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    A rebel fighter fires a heavy machine gun during clashes with government forces and pro-regime shabiha militiamen in the outskirts of Syria's northwestern Idlib province on September 18, 2015

    Syrian Peace Talks 'Are Orchestrated to Fail': Who's to Blame?

    © REUTERS / OMAR HAJ KADOUR
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    Washington does not want the Geneva peace talks to succeed in resolving the deadly Syrian conflict, syndicated columnist, activist and radio show host Stephen Lendman asserted, saying that they "are orchestrated to fail."

    The US political leadership has recently appeared to have abandoned its strategy on Syria that revolved around the concept that Bashar al-Assad must resign before any meaningful peace process is launched. Washington voted in favor of UN Security Council resolution 2254, which offers a roadmap to peace in the war-torn country through inclusive talks, nationwide ceasefire and elections. The document does not address the issue of Assad's future.

    Yet Lendman believes that the White House did not have a change of heart. Obama, according to the analyst, is still pursuing a regime change in Syria.

    The US president wants "Assad and loyalists around him ousted, an Israeli rival eliminated, [and] Iran isolated." The activist also maintains that the White House wants to "balkanize" Syria and install a puppet government in the country.

    "How can there be peace in Syria when achieving it defeats Washington's agenda?" he asks. "It appears Washington, [its] key NATO partners, Israel and Saudi-led Gulf States orchestrated a farcical scenario, fantasy talks doomed to fail, Assad wrongfully blamed."

    Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Bashar al Jaafari (C) attends a news conference during the Geneva peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland January 31, 2016
    © REUTERS / Denis Balibouse
    Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Bashar al Jaafari (C) attends a news conference during the Geneva peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland January 31, 2016

    The highly-anticipated peace talks started last week, with Damascus representatives arriving in Geneva on Friday. The Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC), an umbrella opposition group, came to the Swiss city the next day.

    "At best, whoever shows up (if anyone) representing the HNC won't negotiate, only talk to UN officials – insisting Russian and Syrian anti-terrorism targeting ceases, including against towns held hostage by [Daesh] and other terrorist groups, demands made to subvert, not facilitate discussions," Lendman noted.

    The columnist emphasized that the Syrian Kurds are not taking part in the talks, but, as Moscow has repeatedly insisted, without them no credible solution could be found. The Syrian crisis is complicated by the sheer number of parties and stakeholders involved. Russia maintains that all of them, except terrorist groups, have to participate in the talks for them to succeed.

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    Tags:
    regime change, Syrian conflict, geopolitics, Geneva 3 Peace Talks, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United States
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