The Geneva summit failed, what’s next for Syria?
One cannot find fault with those who are saying that the Geneva summit has failed, despite everything that this summit issued, particularly as the wording of the statement is so vague that it allows each party to interpret it as they see fit, whether we are talking about the Americans, Russians or Kofi Annan himself. Therefore, the question that must be asked here is: What happens next?
The simple answer is that there is no political solution on the horizon, and any solution outside of the framework of the UN Security Council will be worthless unless there is an international coalition that can impose this on the ground.
This coalition must be capable of carrying out military intervention or imposing a no-fly zone or buffer zones. Without this, it is difficult to imagine any political solutions today. However, this does not mean that we have reached the end of the road, rather it confirms that the solution in Syria was and remains in the hands of the Syrian revolutionaries themselves, through what is happening on the ground.
If the Syrian revolutionaries had not persisted there would have been no Geneva summit at all, and no agreement reached, and this is an agreement reached by all parties in Geneva, including Russia. This is an agreement on a transitional government, which is something that we have already said is not possible to implement at this time, however this agreement does reveal that Moscow’s room for maneuver is shrinking.
From here, the most important thing is what is happening on the ground in Syria, for this is what is prompting change, both within Damascus and the international community. The Assad regime today is closer to destruction than at any time in the past, while the revolution is in its strongest position.
Therefore Geneva is not the end of the road but the beginning of the end of Assad, so long as the Syrian people remain steadfast, and so long as we continue to arm the Free Syrian Army and provide it with the equipment that allows it to take action and confront the tyrant’s forces. This is what we must focus on, far more than a political solution that will not come without imposing facts on the ground. The international community is well aware of this, and this is what prompted the international powers to move recently, even if this movement was unconvincing and insufficient.
As for Russia and Iran, they will be restrained by what is happening on the ground in Syria, rather than the position taken by the international community. There is a very simple reason for this, namely that Moscow and Tehran are involved in a somewhat suicidal mission today, namely the mission to extend the life of the tyrant of Damascus.
While Iran views the Geneva summit as a failure because it dissociated itself with the states that possess “influence” in Syria, according to the statement issued by the Iranian official. This means that Iran wants to ensure al-Assad remains in power, or if he is ousted, impose his followers in power, along the lines of Hezbollah in Lebanon or al-Maliki and others in Iraq. This is something that must not be permitted, for this would ensure that Syria remains weak and divided in the long-term.
— The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.