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You have now landed in Geneva, Syria

By       Message Pepe Escobar     Permalink
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Reprinted from RT

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
(Image by euronews (in English), Channel: Euronews)
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The alleged Syrian peace process now enters its Geneva charade stage. This could last months; get ready for lavish doses of posturing and bluster capable of stunning even Donald Trump.
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The notion that Geneva may be able to impersonate Damascus in a suit-and-tie pantomime is ludicrous to begin with. Even the UN envoy, the sartorially superb Staffan de Mistura, admits the Sisyphean task ahead -- even if all relevant players were at the table.

Then we have Syrian "opposition figure" George Sabra announcing that no delegation from the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee will be at the table in Geneva. As if Syrians needed an "opposition" instrumentalized by Saudi Arabia.

So in the interest of providing context, here's an extremely concise recap of recent, crucial facts on the Syrian ground which the "new capital" Geneva may ignore at its own peril.

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Let's start with last summer, when Iranian Quds Force superstar commander Qasem Soleimani laid down the law, in person, in Moscow, establishing without a doubt the grim situation across the Syrian theater of war.

Essentially Soleimani told the Kremlin and Russian intelligence that Aleppo might be about to fall; that Jabhat al-Nusra was at the doors of southern Damascus; that Idlib had fallen; and Latakia -- home to Russia's naval base at Tartus -- would be next.

One can imagine the effect of this jolt of realpolitik on President Putin's mind. That clinched his resolution to stop the fall of Syria, and prevent it from becoming a Libyan remix.

The Russian Air Force campaign turned out to be the ultimate game-changer. It is in the process of securing the Damascus-Homs-Latakia-Hama-Aleppo network -- the urban, developed Western Syria that holds 70 percent of the country's population. ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and/or Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, have zero chances of taking over this territory. The rest is mostly desert.

Jaysh al-Islam -- a motley crew weaponized by Saudi Arabia -- still holds a few positions north of Damascus. That's containable. The country bumpkins in Daraa province, south of Damascus, could only make a push towards the capital in an impossible 1991 Desert Storm context.

"Moderate rebels" -- that Beltway concoction -- did try to hold Homs and Al-Qusayr, cutting off the resupply of Damascus. They were repelled. As for the gaggle of "moderate rebels" who took all of Idlib province, they are being pounded mercilessly for four months now by the Russian Air Force. Aleppo's southern front is also being secured.

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Don't bomb "our" rebels

It's easy to pinpoint who's livid with all the Russian action: Saudi Arabia, Turkey and -- last but not least -- the "Empire of Chaos," all at the table in Geneva.

Jabhat al-Nusra -- remote-controlled by Ayman al-Zawahiri --is intimately linked to a gaggle of Salafi-jihadists in the Saudi-sponsored Army of Conquest, as well as tactically allied with myriad outfits nominally grouped in the nearly extinct Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The CIA, using the Saudis for plausible deniability, fully weaponized "vetted" FSA outfits, which received, among other things, TOW anti-tank missiles. Guess who "intercepted" virtually all the weapons: Jabhat al-Nusra.

The follow-up was nothing short of hilarious: Washington, Ankara and Riyadh furiously denouncing Moscow for bombing their "moderate rebels" and not ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Slowly but surely, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), parallel to the Russian offensive, retook the initiative. The "4+1" -- Russia, Syria, Iran (Special Forces, many of them from Afghanistan), Iraq, plus Hezbollah -- started coordinating their efforts. Latakia Province -- which hosts not only Tartus but the Khmeimim Russian airbase -- is now under total control by Damascus.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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