Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 24, 2014

Syria: Guardian Falsely Blames Government For Talk Breakdown

The Guardian's false version: Syria's foreign minister threatens to walk out of peace talks

Long-awaited direct peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad failed to get under way as expected on Friday morning after Damascus insisted on ending "terrorism" before seeking a political solution to end nearly three years of war and misery.

The reality as tweeted earlier by the Lebanese TV station LBCI:

LBCI News English ‏@LBCI_News_EN

Syrian opposition will not meet government delegation until #Damascus endorses #Geneva 1 communiqué on transition – opposition delegate

This step by the opposition to stop all direct talk was already announced yesterday by a "revolution" propaganda account:

The 47th ‏@THE_47th

[Exclusive] My source: several Oppo members threatening to quit Geneva-2 if Assad delegates don't sign G1 communique by tomorrow 1

And via an Aljazeera correspondent from the horse's mouth:

"We have explicitly demanded a written commitment from regime to accept Geneva 1. Otherwise no direct talks," #SNC Haitham al-Maleh

The Syrian government was not part of the Geneva I process. It had no say in the results (pdf). It is unreasonable to expect any government to sign off on a paper that it had no chance to negotiate. Obviously the Saudi paid "rebels" are setting unreasonable conditions and deny direct talks. But the Guardian, in its typical propaganda mode against the Syrian government, blames the other side. It does not even mention that it was the "rebels" who first set new conditions for the talks.

Added: Contrast the Guardian opening paragraph above with this one just out from the Washington Post:

Long-awaited peace talks between Syria’s warring factions were on the brink of collapse on Friday after the Syrian opposition refused to enter into direct talks with the government and the government delegation threatened to go home.

Posted by b on January 24, 2014 at 12:46 UTC | Permalink


The Geneva 1 communique states.. The establishment of a transitional governing body which can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place. That means that the transitional governing body would exercise full executive powers. It could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.
Because Assad is the head of the Syrian Government, and any transitional arrangement has to be done with mutual consent, then Assad and the rest of the Syrian Government can insist on being part of the transitional governing body, this is what Geneva 1 states, there is simply nothing in the communique to suggest Assad must depart and why should he, with some reports suggesting that he has the support of over 70% of the Syrian electorate.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 24 2014 13:38 utc | 1

Kerry made a huge blunder that he is now trying to correct ( "Bashar al Assad is not ready to leave"). By announcing in the opening session that Bashar had to go as a predetermined outcome of the talks, he actually sided with the opposition's long standing pre-condition, a condition systematically rejected or ignored by the West. Now the opposition boosted by Kerry's statement think they can dictate the condition of accepting direct talk after having failed to get it in 3 years. They seeem to forget that on the ground, they are the loser and if Geneva II collapses, they may be loose even further.
Syria made it clear that this issue is not for discussion, least for starting negotiations. If the opposition stays on this line of thought, the Syrian delegation has all the right to leave as this violates the rule of Geneva II, that none of the participants should come with with pre-conditions.
Kerry is worried that the Geneva II collapses. His reputations is a stake. He now has no choice than to play down this assertion and renew cajoling and threatening the opposition so that of they accept a face to face with the Syrian governement.
Le's watch the opposition backtracking causing even further divisions withing their ranks and exposing them to threats from their ex-friends the islamist fighters on the ground..

Sources within the delegations told AFP the opposition had refused to sit in the same room unless the regime accepted the need for a transitional government without Assad.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Moqdad told reporters the opposition was obstructing the talks.

"The problem is that these people do not want to make peace, they are coming here with pre-conditions," he told reporters.

"Of course we are ready to sit in the same room. Why are we coming here then?"

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 24 2014 14:25 utc | 2

Worried about his reputation? John Kerry? ANY American politician/celebrity? Shame is one of the most important emotions you MUST cast off if you are going to be counted among the elite. Just look at any American politician/celebrity and the humiliating - for normal human beings - contortions their puppet-masters twist them into over the course of their careers. How about a hero of the anti-Vietnam movement having to advocate for the needless slaughter of thousands upon thousands of innocent people? Twist away Puppet Kerry.

John Kerry is personally worth $194 million and is married to a woman who is worth between $750 million and $1.2 billion. I know some here have stated that we shouldn't equate a person's level of conscientiousness with their wealth but to think that John Kerry personally gives a dead rat's ass about the cost of human lives and suffering vis a vis Syria or anywhere else is laughable.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Jan 24 2014 14:48 utc | 3

If John Kerry accepted the job of Secretary of State, it is becausehe seems to think that his money is no enough to make him feel important. As most politicians, he wants to leave a legacy of success.
Until now he failed with the Israel-Palestinian negotiations. If he does not adjust his moves, he may also fail with the Syrian goverment-rebels negotiation. After his failure as a president candidate, I doubt that's the kind of legacy he would want to leave.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 24 2014 15:41 utc | 4

the thing that gives Jackass Kerry away for the jackass he is, is that EVERY SINGLE PHOTO OP HE DOES INVOLVES A STAGED HAND GESTURE FOR THE CAMERAS.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 24 2014 15:47 utc | 5

"After his failure as a president candidate, I doubt that's the kind of legacy he would want to leave."

