Negotiating with a vengeance

Orient Net - R. Sikora 2016-01-31 12:24:00

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Now that the Syrian opposition is in Geneva, the Assad regime and its Russian ally continue to conduct business as usual.

The opposition’s Higher Negotiating Committee had initially refused to participate unless it received a guarantee from Staffan de Mistura and John Kerry that the bombing of civilians would end and the starvation sieges would be lifted.

The HNC’s demand was not unreasonable and was merely an insistence that the Security Council act upon its own Resolution 2245 which demands that all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilian targets,

UNSC Resolution 2254 was unanimously adopted on December 18, 2015 yet the Assad regime and Russia continue to ignore the resolution’s demands.

As proof of the arrogance and lack of good faith of Assad and Putin they have stepped up the bombing of Moadamiyeh and threatened its residents with annihilation and bombed an IDP camp in rural Latakia even as their representatives sit in Geneva waiting for negotiations to begin.

Another aspect of Resolution 2245 is that no terrorist groups would be allowed to participate in negotiations.

By Assad’s definition of “terrorist” he will certainly justify the continuing assault on Syrian civilians as to him all who oppose him fall under the definition.

In reality if the definition of terrorist were to include the number of innocent victims then for all intents and purposes Assad would be far and away at the top of the list.

Assad is also reported to have said that he will not negotiate with certain factions of the Syrian opposition because they have committed crimes against humanity.

This most recent of statement from the unconscionable dictator is a perfect example of the hypocrisy that continues to frustrate the rational thinking world.

If Assad’s Baathist regime did not call itself a secular government would he have been allowed to continue his criminal activity for this long?

Would his legacy of enforced disappearances of civilians, sexual violence, illegal imprisonment, torture, indiscriminate bombing of homes, schools, hospitals and clinics, mosques and churches and even refugee camps, the use of devastatingly evil chemical weapons on children as they slept and starvation sieges that kill the most vulnerable members of Syrian society have been tolerated if he were doing it in the name of religion rather than to further his own personal agenda?

When he began targeting peaceful unarmed demonstrators in 2011 he knew that the West had a xenophobic fear of Muslim extremists so he used the religion that had sustained the majority of the Syrian population through decades of oppression and abuse against them.

And even though the majority of those killed in Syria have been innocent Sunni men, women and children through the use of weapons deemed illegal by the member states of the United Nations, Assad and his allies have not been seriously challenged even once!

In a video message to the HNC urging them to participate in the Geneva negotiations de Mistura said "We count on you to raise your voice. To say, ’Khalas, it’s enough.’ To say to everyone who is actually coming from Syria and from abroad to this conference, that there are expectations on them to make sure that their vision, their capacity of compromise and discussion for reaching a peaceful solution is now and they need to produce that,” and then added insult to injury by saying, "We’ve heard what you’ve been telling us ... enough bombing of my city where I am, and I don’t know who is bombing me. I just see bombs coming down. Rockets, anything."

Syrian activists were incensed at his words and rightly so.

"He’s asking them to say ’enough!’ as if they hadn’t been doing so daily for the past 5 years,” was activist Razan Ghazzawi’s response to the patronizing message from the UN envoy. “De Mistura is asking the people — who have been living with Assad’s bombs and chains — to resist all parties’ violence as if it is up to her or him in the first place."

“Dear Mr. de Mistura, We’d like to remind you that "peace" was the first cry of the Syrian Revolution” and “We’d also like you to know that we know exactly who is bombing us. And so do you. If you want to trust you, at least name them” were just a few of the responses on Twitter coming from activist Shakeeb al-Jabri.

We shall see if the truth will prevail in the days to come but de Mistura is going to have to stop trying to remain politically correct in the eyes of the Assad regime before he will be able to gain the trust of anyone who has suffered from its multitude of crimes for decades --- and especially within the past five years.