After meetings between U.S. and Russian officials with UN-Arab League envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, it was announced that there will be no Geneva II meeting this month.
The real story of how the latest sabotage of Geneva II was engineered, is not set in Geneva, but in Riyadh, where, on Nov. 4, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and with Saudi King Abdullah. In those meetings, where Kerry’s assignment was to stroke the British-run Saudi Kingdom back into friendly posture with the U.S., Kerry virtually defined the Geneva II meeting as the venue where Bashar al-Assad would be replaced.
On Nov. 5, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi protested the reports of the Kerry meetings in Riyadh. “We will not go to Geneva to hand over power as desired by [Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud] al-Faisal and certain opponents abroad,” warned al-Zohbi in report by the official SANA news agency. “President Bashar al-Assad will remain head of state,” he said.
Also on Nov. 5, Kerry appeared at a press conference in Poland, the country he visited after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Challenged by a reporter about the Syrian government’s warning, Kerry said, “The Assad regime knows full well that the purpose of Geneva 2 is to implement Geneva 1. That has always been true. The Russians have accepted that. Every support group of the Syrian opposition has accepted that.
“The purpose is to implement Geneva 1. What does that mean? What is Geneva 1? Geneva 1 calls for the installation of a transition government with full executive authority by mutual consent, so both parties have to agree to put in place a transition government that is neutral that will bring about a choice for the Syrian people for the long-term future.”
In typical Obama administration double-talk, Kerry blamed Syria and Russia in advance, in case Geneva II fails to come off.
“Now, I don’t know how anybody believes the opposition is going to give mutual consent to Assad to continue. And the Syrian Government has accepted to come to Geneva,” Kerry said. “So I hope that the Syrian Government and the Russians and Iranians and others who support the Syrian regime will make certain that the Syrian regime will live up to its obligation to come to Geneva to negotiate a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria.”