UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (C) opens the so-called Geneva II peace talks next to UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) on January 22, 2014 in Montreux.
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In the summertime, people flock to Montreux, Switzerland, to follow the jazz festival. This week, though, the "performance" is by a positively un-swinging lot, part of the (in theory) very serious Geneva 2 conference on Syria.
What is Geneva 2 for? It has nothing to do with "peace." It won't yield an international deal to end the Syrian tragedy. The horrible war facts on the ground will remain facts, and horrible; many perpetrators won't be gathering in Montreux. Syrian civil society has not even been invited.
And then the whole charade degenerated into pitiful parody even before it started.
This past Sunday, it seemed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had decided to spring out of his trademark vegetable slumber, inviting Iran to Geneva 2. The invitation lasted less than 24 hours; after the requisite "pressure" by Washington -- instigated by those sterling democrats of the House of Saud -- it was duly rescinded.
Thus we had Ban Ki-moon parroting the US State Department, according to which Tehran had not agreed to the principles of the Geneva 1 communique, which called for a sustained cessation of armed violence. Iranian diplomats strongly begged to differ, stressing how Tehran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the previous, June 2012 conference, even if Iran was not part of it.
Ban Ki-moon also invited the Holy See, as well as Australia, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, among others, to Montreux; as if these actors had any clue about what's going on in Syria.
But the apex of the farce is that Iran cannot go, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- who continue to weaponize every Syrian "rebel" in sight, from young adrenaline seekers to Western-supported Takfiris and beheaders -- can. And will.
Meet "good" and "bad" Al-Qaeda
Time to break it down. Washington ruled that Iran cannot be in Montreux because it supports Assad. It's as simple as that.
Washington dictating to the UN is the norm. Washington dictating to the Syrian exiled "opposition" is also the norm. Everyone is a puppet in this lethal comedy.
As for Western spin doctors, they are dizzier than flies over corpses. As part of the new Western myth that the Saudi Arabia-sponsored Islamic Front -- formed last September against the US-backed Supreme Military Council -- are nothing but "good Al-Qaeda," now we have top "rebels" routinely acknowledging to Western corporate media they are, well, Al-Qaeda.
Tens of thousands of foreign jihadis using Al-Qaeda's network of safe houses in Turkey -- well, that's not such a big deal. As the narrative goes, "our new friends" in the Islamic Front are just "conservative Salafi Muslims." What if they are fond of the odd torture binge and will think nothing of slaying the odd Shiite or Christian? Not such a big deal.
As for the "bad" Al-Qaeda gang -- from Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) -- they are on a roll. After all, they are the ones with fighting experience/leverage on the ground. And when push comes to shove, they just run yet another ring around clueless Western necks.
Take Ahrar al-Sham. They now lead the Islamic Front -- and talk to the Americans. And guess what; they're going to Montreux! The icing on this Takfiri cake is that, ultimately, their "interests" are being defended by no less than US Secretary of State John Kerry. Washington promoting al-Qaeda? Well, we've seen that movie before.Should I stay or should I go?
Washington is selling the fiction it is "leading" Geneva 2 to "reconstruct" Syria. This is utter nonsense.
Theoretically -- and even that is still extremely debatable -- the Obama administration's core interest in Southwest Asia is to negotiate a very complex deal with Iran, which will take most of 2014.
Ultimately, this whole charade is between Washington and Tehran. The US Navy won't make Assad "go" anytime soon -- or ever; so everything, in theory, remains on the table.