This kind of thinking illustrates one of the great successes of the American propaganda system. By having the media concentrate on and highlight the trials and tribulations of individual politicians/celebrities the masses are led to humanize the individual puppet - using either positive OR negative press, etc - and supply him with personal motives/motivations even though said person is clearly a full-fledged, well-rewarded representative of a class whose aims run completely contrary to the betterment of 99.999999999999999999% of humanity, a class btw whose most elite members are NEVER in the spotlight and who shun the mention of their names in the press. It makes for exciting drama, it's easier for the public to grasp and - voila - it deflects public attention away from people considering the elite as a class - much better if they're seen as a loose collection of individuals with varying degrees of sympathy for mankind. However, in reality Kerry knows he already is a "winner" - has been for decades -, that he's already been guaranteed the approbation of the only people that matter - his fellow elite - and the rest of his masquerading around the planet as some sort of human being is all playing to the sops who are to wonder whether ole Johnny will pull through.

Similarly, I - like many observers - used to often argue with myself about whether the elite are best viewed as a nefarious collection of evil masterminds or a bumbling bunch of ignorant rubes. It seems that there were data points for either hypothesis and would go back and forth. That is until I was reminded of the dual wave/particle theory of light and I asked myself: Why does there have to be only one model? Why not use the model that best fits the observed phenomenon at a given point in time? That way the existence of an elite ruling class is never called into question just the nature of said class at any given time and then there aren't as many hangups in worrying about the seeming motivations of individual elite representatives. In this case, the elite may or may have not - from THEIR point of view - made a mistake concerning Syria it's still too early to tell (cf Yinon Plan, etc) esp. as their timelines are longer than we're used to thinking about - this Syria business may be just a necessary step along a predetermined path encompassing decades (they do all seem rather committed to all of this warmongering, don't they?). The one thing that is certain is that this whole business really has not endangered the elite as a class whatsoever no matter how much it may appear that Puppet Kerry is failing/succeeding. They'll all be even richer and more secure tomorrow than they are today. The only guaranteed losers are you, I and the rest of humanity who exist only at the whims/designs of these imbeciles/masterminds.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Jan 24 2014 16:27 utc | 6

I'm going to argue against Harrylaw #1 and Virgile #2 and 'b'. Geneva II is supposed to be based on Geneva I. That's the framework that everybody at Geneva II is supposed to accept. The Syrian opposition is well justified in walking out if the Syrian government doesn't endorse Geneva I.

If the Syrian government were to endorse Geneva I, it would be committing itself to the slippery and ambiguous transitional stage article in Geneva I: "the establishment of a transitional governing body that would exercise full executive powers". The Syrian government doesn't want to sign a statement that could be commiting it to its own dissolution, resigning all of its powers and transferring them to "a transitional governing body".

Syrian opposition spokespeople have long being saying: "Full executive powers contemplated by the Geneva Communique means, of course, the control of security: the army and the police. How can you imagine a real transition government, in the middle of a civil war, without control of the army and the security?" (e.g. 26 Jul 2013 @ ).

A meeting of the G8 group of countries in June 2013 explicitly re-endorsed "a transitional governing body with full executive powers" -- and the G8 includes Russia. Separately in June 2013 a meeting of the foreign ministers of the group of countries called the Friends of Syria group re-endorsed "the establishment of a transitional governing body to which full executive powers would be transferred, including military and security institutions."

Right now, Russia endorses "a transitional governing body with full executive powers" although Russia doesn't explain how it understands those words. Whereas Syria has not endorsed those words or else Syria's interpretation of the words is on a different hyperplane. Bashar Assad a year ago on 6 Jan 2013 said:

Supporting helpful foreign initiatives doesn't mean in any way accepting its interpretation if it doesn't match our vision. We don't accept any interpretation of these initiatives except in a manner that serves Syrian interest. In this framework I'm talking about the Geneva initiative which Syria supported but had an ambiguous article which is the transitional stage article.

The first thing we ask is transition from where to where, or from what to what. Do we make a transition from a country that has a State to a country without a State and a state of utter chaos? Or do we make a transition from independent national decision to handing this decision to foreigners?.... A natural transition would be from a State to a better State. This comes in the context of the development process, and any transition in terms of any transitional stage must be through constitutional means. For us, what we're doing now, these ideas; for us this is the transitional stage. [See the rest of Assad's speech for what he means by "what we're doing now; these ideas"].

If Syria were to endorse Geneva I, meaning the "transitional governing body with full executive powers", Syria would have to endure years of fruitless disputes about the practical interpretation of "transitional governing body with full executive powers" and endure the accusations of bad faith and unreasonableness in the matter of the interpretation of the words. It would be better to not endorse Geneva I. A problem is that Russia thinks Geneva I is a good idea, in all its ambiguity. On 18 Jan 2014, Al-Moallem met Lavrov in Moscow. Later in the day SANA's story carried the headline "Syrian and Russian views identical on making Geneva 2 a success", together with a photo of Moallem and Lavrov smiling and holding hands: . Presumably Moscow and Damascus are not going to surprise each other on the handling of this question.

But my point once again is that if the talks break down due to the Syrian government's refusal to endorse a "transitional governing body with full executive powers" then the Guardian's spin is true and correct, and it is 'b's spin that is false, and once again this is because Geneva II is supposed to be premised on all the terms of Geneva I.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 24 2014 16:29 utc | 7

Just a thought......Did anyone who frequents this site really believe these "talks" were meant to achieve anything but propaganda value for the regime change freaks? IMO, they were meant to fail.

