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Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:17 PM

Syrian opposition chief under fire for talks with Assad allies

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Syria's opposition leader flew back to his Cairo headquarters from Germany on Sunday to explain to sceptical allies his decision to talk with President Bashar al-Assad's main backers Russia and Iran.

The Russian and Iranian foreign ministers, and U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, portrayed Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib's new willingness to talk with the Assad regime as a major step towards resolving the two-year-old war.

"If we want to stop the bloodshed we cannot continue putting the blame on one side or the other," Iran's Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday, welcoming Alkhatib's overtures and adding that he was ready to keep talking to the opposition. Iran is Assad's main military backer together with Russia.

"This is a very important step. Especially because the coalition was created on the basis of categorical rejection of any talks with the regime," Lavrov was quoted as saying on Sunday by Russia's Itar Tass news agency.

Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/02/03/uk-syria-crisis-idUKBRE9100KS20130203

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Reply Syrian opposition chief under fire for talks with Assad allies (Original post)
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 OP
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #1
David__77 Feb 2013 #2
pampango Feb 2013 #3

Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:18 AM

1. Talking would be a good thing. The Salafists don't want to talk, though.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:14 AM

2. Anything to demoralize the armed opposition is a good thing.

...

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Response to David__77 (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:18 AM

3. Bashar would agree. He (and his father before him) have shown they can deal with peaceful (unarmed)

opposition quite effectively. Why negotiate and yield any power to people who protest peacefully when you have jets, tanks and one of the largest armies in the region?

It will be interesting to see if the Syrian government responds at all to this initiative.

Alkhatib, whose family are custodians of the Umayyad Mosque in the historic centre of Damascus, is seen as a bulwark against Salafist forces who are a player in the armed opposition.

It does sound like foreign fighters are not happy about the prospect of negotiations with the Syrian government. What remains to be seen if the government pursues this opening or ignores it to pursue its "jets and tanks" solution.

One 'opposition campaigner' in Berlin (presumably unarmed) is skeptical that the government will engage in negotiations:

Fawaz Tello, a veteran Syrian opposition campaigner based in Berlin, said Alkhatib had made "a calculated political manoeuvre to embarrass Assad".

"But it is an incomplete initiative and it will probably fizzle out," Tello told Reuters. "The Assad regime cannot implement any item in the series of initiatives we have seen lately because it would simply fall."

Russia and Iran were already beginning to use Alkhatib's initiative negatively, he said, while "the regime and its allies will only treat Alkhatib's meetings as an additional opportunity to smash the rebellion or weaken it".

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