Press TV has interviewed Daniel Patrick Welch, a political commentator in Boston, to discuss the collapse of UN-brokered Syria peace talks following the Saudi-based opposition’s call for a transitional government without President Bashar al-Assad.
Following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: What do you make of this postponement of the formal talks as far as the foreign-backed opposition groups are concerned, considering there was so much hype and so much expectations related to this round of peace talks?
Welch: I said this when the talks were first announced. I think it was the Western-backed movement to depose the Syrian government and in fact the coup in Syria lost the game. They lost it on the battlefield and so they are trying to regain it at the negotiation table. The problem is that this is all happening behind the scenes; no one is admitting that this is the real game. They always said Assad must go and they said it for five years and they didn’t get it and instead they lost and they are trying to [turn] this losing hand into a winning one by folding their cards and going home… or not going home; they are going to hang around in Geneva for whatever reason but they are very upset that their demand that Assad steps down is not part of the negotiations. It never was supposed to be and it is never going to be and they cannot force that onto the agenda again.
Press TV: Then can these talks move forward if there is no compromise being put forward?
Welch: If there is no compromise, no they can’t. And I think like I said in February this is really the expression of failure on the battlefield.
There has already been a military solution. With the help of the Russians, the Syrian army has the upper hand over a range of death squads that are hired and funded by the West to enforce yet another coup against a country that does not back its agenda and so since they lost they are trying to, like I said, renegotiate the negotiation.
The trouble is that the cards are all in place and they do not want to play ball, that they do not want to go along with what was always said that the Syrian people would decide: the fate of the president and the structure of the new government. Then they can go back to their military solutions which they can’t possibly win. So at this point it seems almost like … although it is a very dangerous game because people’s lives are obviously in the balance.
Press TV: Right, but then some of these groups at least, if not all of these Saudi-backed opposition groups, must be seeing some form of advantage in prolonging this peace process in not coming up with a tangible solution on the ground.
Welch: Well, that may be. What I see is they do not see any advantage in what they are doing now which is essentially playing out the last stages of a losing hand. So any sort of tie they can buy for, there are things happening… the US is grumbling about putting more special forces on the ground. There are more, you know, 3,000 pounds of ammunition and material that was sent into Syria by the Americans, God knows whose hands that is going to wind up in.
They are waiting for cavalry that is not coming. So it does not have to be rational necessarily, but it could be the only hand that they have to play at this point. We are essentially seeing, I hope, the light at the end of the tunnel.
But that is going to be a tangled and difficult thing to undo and to stall is basically the only card they have left to play.