JS @ 3&6..Good thoughts, right on point. Better expressed than I ever could...

Posted by: ben | Jan 24 2014 16:53 utc | 8

7) yep.

Just that paragraphs do not protect you when the situation on the ground has changed.

As I understand it:

a) The US/Israel agree with Russia that the Syrian regime has to be preserved for the security of the region (fighting terrorism, Iraq, Lebanon ...)

b) No one cares about Assad (neither the US, nor Russia or Iran), and he himself presumably does not care about the job, just the regime cannot survive without him - the system needs a dictator.

c) The intelligent part of the regime (they have that, they are very middle class, academic, international business) realize they need to change to survive ...

So a lot would be possible if the agendas in the Syrian civil war were not that vile.

But d) only Norwegians seem to care what actually happens to the Syrian people

And that really is the root cause - the ease people feel free to walk over dead bodies. Or put another way - that freedom and human rights always mean the freedom and human rights of your enemy.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 24 2014 17:06 utc | 9

Looking at Geneva II through the prism of labor-management negotiations, the only thing that makes sense for the West and its Syrian National Coalition proxies is if this is a closure agreement. In other words, the employer, in this case, the sovereign state of Syria, decides to shutter its business and then sits down with its union employees, its citizens, to bargain over a severance package.

The fundamental monstrosity here is that the employer, the bargaining partner who has to initiate a closure negotiation, is being forced into closure by impostor employees. It is an absurdity. And despite all the preposterous fulminating in the Western media over al-Moallem's opening remarks, Syria has been getting its message out -- the "Syrian" opposition doesn't actually represent any Syrians; rather, it represents foreign intelligence agencies.

The Syrian opposition can't legitimately sit down and bargain over its interests because its only interest is the dissolution of the Syrian state.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jan 24 2014 17:07 utc | 10

Excuse me, #0, but Assad is not a 'dictator'. Now as to the matter at hand, I can see Parvizyi's logic, and this is far from the first time that Russia has engaged in cowardly, two-faced, evasive non-diplomacy, by making empty and conflicting pseudo-commitments and refusing to take a stand. So to hell with them. The western media will make up bullshit atrocity stories and lies, whatever Syria does. Moalem has made his point, and he and his outfit might as well go home now, because the rest of the conference is going to be continuous bullshit anyway.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 24 2014 17:31 utc | 11

i agree with @10 - when will a light be shined on what the syrian opposition represents in honesty? add to this that geneva 1 didn't include what is arguably the most important party - assad - makes it unrealistic to expect anything productive out of these meetings.. it is a phoney stage with a phoney setting being run by phoney agenda's and rubber stamped by a media only interested in serving up the standard propaganda dished out by these powerful behind the scenes interests. the leaders of the syrian opposition are stooges for them and nothing more.

as for kerry and his money. who cares? i am sure he knows how irrelevant that fact is in the bigger scheme of things. at this point he seems to know just how irrelevant he is too, but maybe i am wrong and he thinks he is on some sort of diplomatic mission.. that couldn't be further from the truth. some people never wake up.

Posted by: james | Jan 24 2014 17:43 utc | 12

@ Mike

Well explained and a good comparison. The biggest joke in the whole Geneva talks is that Assad should step down before elections. If the Syrian opposition is so sure that they represent "the people", why don't they agree to let Assad stand in the elections and democratically run against him. That is the Syrian government position "that Syrians alone should chose the next government". The fact that the "friends of Syria" insist on removing Assad before any elections gives away that they know he will win.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jan 24 2014 17:44 utc | 13


The issue why the Syrian Government is right to quit is not because it does not accept discussing a 'transition government with full executive powers', but because it rejects the fact that the opposition excludes a priori the participation of Bashar Al Assad and chosen baath party members in this 'transitional government'. The Geneva agreement does not limit any participation as long as it is mutually agreed upon.

Like in Egypt, the Syrian army is the major game maker/breaker.
A person that can garantee the loyalty of the most powerful army in Syria, the Syrian Army and the security forces, is indispensable to allow any transitional governement to survive.
The opposition has not chance to lead the Syrian Army, and its FSA in in a shamble. Therefore whatever transitional government is set up, it will be totally under the control of the leaders of the Syrian Army, presently Bashar al Assad and his party, whether he is ostensibly in power or not.
In Egypt, when Morsi lost the warrant of the army, he was dumped.
Without Bashar al Assads' garantee and the support of the Syrian Army, the opposition has no chance to create anything that would last.
By asking Bashar al Assad to resign, they risk to cancel the whole peace process and destroy their own relevance.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 24 2014 17:48 utc | 14

".Did anyone who frequents this site really believe these "talks" were meant to achieve anything but propaganda value for the regime change freaks? IMO, they were meant to fail..."


The underlying truth is that this is about power. The calculations include:

The "rebels" have about 100,000 fighters in the field. This is a very large army and very expensive to keep in being. It is equally expensive to demobilise. Its sponsors are seeking to transfer its cost to the Syrian people by giving them to it to tax and plunder.

