Stimson in the News

Mona Yacoubian is interviewed in Syria:direct on the Geneva II peace talks

in Program

Mona Yacoubian: Geneva likely to be ‘an exercise in checking the box’

The Geneva II peace talks are set
to commence a week from today, and observers inside and outside the
country see little cause for optimism. Syria’s political opposition
remains deeply divided over whether to participate in the conference, as
the Syrian National Coalition, one of the main blocs within the Syrian
Opposition Coalition, has declared that it will not attend.

The international community is
split over the issue of Iran’s attendance, with Washington opposing
Tehran’s presence and Russia and the United Nations insisting that Iran
must be a party to any settlement. Meanwhile, dynamics on the ground
remain far removed from the diplomatic maneuvering, with the Islamic
Front-a coalition of seven hardline Islamist factions, with an avowed
disinterest in the Geneva talks-emerging as arguably the most potent
opposition force within Syria.

“As soon as you invest in a diplomatic process, the costs of failure become very real,” says Mona Yacoubian,
senior advisor for the Stimson Center’s Middle East program in
Washington DC. The stakes are high for the conference: Paving the way
for a transitional body to govern Syria and stopping the fighting,
principles the stakeholders cannot come to agreement on ahead of the

It might fail, Yacoubian tells Syria Direct’s Alex Simon in
this first of a two-part interview, and “those parties that invested
themselves in a Geneva process would be further discredited.”

To read the full interview, click here.


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