Syrian Opposition Demands Regime Change
by Stephen Lendman
With government and allied forces smashing US-supported terrorists, they’re in no position to demand anything.
Washington, NATO, Israel their rogue allies demand it anyway. So did Syrian opposition delegates meeting in Saudi Arabia days earlier.
A Syrian National Dialogue Congress will be held in Sochi, Russia at a date not yet announced.
All parties committed to peaceful conflict resolution are invited to attend. Winning the peace remains a formidable challenge, especially with unacceptable regime change demands, contrary to international law.
In Riyadh, 140 delates met on Wednesday and Thursday, Saudi-sponsored meeting on Syria, their interests world’s apart from the fundamental rights and needs of Syrians.
Early Friday, they announced an agreement to send a delegation for peace talks in Geneva next week, beginning on November 28, 50 “unified” delegates expected to attend.
They’ll include Saudi-backed so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC) members, the largest bloc, along with others – all hostile to Damascus.
The HNC demands Assad go as a prerequisite for ending nearly seven years of war – nonstarter for Damascus, Moscow and Tehran.
Syrian opposition delegate Bassma Kodmani said others in Rihadh were noncommittal about participating in the Russian-sponsored Syrian National Dialogue Congress.
Multiple earlier rounds of Geneva talks achieved nothing. With opposition delegates demanding Assad go, along with calling for a transitional governing body, including “members of the present government and the opposition and other groups…formed on the basis of mutual consent” isn’t an encouraging sign for talks to fare better this time than earlier.
Having liberated most of Syria, greatly aided by Russian airpower, Damascus has considerable leverage.
It’s amenable to new internationally monitored elections and constitutional changes, according to what Syrians approve – likely by national referendum.
In 2012, despite opposition boycotts and raging conflict, Syrians overwhelmingly approved new constitutional provisions.
Among other reforms, political pluralism was established for the first time. So were presidential term limits and press freedom.
Damascus fully complies with Security Council resolutions and international law – along with Russia, obeying the laws of war.
International law also affirms the right of Syrians alone to decide who’ll lead them, free from foreign interference.
Washington and its imperial allies have different notions about post-war Syria. Demanding Assad step down is a prescription for failure in Geneva and Sochi.
So is continued illegal US occupation. America is a hostile invader.
Damascus, Russia and Iran oppose its presence in the country without Syrian permission – not forthcoming.