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The Saudi-Hosted "Opposition Talks" Fiasco

By       Message Mike Whitney     Permalink
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Reprinted from Counterpunch


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A Saudi-led plan to draw "moderate" Syrian opposition groups into a unified political front collapsed on Wednesday when a powerful Islamic militia refused to participate in the meetings after their demands were rejected. Ahrar al-Sham, a hardcore amalgam of Wahhabi extremists and fanatical jihadis, withdrew from the anti-Assad confab because, according to the Washington Post: "some of its comments and recommendations have been disregarded at the meeting."

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Not surprisingly, the Post failed to explain exactly what those "comments and recommendations" were. The reason for this is easy to understand. The media doesn't want the American people to know that the so called "moderate" militias their government is backing are actually homicidal maniacs who are determined to topple a secular government and replace it with an Islamic Caliphate. Here are a few of the group's demands which have not appeared in any of the western media:

1 All Iranian and Russian military personnel must leave Syria.

2 The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) should be disbanded, along with their paramilitary units.

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3 Syria will become an Islamic state.

4 No negotiations with the Syrian Government.

5 Fighting ISIS is secondary because rebels have lost family members because of the war with the Syrian Army.

6 A secular Syria will only empower ISIS

("Largest Rebel Group Calls for an Islamic State in Syria," Almasdarnews)

Ahrar al-Sham is anything but moderate. According to the Telegraph, "the group was established by Islamists and originally included internationally known jihadists with long-standing ties to al-Qaeda." The group receives significant financial support from Saudi Arabia which is a country that is vehemently opposed to democratic government, which has a long history of support for terrorist organizations, and where citizens convicted of sorcery can face beheading. The whole idea of holding these phony negotiations in the terrorist capital of the planet is laughable.

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According to the New York Times: "All parties signed a final statement that called for maintaining the unity of Syria and building a civil, representative government that would take charge after a transitional period, at the start of which Mr. Assad and his associates would step down." ("Syrian rebels form bloc for new round of peace talks," New York Times)

That sounds impressive, but what the Times fails to mention is that all of these conditions were inserted into previous agreements (Geneva) and insisted upon by Russia and Iran. If democracy prevails in Syria, it will be because the Russian's and Iranians refused to accept anything less.

Here's more from the New York Times:

"In two days of meetings hosted by the Saudi government that ended Thursday, more than 100 opposition leaders created a new high commission to oversee negotiations with the government...The high commission contains 33 members, about one-third representing armed factions. It will select a negotiating team of 15 people to face the Assad government at talks that could begin in January...

"Mohammed Baerakdar, a representative of the Islam Army, one of the armed brigades, said that foreign military support had not been enough to ensure victory so the group had to pursue a political solution.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.


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