… from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: The Syrians have made a good move here. There is no point in having the Saudis there, or any of the foreign backed terrorist groups. While their state sponsors may have some immunity for aiding and abetting terrorism, their minions do not.
To allow them into the talks is going to set them up for amnesty when they are over. So if they want to get excluded from the talks due to their insistent demands, then that is not a bad price for them to walk away, but as marked men for the rest of their lives. Under the Bush doctrine, Syria has permission to rendition these people and strike them anywhere they are. So does Russia or anyone else.
The terrorist opposition folks are only holding the cards they came in with now, which is inflicting more terror to retain the support from their sponsors. It is just a matter of time before they are eliminated from holding territory, so why give them anything at this point? Syrian FM Walid Mualem has already put out the call for the armed opposition groups within the ceasefire to join in the final battle to wipe the foreign jihadis out.
As Putin said when the Russians came in… it was better to spend the money now in Syria to kill them on the battlefield versus waiting until later when they are conducting urban warfare and terror in their home or other countries.
The US with its drone strike policy has actively engaged in this strategy. I would love to see the drone program put under the UN, where we have a more representative group calling the shots on who gets whacked. I would even like to see a Dancing with the Stars-type UN TV show where the world public gets to vote weekly for which terrorist-supporter government leader gets whacked off the world stage.
As long as state sponsors of terror enjoy immunity, we will always have terror. And if the public cannot even bother to get that discussion on the table, then it effectively has surrendered to just nibbling around the edges on the terror threat, allowing it to go on forever and whenever governments find it useful… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … March 12, 2016 –
The Syrian foreign minister says it is only for Syrians to decide on the country’s future elections, calling the departure of President Bashar al-Assad a “red line” for Damascus ahead of the next round of UN-brokered peace talks on Syria.
Walid al-Muallem made the remarks during a Saturday press conference in the capital after the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said the new talks due on March 14 in Geneva would discuss the formation of a new government, a fresh constitution, as well as UN-monitored presidential and parliamentary elections within 18 months.
The Syrian top diplomat, however, said no one “has the right to discuss presidential elections. This right is exclusively for the Syrian people.”
Damascus wants the negotiations to result in the establishment of a “unity government” followed by appointment of a committee to either write a new charter or make changes to the current one.
Muallem further rejected the possibility of discussing the fate of President Assad with any party.
“We will not talk to anyone who talks about the position of the presidency. Bashar is a red line, the property of the Syrian people,” Muallem said, advising those who nurture this idea not come to the talks.
The foreign-sponsored opposition group has repeatedly called for Assad to leave the power.
Opposition only has 24 hours
The Syrian foreign minister also stressed that the Damascus panel would leave the talks after 24 hours if the delegation of the Saudi-backed opposition coalition does not arrive by then.
“Our delegation will leave for Geneva tomorrow… We will wait 24 hours and if no one is there, then we will return,” Muallem said.
The last round of UN-sponsored peace negotiations fell apart early in February after the so-called opposition, known as the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), left the talks amid the Syrian army’s Russian-backed gains against militants on several fronts.
The HNC entered Switzerland more than a day after the government, and waited for another two days to go to the UN headquarters.