Despite U.S. and Western pressure on the opposition to take part in U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at halting the two-and-a-half-year-old Syrian civil war, most experts here believe the rebels are unlikely to show up any time soon. And even if they do, the results will be unlikely to change much of anything on the ground.The so-called “Geneva 2” negotiations, which are aimed at reaching an agreement on a political transition to eventually replace President Bashar Al-Assad, are supposed to take place toward the end of next month.
But analysts here believe the disarray within the opposition and its increasingly apparent inability to represent rebel factions — particularly radical Islamist factions, two of the most prominent of which are linked to Al-Qaeda and have always rejected international negotiations designed to end the conflict — that are leading the actual fighting on the ground could make the conference irrelevant, if it indeed takes place.
“More and more, the armed groups on the ground are renouncing ties to the political opposition and are explicitly opposed to a Geneva conference,” Mona Yacoubian, a Middle East specialist at the Stimson Centre, told IPS here.
“It’s very difficult to assert that holding it within the next six weeks is a realistic alternative, but it’s also a very important goal to work toward, understanding that there really are no appealing alternatives in the face of a situation on the ground that continues to get worse,” she said.
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