Those countries supporting Syria see the talks as means of breaking the momentum of war, dividing the government's enemies and rallying international opinion around the idea that the "rebels" constitute a dangerous force which threatens not only the region but Europe beyond it.
It is the old "Jaw Jaw is better than War War" formula. These talks and the months of talks about them have already weakened the enemy and exposed the nature of their support.

From the first this has involved massive propaganda campaigns. But they have had much less success than the US/Zionists anticipated. They have pulled out all the stops: "killing his own people"; chemical (WMD) attacks; 'industrial scale' killing and torture.
And their campaigns have fallen flat. The tactics used to sell war in the Balkans, Iraq and half the world besides have not worked.

Those, such as Rowan @ 11, who expect the Russians or the Chinese to intervene dramatically will be disappointed. Their aim is to bore the subject to death, hence the ambiguities piled on ambiguities, hence the constant succession of follies by the "rebels" who, as the Russians know, are incapable of responding to any proposals of a
compromising nature because they are not allowed to think for themselves. Merely convening a conference is a gain for the Syrians.

What is really happening is something much larger. Already the war has spread to Lebanon and Iraq. Jordan and Turkey could be next. The situation in the Yemen is getting, from the Saudi/US point of view, out of hand. Opposition to the government consists of a wide popular coalition which will be hard for the US puppets to resist. There are reports of a growing reaction against the NATO allies in Libya. The fact that it is centred in the south, close to France's neo-empire, is significant. Then there is Egypt, where the next Act, in which the Dictator and his bourgeois friends are reminded that there are 80 million poor people in the country, seems about to begin.

As Gates recently reminded us wars are very easy to start but very hard to stop. What he didn't say was that they spread quickly.
Prince Bandar just set the houses next door on fire. But then, as noted above, he doesn't really care: the worst case scenario leaves him with billions of dollars in the bank and houses all around the world.
In the meantime the US Debt keeps piling up in pyramids of paper and Fort Knox's contents are piling up beside the Yangtse river.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 24 2014 18:33 utc | 15

@ Virgile #14: I agree with most of what you say. It doesn't undermine what I was saying. I'll say it once more in case you didn't hear it the first time. Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu, said on 22 Jan 2014: "Establishment of a Transitional Governing Body is the main objective of the Geneva II process" (Ref). That's a valid and fair statement, because by common consent the Geneva II process is a follow-on within the framework set by Geneva I. The Geneva II process can be totally paralyzed by disagreements about the nature of the Transitional Governing Body while still being the intended Geneva II process, but an outright rejection of the Transitional Governing Body is tantamout to outright rejection of the Geneva II process.

By the way and although it's totally beside the point, Davutoglu also said on 22 Jan 2014: "We all know who are the terrorists in Syria. I wonder how the representatives of the regime think that they can deceive the entire international community with their lies.... They are so shameless after all their heinous crimes against their own people." (Ref).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 24 2014 19:14 utc | 16


"As Gates recently reminded us wars are very easy to start but very hard to stop. What he didn't say was that they spread quickly."

Which could very well be a feature and not a bug in the long term plans of the American psychopath/elite. From their point of view, there's really no downside to creating failed state after failed state after failed state. It destroys the military capabilities - including loss of people to fight - of strategic countries and provides more markets for transnational corporations - defense/rebuilding contractors et al - in which to rebuild and set up economic bases from which to conduct - if needed - further destabilization regiments. Hey, maybe a new US military outpost will have to been created in said country! Also, not as many young Americans need die so not as much uproar at home - just bring out yet ANOTHER CSI!!! At the end of the day, barring an "terrorist" attack here or there - to keep the sheep obedient - there's no need to worry about anything crossing the oceans and really threatening the US so who gives a rip if they spread. Again, unlike you bevin, I take the disaffection of the American populace as something that really doesn't factor into the elite calculations as they've have plenty of experience and success so far in keeping that a bay - and that's all they have to do a Noam Chomsky here, a Kucinich there, sprinkle in an Obama now and then, rinse repeat.

"In the meantime the US Debt keeps piling up in pyramids of paper and Fort Knox's contents are piling up beside the Yangtse river."

I mentioned this earlier and I really think everyone should begin studying Modern Monetary Theory as a descriptive economic paradigm b/c it really shows that the economic theories under which we have been living are nothing more than fictive straight jackets which are used by the elite to politically stifle any meaningful betterment for the common citizen. The theories themselves are apolitical and can be used by capitalist and Marxist alike.

Basically, the theory shows that if you are a country that is a monopoly issuer of your own non-commodity-backed/fixed-rate currency - like the US, UK etc. - then 1) there is no such thing as National Debt 2) Deficits are actually beneficial to such a country and 3) said country can NEVER run out of money. All of which are tropes that run completely contrary from what everyone is reminded of day-in, day-out by the elite marionettes. This theory is slowly gaining more and more traction as its description of real economies - like the US, UK, (not those in the EU as they relinquished their currencies) - are being shown more and more accurate. Here's a short video if any one is interested, an accompanying article and a site I referenced before which provide a good background to all this thinking. It's really well worth the trouble in that you'll see in much more analytical depth why the economic paradigm - as promulgated by the elite - we've been living under is a complete and total chimera.

Sorry for the length of posts.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Jan 24 2014 19:21 utc | 17

".Did anyone who frequents this site really believe these "talks" were meant to achieve anything but propaganda value for the regime change freaks? IMO, they were meant to fail..."

