Syria Daily: UN Envoy Tilts Toward Regime as Latest Geneva Talks End

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, July 14, 2017 (Xu Jinquan/Reuters)

The latest round of Geneva talks on Syria’s conflict ended Friday with no notable advance, but a shift in language by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura towards the Assad regime.

De Mistura put the emphasis on “counter-terrorism”, one of the four “baskets” in the discussion and the one upon which the regime wants focus. Bashar al-Assad and his advisors often use “counter-terrorism” to refer to all armed opponents of the regime.

At the same time, De Mistura said little about the other three baskets: a new Constitution, free and fair elections, and a political transition — opposed by Assad if he has to relinquish power.

The UN envoy justified the tilt by saying that the regime delegation had given no indication that it would discuss transition. He said he felt the UN was expected to say where it stood on terrorism, “the main issue being discussed at the highest possible level elsewhere”.

He played down the lack of any apparent advance, especially with the Syrian opposition, by saying there was “no breakthrough” but also “no breakdown and no one walking out”:

What I do believe is that what are going to be the next steps of the international community in wanting to see an acceleration of the end of this conflict may help the government to be ready to address the political process.

De Mistura pushed back his projection for the first direct regime-opposition talks. He said earlier this week that it could be before the next Geneva talks in late August and “even sooner”, but yesterday he said it could come during the next rounds, now pushed back to September.

The opposition High Negotiations Committee finally met de Mistura on Friday but gave no indication that it was setting aside the demand for a political transition, as well as calls for an end to the Assad regime’s attacks and sieges and for the release of political detainees.

The head of the regime delegation, Bashar al-Ja’afari, tried to take advantage of De Mistura’s statement by saying that the issue of “terrorism” should be referred to the Security Council.

Ja’afari then attacked the US and Turkey. He spoke of “massacres” by the American-led coalition supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their offensive against Raqqa, the Islamic State’s center in Syria. Then he declared that “the deterioration of the humanitarian situation” — far from being the outcome of years of attacks and sieges by pro-Assad forces — was also because of “Turkish expansionist intentions in northwestern Syria”.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. After having reduced the city to rubble, the “forces of liberty” are now engaging in ISIS-sytle crimes. Many videos are now arising.

    Stream of floating bodies near Mosul raises fears of reprisals by Iraqi militias:

    “All were heavily decomposed, most bound and blindfolded, some mutilated. The corpses began arriving last spring, but as the mission to oust Isis fighters from the once-thriving city intensified, so too did the number of dead floating towards the west bank town of Qayyarah.”

    Post Mosul “Liberation” and the useless iraqi government paving the way for a future ISIS surge:

    “Now that Mosul has been freed the Ninewa government is running into political problems. Governor Nufal Hamadi al-Akub was ejected from the ruling Nahda list over charges of corruption and other issues. That could be pave the way for his removal from office. Political turmoil in the governorate could pose problems for political, security, reconciliation, and reconstruction plans in the future.”

  2. His excellency Mr. Ojalan, the formerly Marxist-Leninist-Stalinst, PKK leader is so happy to have opened his eyes and discover that “nation states”, even of the Marxist variety, are there to service capitalism, and his new “democratic nationalism” or “self-administration” mantra, not being Marxist anymore, however retains his feverish anti-capitalism:

    “My realization that I was a positivist dogmatic was certainly connected to my isolation. In isolation I grasped the alternative modernity concept, that national structures can have many different models, that generally social structures are fictional ones created by human hands, and that nature is malleable. In particular, overcoming the model of the nation-state was very important for me. For a long time this concept was a Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist principle for me. It essentially had the quality of an unchanging dogma. Because real socialism hadn’t overcome the nation state model and saw it as a basic necessity for modernity, we weren’t able to think of another form of nationalism, for example democratic nationalism. When you said nation there absolutely had to be a state! If Kurds were a nation they certainly needed a state! However as social conditions intensified, as I understood that nations themselves were the most meaningless reality, shaped under the influence of capitalism, and as I understood that the nation-state model was an iron cage for societies, I realized that freedom and community were more important concepts. Realizing that to fight for nation states was to fight for capitalism, a big transformation in my political philosophy took place. I realized I had been a victim of capitalist modernity.”

