Transient Intractability… Continuous Process
Despite the negative atmosphere preceding and during the eighth round of Geneva in its first and second stages, and despite the emerged difficulties, and the tentative date set for the next round (as stated in the final press conference of the international envoy), the holding of the round itself was an additional evidence confirming that the option of political solution has become a firm and irreversible option that no one can ignore or reject.
However, the steadfastness and slow progress of this option, is not without an intractable situation in the course of the political process, as evidenced by the eighth round which came to a standstill, after many hopes were expected from it. Hence, the first task today lies in breaking the stalemate at the finish line, which was the result of the free "gift" presented by the Riyadh platform extremists to the government delegation, by insisting on including into the final statement of the Riyadh meetings a precondition, that reflects a meaningless ambiguity, after the major changes that happened in the international and regional positions, and also under an incomprehensible silence by the international envoy toward the outputs of that meeting, as he has not played his required role in a timely manner to avoid putting this mine on the road to the political process.
The responsibility of the two parties lies in their misguided attempt to transform the Geneva platform into a battlefield of media and negotiation, and a field for the victory of one party on the other, contrary to what is required by the current situation, which is supposed to work in the logic of consensus, speaking in the language of consensus, and rising above the level of reactional and opportunistic behavior of one party toward the other, and the attempts to obstruct the solution, especially that everyone has declared his commitment to political solution and Security Council resolution 2254. Hence it is meaningless to accept the decision without working according to its logic, because the resolution, in text and spirit, was based on consensus, and the principle of consensus itself means to accept others, and to listen to them, and to engage with them, if necessary. At the same time, this means willingness to make compromise and concessions by the other side, even if these concessions are painful and cruel. It is also necessary to avoid arrogant exclusionary rhetoric and unrealistic slogans, which obscure any progress. Because the victorious, through the political solution, is ultimately not this or that party, but Syria and the Syrian people.
In any case, Geneva must not be transformed to a kind of political tourism, or media show. Geneva is the platform for a negotiated political solution, and this platform was found to perform a specific function. And as the previous obstacles were removed, the current intractability can be broken through, by taking advantage of all the progress and accumulation achieved over the past period.
Direct negotiations and the transformation of the international resolution into concrete facts on the ground is a matter of time, no more, no less, although it is a precious time for all Syrians, both proponents and opponents.
Kassioun Editorial, Issue No 841, Dec. 16, 2017