It could well be that the US is trying to use the Geneva negotiations as a face-saver to get itself out of the Syrian conflict. The strange shouting of Kerry in Geneva and Davos that Assad has to leave and has no role to play in the future of Syria could be something like the move of a poker player who, raising the stakes, tries to make you believe he has some excellent cards left. He seems to try to achieve in these negotiations a better result for the US, for Israel and for their few supporters in Syria. It is clearly understood, also in the US, that they lost the war in Syria, but they still want to get a little something out of it, as they invested probably quite a lot there. That could be the reason for the strange behaviour of Kerry.

Posted by: alpino | Jan 24 2014 19:38 utc | 18


Turks have become totally hysterical, calling for a UN action on the Qatars' "holocaust" slidehow that everyone seems to ignore, accusing Syria to fund Al Qaeda fighterr now that they hitting back at Turkey and calling Bashar al Assad names. Their hysteria is justified by many factors: their main ally in the Arab world, Morsi, may be condemned to death, Al Qaeda is showing its teeth on Turkey's border, the turkish lira is plunging in the midst of a serious political crisis 2 months before the election, the Kurdish 'peace process' has reached a stalemate and Syrian Kurds have declared autonomy in the North territory that may encourage the Turkish Kurds to do the same.
Overall Turkey is in such deep s.. that it can only shout and throw accusation to hide its fear and powerlessness.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 24 2014 19:48 utc | 19

As expected, the USA has cajoled/threaten the opposition and they now withdrew the absurd pre-condition of Bashar al Assad resignation and will meet face to face with the Syrian delegation on saturday.

Syrian opposition agrees to direct talks with regime negotiators
January 24, 2014 Updated: January 24, 2014 22:50:00

GENEVA // Representatives of Syria’s government and the western-backed opposition will face each other “in the same room” on Saturday for the first time ever, the UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said.

Read more:

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 24 2014 19:57 utc | 20

As linked to at #20, a Syrian Opposition delegate in Geneva, Anas Al Abdah, speaking on behalf of the Opposition, said: “We are satisfied with Mr Brahimi’s statement today and that the regime has accepted Geneva 1, and on this basis we will meet the Assad delegation tomorrow morning.” I believe Virgile #20 is making a serious mistake when he says the Opposition has "now withdrew the absurd pre-condition of Bashar al Assad resignation". The pre-condition is that the regime accepts Geneva 1 (Transitional Governing Body). When this pre-condition is satisfied they've got a platform for making demands. No doubt they're still demanding Assad's resignation.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 24 2014 21:33 utc | 21

Syria's minister for information, Al-Zoubi, who is in Geneva, said today: "talks about transitional government are illusions. The Foreign Ministry has informed Brahimi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of its reservations on this item."

But the opposition said today: “We are satisfied with Mr Brahimi’s statement today and that the regime has accepted Geneva 1, and on this basis we will meet the Assad delegation.”

Thus the regime is saying it does not accept Geneva I (Transitional Governing Body) while the opposition is saying the regime has accepted Geneva I (Transitional Governing Body). My interpretation of the inconsistency is that Brahimi made some obfuscated statement today (whatever it was; I didn't see it) misrepresenting and exaggerating the regime's acceptance of Geneva I.

On the basis of the above two quotations, I'm willing to bet Geneva II is going to collapse because of the regime's non-acceptance of the Transitional Governing Body. It's certainly going to collapse one way or another, as everybody knows very well. From the government's point of view it's far better for it to collapse without the government having made a commitment to hand over power to any Transitional Governing Body (no matter how vague and ill-defined it might be).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 24 2014 22:08 utc | 22

"Guardian Falsely Blames Government For Talk Breakdown"

No, can't be. How it could?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 24 2014 22:56 utc | 23

Ah, yes! Of course...that's Ian Black.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 24 2014 23:18 utc | 24


The Syrian were invited to Geneva because they had officially accepted the idea of a transition governement. Iran was not invited because it did not.
Therefore the ultimate issue of the transition government is not contested by Syria. In their view this will be the last leg of long negotiations during which Bashar al Assad's delegation will continue reporting to him.
If Bashar al Assad decided to resign now, Geneva II will be immediately cancelled as the Syrian delegation will not be legitimate until a new president is elected.
Therefore their request is absurd.

The media reported that the opposition asked the Syrian delegation to commit in writing not only to the transition governement goal but to forbid Bashar Al Assad to be part of the future of Syria before they accept to meet face to face.
I have yet to see that document signed...

The opposition was simply told to stop bringing up the issue about Bashar al Assad as there are much more pressing issues to discuss.

Yes, the opposition will surely come back on that issue after all the other issues humanitarian and cease fire are solved. But that would be in a few months, just at the time Bashar Al Assad's mandate will be over. Therefore he would not need to resign. He may pass the power temporary to a transitional group in order to organize the elections of a new president. Then he will have to decide whether he wants to be a candidate or not in the next election. Nobody would be able to forbid him to do so if he chooses.

I think that that's the way Geneva II will unravel in the next few months.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 25 2014 1:27 utc | 25

Has anyone seen the list of names of the opposition members delegation?

On January 22, the National Coalition presented its delegation to Geneva II. While this delegation is mostly made up of political exiles drawn from the National Coalition leadership, it is complemented by seven (in some versions, four) representatives of military forces inside Syria, none of whom have been named.

