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Umpteenth Geneva

The United Nations-sponsored Geneva conference on Syria aims to find a solution by opening a post-Asad political transition but keeping Assad in power

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Umpteenth Geneva

The United Nations-sponsored Geneva conference on Syria that has started this week aims to find a solution for Syria by opening a post-conflict political transition but keeping Assad in power. If it were not for background and terrifying figures of tragedy (half a million dead, half of displaced or refugee population, two million injured, 60% of infrastructures and productive tissue ruined) would sound geopolitics to what Groucho Marx.

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The work of Geneva is preceded by two very different meetings, but which, to best of certain conditions, will condition its conclusions. Erdogan, Putin, and Rohaní met last week in Sochi to pool positions on Syria's future. In short, y agreed to keep El Asad as guarantor of his particular interests. A hundred years ago, France and Great Britain also did ir own thing in face of collapse of Ottoman Empire: to share region in areas of influence. As Ibn Khaldun said in 14th century, " past and future seem like water to water."

For its part, and almost in parallel, in Riyadh was held second enlarged meeting of Syrian opposition, under auspices of new Arab strong man, Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. The various organizations and currents managed to agree on representatives who would send to Geneva, and an unnegotiable point: to leave Asad out of any agreement on transition. Also a hundred years ago Syrians and Egyptians sent to Conference of Versailles delegates who cried in desert for independence of ir peoples. Luck was n thrown away. If Ibn Khaldun wasn't wrong, re won't be a Syria now without Asad, that is, a free Syria. As much as opposition has joined positions like never before and its new spokesman, Nasr Hariri, requires UN to fulfil its role as mediator and guarantor of international law.

The geopolitics of powers Chalanea for a century with a region that has misfortune of being located at crossroads of too many interests. The leaders of Sochi will have no objection to understanding Saudi Arabia to split loot, which might be to let Almighty Prince in Yemen in exchange for giving Assad's free way in Syria. As for America, neir is nor is expected. Saudi Arabia's confrontation-Iran would be in a trench war that would allow all contenders to retreat to internal problems of each, very different in origin but with two common points: social fatigue and authoritarianism. The same ones that took Syrians, and so many Arabs today victims of counterrevolution, to go out on street in 2011 asking for fall of regime.

From this umpteenth Geneva it is almost certain that a future will emerge with more Asad, which does not augure democracy nor freedom for Syria. If so, it will be anor failed Geneva and at all end of conflict.

Luz Gómez is a professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at Autonomous University of Madrid.


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