The Syria talks are close to failing after Russian negotiators explicitly refused to discuss the prospect of removing Butcher Assad from the Syrian government. Already embarassingly close to achieving next to nothing, the talks are in danger of ending if UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi deems it “useless” to continue, the WSJ reports:
Although many doubted the talks would yield an end to the war, Russia’s position could spell the end of the talks, which have so far achieved only a modest measure of cooperation in providing aid to civilians in the besieged city of Homs. The person close to the talks said he didn’t expect Mr. Brahimi to summon the sides back to Geneva for a third round of negotiations.
Looks like the Russians aren’t even pretending to be nice anymore. The United States doesn’t seem to have much leverage at the talks, and Russia can continue to supply the Assad regime with the weapons and time it needs to stay in control of the civil war. Indeed, even as the “peace talks” are going on in Geneva, Assad’s army is dropping barrel bombs in Aleppo, reportedly killing scores of civilians, and making advances against disorganized rebel forces across the country. All around the Middle East, Russia’s diplomats looks stronger and more astute than do those of the Obama Administration.Look for a weekend essay in the Wall Street Journal on this subject by WRM. We’ll put a link in the feed as soon as the essay goes live.