In addition to this, some members of the Geneva delegation serve in a dual politico-military role. For example, one of the National Coalition’s negotiators is Nazir Hakim, who heads the Muslim Brotherhood–backed Coalition for the Protection of Civilians (CPC). The CPC began as a network to finance and arm rebel groups, but it quickly evolved into a Brotherhood-linked military alliance.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 25 2014 1:41 utc | 26

'syrias warring factions'../.why is it we only see such polarisation in states targeted by USA? venezuela zimbabwe both are polarised but you dont see this in USA Canada austtralia EU etc

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 1:53 utc | 27

'Thus the regime is saying it does not accept Geneva I (Transitional Governing Body) while the opposition is saying the regime has accepted Geneva I (Transitional Governing Body).'

please dont refer to the syrian government as a 'regime' makes you look like a troll

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 1:54 utc | 28

am i the only one where with a clear grasp of english?
the media refer to the syrian govt as a 'regime'(a word with a very clear and ugly connotation) and commentators here follow suit.
to be consistent theyd have to refer to the governements of USA UK france turkey saudi israel canada etc as 'regimes'
....only the media wont...lets not let ourselves be drawn into their language game

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 1:59 utc | 29

the social media is a main battle ground for perception management
Syricide ‏@Syricide 1h
@i_magpie < #TinFoilHats now chasing half a million all killed by #Assad

Twitter is crawling with nutballs ..

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 2:01 utc | 30

The Truth About Syria and its Government:

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 2:32 utc | 31

"all they have to do a Noam Chomsky here, a Kucinich there"

You are fucking unbelievable.

It was not a joke when Kucinich went to Syria and Venezuela to meet with Assad and Chavez in the face of near universal media and political condemnation. It was not a trick when he writes publicly, at surely great cost to his prestige in the media, to take on every lie the Obama administration has made about Syria. And it is certainly no small feat for a politician to do the right thing when he could just have done what all the others do - get rich, nod their heads, and say "yes, boss" to AIPAC and the 1%.

Surely you have some idea how much the political work Chomsky has done over decades and decades, and the effect it has had on the critique of the US Empire. The endless late hours writing to expose US crimes in Indonesia, Central America, Vietnam. Work done analyzing the US media that has formed a basis for so much of the critiques made - even the ones you make, even if you won't admit or don't even know it. And I doubt it was easy for him, to take a stand during the Vietnam War even risking prison, to stand up and try to make change when he could have just had a cushy academic job.

I know the world is a terrible place, and I know that so much of what we are presented with is bogus. But that is no reason to reject all possibility of human sovereignty and toss out all hope and make the argument that because someone has received social recognition - the applause of many thousands of people who have read, judged, and decided it was good work - then they MUST be part of "the system" because good things and genuine people simply cannot exist in such a terrible world. And those who read, judged, and decided - they're just idiots and saps, fools who bought all of this as if by a toothpaste ad - because a valid human judgement simply cannot be in a world is just so awful. Well, I would agree that this is a terrible world, but it isn't quite so bad to think that there isn't a thin crack open for a brave human act to slip through like a little sunlight into a prison, or to believe that all human judgement warped and hopeless.

After all, if someone reads the comments of JSorrentine, or if (IF) you ever took a brave, bold, public stand, and someone thought "hey, this guy might be right" - does that just prove you were a phony all along? Or would "they" "get to you" before you ever had the chance - and do you ever ask yourself, if "they" did come after you, could you escape?

I refuse to simply give up. We are not wholly dominated yet. There are still some cracks of light left - in fact, events like the prevention of US war on Syria proves there may be quite a bit. But if the whole world shared your feelings - feelings what appears to me to be an utter hopelessness bordering on a slave mentality - we probably would be lost to the very last one.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 25 2014 3:33 utc | 32

Posted by: brian | Jan 24, 2014 8:54:46 PM | 28

"(regime).. makes you look like a troll."

Yeah, they're getting as careless/desperate as Obama, Kerry, al-CIAda & the BBC.
It's a good sign :-)
Trolling gets tricky when half-baked plots are collapsing like dominoes...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25 2014 3:48 utc | 33

above video:
22 min in, Joshua mentions that the powers that be engage in a conflict of their own: between those like US who want stability and those like israel who want instability: recalls this scene in thre movie Conspiracy Theory: ' Henry Finch. That they monitor
everything. That it was only a
matter of time. And now four
people are dead.

Liza reaches into her pocket, takes out the newsletter.

Elaborate on 'they,' okay?

There are all kinds of groups, all
kinds of initials. But they're
all part of two warring factions.
One: families that have held
wealth for centuries.
They want one thing. Stability.
Group Two: the boat rockers.
Eisenhower's military industrial
complex. They want instability.
It's a trillion dollar a year
business. When there isn't a hot
war, they make a cold one.

Cold War's over, Jerry.

So now they feed us terrorists.
To create fear. How much do you
think an airport security system
goes for? Then multiply it by
every airport in the country.

And you think Group One is at war
with Group Two.

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 3:49 utc | 34

British student arrested at Heathrow 'had £16,000 hidden in her knickers for Syrian fighters

by : #daily_mail

A student accused of trying to smuggle £16,500 in her underwear to terrorists fighting in Syria appeared in court yesterday.