    I guess to hell with nationalism, to hell with Marxism and Stalinism, but let us remain anti-capitalist. But there is only one true anti-capitalism, and that is socialism. This idiot likes to learn the hard way. There will be no substantial difference between his “democratic self-administration” and good old Stalinism. Should warm the heart of our own Barbar’ian.

  3. “Backwardism” – if you don’t like the question, just shoot the interviewer:

    “Baghdad (AIN) –MP Kadhimal-Sayadi of the State of Law Coalition shot fire from his personal weapon at an official at the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council on Tuesday.

    Reliable source told AIN “The shooting incident took place at a an Iraqi local satellite channel when MP Sayadi felt abused by a question from the Spokesperson of the SIIC, Baligh Abu Kalal, during an interview on Dijla Satellite Channel.”

  4. BÖG & IFB fighter İmera Fereya Yeşilgöz on the Rojava Revolution and implications for internationalist revolution.… 7/13/2017

    With their focuses on direct democracy, women’s liberation, ecology, and inclusiveness beyond ethnic and religious differences, along with the direct inspiration taken from the ideas of the late Vermont-based anarchist philosopher Murray Bookchin, the Rojavan revolutionaries inspired anarchists and anti-fascists from across the world. 2/8/2017

    A Hollywood movie telling the story of a group of Americans fighting alongside the People’s Protection Units (YPG) against Islamic State (ISIS) is set to be produced.

    According to the Hollywood Reporter, actor Jake Gyllenhaal is teaming up with director Daniel Espinosa for an adaption of the Rolling Stone article, “The Anarchists vs. ISIS.” 3/28/2017

    • “With their focuses on direct democracy, women’s liberation, ecology, and inclusiveness beyond ethnic and religious differences, along with the direct inspiration taken from the ideas of the late Vermont-based anarchist philosopher Murray Bookchin, the Rojavan revolutionaries inspired anarchists and anti-fascists from across the world.”

      Lol this is exactly the modern western Antifa creed!. Basically old kurdish traditions, beliefs and singularities are being forcely replaced by the sludge of post-modern western marxism while the process is being sold as a “liberation”. This explains why so many western leftists are fascinated with their new guinea pigs.

      An they have already started to hollywoodize the whole thing, “The Anarchists vs. ISIS”?, come on!, the evil capitalist yankee airforce did all the job, commies reaped the benefits.

      • Exactly. When a creed makes lying a central facet of their ideology, you know that they are poseurs.

        It is amazing how many bleeding hearts will fall for this rubbish. Repackaging Marxism with new bells and whistles and calling that “Antifa”, while the “Antifas” are reviled in the western world as totalitarian losers.

        In fact they want Kurdish nationalism plus socialism, give it a face lift call it “self-administration” an oxymoron, and sell it to the simpletons of the West. In other words national socialism – but hey they are anti-fascists! The extreme left meeting the extreme right in a happy marriage.

  5. To get the [Rogue One: A Star Wars Story] character Jyn Erso’s look for actor Felicity Jones, filmmakers looked at Kurdish female freedom fighters as well as Japanese influences.
    [ ] 12/11/2016

    Japanese YPG fighter: Kurds, Arabs and foreign volunteers work together against ISIS in Syria 4/23/2017

    SDF creates female Arab battalion, aims to fight ISIS and protect women’s rights 7/11/2017

    • “SDF creates female Arab battalion, aims to fight ISIS and protect women’s rights”

      How can you protect women´s rights when you are forced to wear Apo´s phallic effigy on your shoulder?, isn´t Apo´s (The “Uncle”) daily totemic cult itself a symbol of the most regressive patriarchy?.

    • As long as these SDF batallions take orders from the PKK, they are so oh so liberating for women and minorities and Arabs. The minute they stop taking orders, then they are to be sent to the black prison of Efrin. And they call that “self-administration” Anderson-Bookchin anarchism. Only western regressive leftists will fall for this charade.

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