It took a lot of zigs and zags, but eventually common sense seemed to have prevailed and the UN has officially announced that Iran will be invited as a full participant to the Geneva 2 conference. The Obama Administration should probably commended for being rational and not gone down the insane road of trying to negotiate something in Syria without inviting Iran. Most of the credit in this case goes to Putin and Lavrov who from the beginning made Iran's full participation a condicio sine qua non for a Russian participation to the planned conference. Apparently, the USA's agreement was "bought" by a rather infantile face-saving ploy to "dilute" Iran amongst other wholly irrelevant countries such as Austria, Luxembourg or Mexico. I think of them as "diplomatic plankton". That's fine - everybody present understands "who is who" and "what is what" - and most participants will simply wait to be told to sign on the dotted line by the real players. As for the "opposition" - the Saudi backed Takfiris refused to attend, the US-backed "moderates" will show up. This is basically the best possible lineup.
What can we expect now?
Nobody knows and your guess is as good as mine.
Ideally, the best possible outcome for Syria would be a deal between the US and Syria which would leave Assad in power, the organization of a multi-party elections and constitutional reforms to be adopted by means of a referendum. In plain English, this means "Assad remains in power". This is the logical solution if only because 1) by all estimates Assad has the support of a majority of the Syrian people and 2) his regime has won the war. This is what Russia and Iran would prefer. The Saudis will never accept that. Which leaves the US to decide whether this is an acceptable option or not. Considering that the US Neocons are firmly in control of Congress and the US corporate Ziomedia, it would be politically very very difficult for Obama's Administration to agree to such a deal. With US elections coming up fairly soon, I really don't think that the US will accept that.
Second option, is the same as the first one (organization of a multi-party elections and constitutional reforms to be adopted by means of a referendum), but with a clear date for exit foreseen for Assad. That is a much better option for the US which could "declare victory and leave" - an old and honored US tradition. The big problem with this option is that the Syrian people might not like being told that their President and victor of the war must leave "kuz the US says so". Russia also said many times that "only the Syrian people must decide who is in power" which could indicate a Russian rejection of such an option. Both Iran and Russia might not want to weaken the winning party by agreeing to what can only be called a "US ordered coup via a UN Conference". Besides, even if Assad agreed to step down, what would the guarantees be that the US will not reignite the war at a latter date? The US will push for that option, but I don't see the other side accepting either.
Option three is obvious: no agreement is found and all parties depart blaming each other for the failure. This is a bad outcome almost by definition, but I think that time is on Assad's side and that means that this is a worse outcome for the US than it would be for the Syria-Iran-Russia alliance. It is hard to imagine a mechanism by which the tide of the war could be reversed and, in fact, all the signs on the ground are that the opposition is very close to a military and political collapse. Of course, whether the Ziocrazies in the USA understand that, or even whether they are willing to accept the facts in "realworld" is dubious. They might press on just because they are so out of touch with reality.
Which leaves option four. In very general terms a viable "option four" would probably be based on some kind of alliance between the pro-US opposition and the regime against the
Takfiris. I honestly don't know whether such an option can be adopted in Geneva II. Assuming a fourth option is found, that is the one that, God willing, will be hammered out in detail between Russia, the US, Iran and Syria and, if the relevant parties agree, will be submitted for (automatic) approval to the "diplomatic plankton" representing the so-called "international community". If that happens, the KSA will be told in no uncertain terms to "give it up or else", at least for the time being.
What is your take on this situation and what do you think will happen at Geneva II?
Please let us know.
UPDATE1: Just as I had finished the above, I saw a news item saying that the Syrian opposition announced that unless Iran is dis-invited, they will not participate. In a tweet, SNC spokesman Louay Safi wrote: "The Syrian Coalition announces that they will withdraw their attendance in G2 unless Ban Ki-moon retracts Iran's invitation" reports the BBC. For the life of me I cannot image a dumber statement to make: don't they understand that their only chance of survival is to hammer out some kind of deal with the regime in order to get rid of the Takfiris? This makes me wonder if the SNC is being pushed towards that kind of suicidal stance by Israel and the US Ziocons (a la McCain). Does anybody still remember how the US told Itzebegovich to retract his agreement to a negotiated solution in Bosnia? But this is not Bosnia, but 2014 and if the SNC think that they can repeat the Bosnian tactic they are mistaken. If this is how the "moderate" opposition acts, I am inclined to think that there is only one solution left: a total military victory by the regime.
What is your take on that latest zag by the SNC?
UPDATE2: Now its the US which is "zagging": according to the BBC, the US is now also telling the UN that Iran must be dis-invited. Such a reversal by the US is infantile, unprofessional and simply utterly ridiculous. The more this kind of nonsense goes on, the more I wonder if Assad and Syria would not be better off simply winning this war without any form of negotiations at all...