That the Syrian opposition took weeks to agree on a representative delegation hits at an essential problem with the Geneva process: its format. The Russian, American and U.N. architects of the process have retained a regime/opposition binary model that is no longer reflective of the multi-player conflict on the ground. Consequently, attempting to squeeze all non-government forces into a single delegation resulted in a bitter dispute that imperiled the talks before they began—as we saw in the lead-up in regards to which faction should or should not be part of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC). It also precluded from the talks important actors in the war that command significant territory and power, and are Continue reading
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Ibrahim al-Assil is a Syrian political analyst and civil society activist who serves as a resident fellow at the Middle East Institute. He is also a director at the Orient Research Center-DC Office. His work focuses on the Syrian conflict with an emphasis on different aspects of security, civil society, political Islam, and political economy. Al-Assil is the president and a co-founder of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement, an NGO formed in 2011 to promote peaceful struggle and civil resistance as a way to achieve social, cultural, and political change in Syrian government and
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