Iran Holds Key to Syria Deadlock

That Iran can play an instrumental role in helping stymie the Syrian crisis is an irrefutable reality and every politically-minded person owns to the fact but what seems bizarrely inacceptable is the UN’s decision to disinvite Iran to the Geneva-II talks.

Apparently, pressure was piling up from every corner on UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to rescind the Iran invitation. Earlier, the National Coalition had said it would pull out if the invitation to Iran was not rescinded.

Monzer Akbik, the National Coalition’s chief of staff, told the BBC’s Newshour program that Iran’s inclusion was against the promises his group had received.

On the other hand, Washington manifestly had a substantial part to play in retracting the invitation. So, Ban Ki-moon eventually proved to be pathetically obsequious.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had earlier supported the UN decision to invite Iran, saying the talks would be “profane” without Iran.

“Around 40 countries have been invited to the conference, including Australia, Mexico, Korea, Brazil, India and Indonesia,” Lavrov told a media conference in Moscow. “If Iran were not on the list, that would seem profane.”

Later on, he described the exclusion of Iran from the talks as a mistake.

Speaking at a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban is “deeply disappointed” at Iran’s statements rejecting the June 2012 Geneva communiqué.

“Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation,” Nesirky added.

There are a couple of questions in this regard which deserve due attention: Is there any political solution to the Syrian crisis without the presence of Iran as a potential gear changer in Syria talks? Is Washington seeking a political solution to the Syria crisis? Will the upcoming talks lead to any solution at all? These are good questions and they deserve good answers. However, the situation is so complicated and the political scale is so tilted in favor of the West and the powers that secretly seek to overthrow Assad and install a US-friendly puppet regime in the region that there seems to be no flicker of light at the end of this tunnel.

In fact, the talks will lead nowhere and the purported intention of the talks is only to politically disarm the government of Assad and force the Syrian President to step down. Time and again, Bashar al-Assad has reiterated that a transition of power is possible in the country and that he won’t step down unless people vote him out of office. However, what the West craves for is an Assad-free Syria, a Syria in control by and for the West and its allies.

In the midst of this nonsensical travesty comes a preposterous Qatar-funded fabrication, accusing the Syrian government of large-scale killing and torture. This trumped-up story is based on photographic evidence provided by an unnamed informant, a photographer who claims to have defected from the Syrian military police and calls himself Caesar. He claims he has smuggled the photographs and files out of Syria on memory sticks to a contact in the Syrian National Movement and that “the smuggled data, which includes some 55,000 digital images, documents the deaths of 11,000 detainees in custody at the hands of the Syrian government from March 2011 until August 2013.”

These photographs show emaciated, bloodstained corpses bearing signs of torture and others showing bodies with eyes missing and signs of strangulation or electrocution on others.

The purpose for conjuring up these photographs at this juncture in time just prior to the peace talks seems to instill the notion that the regime of Assad has not withstood the test of time and that it is high time it be uprooted.

The peace talks which are slated to be held in Montreux, Switzerland on Wednesday and then continue for two days are being billed as the biggest effort aimed at resolving Syria’s crisis. After all, the realities on the ground are too bitter to mull over. Over 100,000 people have lost their lives and millions of others have been displaced and the infrastructure of the country has been severely damaged or demolished. In other words, a human catastrophe of biblical proportions has taken place, the memory of which will rankle for all the time to come. On the one hand, the West and its allies insist that their goal is to resolve the crisis in Syria but what is seen in the world of realities stands in stark contradiction with what is being claimed.

The role of Iran is not only important but also essential and it should not and cannot be ignored. And those who rigorously do so, actually harbor other intentions than safeguarding the interests of the Syrian people.

In the final analysis, the key to foreign-fermented Syria crisis lies in the hands of Iran, and the exclusion of the Islamic Republic from the Geneva peace talks is only to be seen as a bad omen and a sign that the West is no well-wisher for Syria and the region.

Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian journalist, political analyst and lexicographer. A former editor in chief of the Tehran Times Daily, he is currently professor of English literature at the University of Tehran. Read other articles by Ismail.