Nawal Msaad, 26, and her alleged co-conspirator Amal Elwahabi, 27, are the first British women charged with terror offences over the conflict.

Msaad, an undergraduate from Holloway, North London, was arrested at Heathrow last Thursday as she prepared to board a flight to Istanbul with 20,000 euros wrapped in cling film in her knickers.

Hours later, police swooped on Elwahabi, who stands jointly accused of being part of an arrangement in which money was made available for the purposes of terrorism.

Yesterday the two women wept and hugged as they appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that the two Britons attempted to send the bundle of rolled-up notes to a suspected British jihadist fighting in Syria’s civil war.

Officers from Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command arrested Msaad at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 9.20am last Thursday. Elwahabi was arrested at 2.26pm at her home in Willesden, North-West London, where she lives with her two sons, aged five and seven months old. Yesterday both women spoke only to confirm their names, addresses and dates of birth.

Neither indicated a plea to the charge.

District Judge Howard Riddle remanded the women, who are both of Moroccan descent, in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on January 31.

The charges became public as police revealed that schoolgirls as young as 17 have been arrested at UK airports over suspected terrorist offences linked to Syria.

The head of the Counter Terrorism Command, Richard Walton, said several teenagers had been enticed to join jihadists fighting in the war-torn country, as he warned that the conflict posed a growing threat to national security.

Earlier this month, two 17-year-old girls from London and West Yorkshire were held at Heathrow as they were boarding a flight to Istanbul. Officers spent five days quizzing the girls before releasing them without charge. But Mr Walton said yesterday that other ‘boys and girls’ were being lured to join rebel forces fighting in Syria.

He said the numbers of Syria-related terror arrests had soared, with 14 in the first three weeks of this year – more than half the total for the whole of 2013.

He said: ‘We’ve had a number of teenagers both from London and nationally who’ve been attempting to go to Syria. That’s boys and girls, unfortunately.

‘It’s not just the odd one. It’s shocking that they are such young people.

He told the London Evening Standard it was ‘almost inevitable’ fighters would try to mount attacks in the UK on their return.

Security officials say hundreds of UK nationals have travelled to the war-torn country over the past two years.

Many suspected Islamic extremists have posted messages on social media networks about their experiences in a bid to encourage other Britons to join them.

One man who boasted that fighting in Syria was ‘5-star Jihad’ because of its ‘relaxing’ nature, and posted photos glorifying the violence, died in a battlefield clash 2,000 miles from his Hampshire home.

Ifthekar Jaman, 23, urged fellow Britons to join him, using his Twitter account to criticise parents who tried to stop their children travelling to Syria.

In many cases, the fanatics head there with the express intention of fighting alongside Al Qaeda.

Others leave the country intending to carry out humanitarian or medical work, but are quickly radicalised and decide to take part in ‘jihad .

While it is not a crime to travel to the war-torn country, police are concerned that many who have joined the rebel forces seeking to topple President Bashar Assad have made contact with terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda before heading back to the UK, where it is feared they could now be plotting terrorist attacks.

When radicals return, security officials have to decide if they pose an on-going threat to the UK public.

Options include placing them under intensive surveillance or applying for a terrorism prevention order.

Mr Walton said several police operations were under way to target British ‘facilitators’ organising terrorist missions to Syria

-" Charged: British student Nawal Msaad, 26, is accused of trying to smuggle £16,500 in her underwear to terrorists fighting in Syria " .

News Source : daily mail

Article link on the Internet :

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 4:04 utc | 35

Syricide ‏@Syricide 4h
Being reported that #Jarba has left #Geneva already..
Taken 2 days for them to realize they have no cards..

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 4:06 utc | 36

Syricide ‏@Syricide 5h
#Sochi #Olympics terror threat has links to camps in #Syria supported by the #US

The story of 'red beard'

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 4:08 utc | 37

Syricide ‏@Syricide 7h
#ISIS #terrorists kidnap, killed 120 journalists in 3yrs in #Syria.

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 4:15 utc | 38

Syrian supporters in Geneva chanting Allah Souria Bashar and thats it in front of an an Al-jazerra reporter so he can leave

Posted by: brian | Jan 25 2014 4:51 utc | 39

A banner currently on the homepage at SANA states: "A Syrian media source in Geneva denies what Lebanese LBC reported about Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi on rejecting Geneva communique , stressing that what the Minister said is that Syria’s official delegation has reservations on some points of Geneva 1 communique."

Yesterday Al-Zoubi said: "talks about transitional government are illusions. The Foreign Ministry has informed Brahimi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of its reservations on this item."

There you have it in plain English from the Syrian ministry of information: The Syrian government doesn't accept the Transitional Governing Body article of Geneva I.

