
These false Syrian opposition groups are fig leaves to raise the demands of the regime and defend it. As long as Moscow and Iran are backing these groups, they should sign an agreement with them in Tehran and end this farce.
• Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, a veteran columnist, is former general manager of Al Arabiya News Channel and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, where this article was originally published.