From the above statements (and reading the Geneva I Communique and nothing else), it necessarily follows that the Syrian government has gone to Geneva II without accepting Geneva I. Virgile #26 says on the contrary: "The Syrian government... officially accepted the idea of a transition government.... The ultimate issue of the transition government is not contested by Syria." That comment by Virgile is either dead wrong or else it is adopting a notion of "a transition governmental body with full executive powers" that is a grossly perverted interpretation of the commonsense meaning of "a transition governmental body with full executive powers". I believe Virgile is simply dead wrong.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 25 2014 10:09 utc | 40

Farsnews report the same as you said.
هیئت دولت سوریه
با مصوبات کنفرانس ژنو 1 موافقت نکرد

Posted by: LOYAL | Jan 25 2014 10:27 utc | 41

Al-Zoubi told reporters this morning: "Particularly regarding Syria's reservations over Geneva I Communiqué... the major states were informed of these reservations directly after the issuance of the Geneva I Communiqué." . In other words the Syrian government has always had a stance of non-acceptance of the Transitional Governing Body article of Geneva I. Its stance today in 2014 is not a change from its stance in 2013 and 2012.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 25 2014 10:51 utc | 42

Someone within the Israeli power structure has decided this is a good time to pretend to be having second thoughts about removing Assad. The anonymous source spoke to AP, and the result has appeared in the London Telegraph and in the Times of Israel. I really think this is pretence rather than genuine second thoughts, or even a genuine attempt at insurance just in case he survives in power. I think it is pure, 100% disinfo, which mean in fact they intend to do the opposite, viz step up their covert support for the Jihadis. After all, at least according to me, the Jihadis will never really threaten Israel (or for that matter, Egypt); they will stage just enough atrocity spectaculars to make themselves look real, but no more. And this is because Bandar has assumed overall control of the global Jihadi network and he has thirty years of experience doing this. He knows how to ensure that chains of command are unbroken and people do exactly what they're told.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 25 2014 12:49 utc | 43


Having reservations and full rejection are two different matters.
The Syrian government had reservations about the non-clarity of the communique that left some areas open to imaginary interpretation, such as the implied resignation of Bashar al Assad.
If Syria had rejected Geneva I communique, it would not have been invited, just like Iran.
The fact that the opposition is continuing the negotiations proves that they are reassured that the Syrian delegation has accepted the essence of the communique. The opposition have put aside their other pre-condition. The Syrian delegation is proceeding with the negotiations under the supervision of Bashar al Assad, and the opposition has accepted that. They have no choice.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 25 2014 13:31 utc | 44


Look, the point is not to give up but rather to understand that the battleground the elite have chosen to wage their battle on is reality itself through the domination of and adherence of their narratives. They've said so themselves and looking at all the adherents of Leo Strauss et al that have risen up in the American ranks over the last 3 decades we can see that they are no longer bothering engaging in fact/counter-fact, point-counterpoint types of argumentation or debate. Simply they've come up with a story and they're sticking to it and to not set off to many alarm bells/protests their narrative consciously includes an opposition whose platforms are wholly part of their narrative. Sanders, Hedges, Chomsky, etc etc are allowed to state their cases because TPTB know that 1) it would be too overt a form of totalitarianism if they didn't allow at least some vestige of opposition and 2) for every Chomsky they'll just hire 4 more anti-Chomskys and will give the anti-Chomskys 4 times as much air time/print so he'll effectively be drowned out/marginalized. In the past, I've brought up Chomksy's et al fear/reluctance to approach the 9/11 "event horizon" - if you can call ridiculing people who are attempting to get at the truth concerning the events of that day "fear/reluctance" - and that opens up a whole other dimension as to their motivations but is somewhat tangential to my original points and have been discussed before.

As concerns "hope" "optimism" and all the rest, another masterful stroke of TPTB as concerns manipulating the public in recent years has been their honing of strategies playing upon - what I think is - the inherent good-nature of the common people as a whole. Instead of using fear and hatred as the main drivers of populace submission - although they definitely play a part, too - instead TPTB have taken what some call the Huxleyian route and played upon our positive natures to consolidate their power. This has been the hallmark of neoliberalism especially since Clinton and all of the Clinton-like clones - Blair etc - who have assumed power around the globe. It's masterful in that it presents TINA ideas in a way that it makes the people feel good/dutiful to participate in a system they have totally rigged to their own ends. Keep voting effers, keep voting.

I have to run and am trying to limit my prolix posting but I am not saying that we should all throw are hands up/curl into a ball and die but that rather we have to believe the situation is way more bleak than we currently believe. Let's all begin to think revolution is the only way to go, that the system is beyond salvageable, that ideas of class should be resurrected, that to counter the neoliberal TINA we have our OWN people's TINA: the end to the system somehow b/c there's no hope in trying to fix it around the edges. What I'm trying to get at WITHOUT pushing a specific line of attack - e.g., Marxism - is that people need to inherently start to believe that EVERYTHING the are told/see/watch/experience cannot be trusted and that they need to start from the ground up once again e.g., at the nuclear family level, then the town etc b/c the elite have pretty effectively closed things off on a national level for the foreseeable future. It's a paradigm shift in perception that needs to happen in order to counter the paradigm shift in perception that TPTB have very cleverly slipped over our eyes in the last 3+ decades.

I may not explain myself clearly in my posts b/c I can't point to a fully developed contemporary school of thought as of yet captures what needs be done to break this neoliberal hex over our planet but I'm trying to develop one b/c I do believe that our overlords have already spend a lot of time/money/energy to think through the options we - they have theorized - have left so that they can be effectively neutralized. Changing our outlooks so that their nonsense propaganda is utterly ineffective is a start and to do that that requires abandoning the prepackaged hope our betters try to instill in us 24/7/365.

Gotta run.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Jan 25 2014 15:33 utc | 45

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