It is now confirmed that talks will be held late this month in Moscow, first with members of the opposition, and possibly later with representatives of the Syrian regime. With Khaled Khoja, the newly elected Head of the Coalition, categorically rejecting any form of participation, it's clear now who will not attend. It is still unclear, however, who will participate, and even less clear what exactly is the premise of the talks or the intended outcome. To some, the very idea of talks in Moscow is unacceptable given Russia's alliance with the Syrian regime. They describe Moscow 1 as a trap that aims at salvaging the legitimacy of the regime through a subsequent UN resolution. To others, participation is important precisely because of Russia's relationship with the regime; a relationship which makes it the only party capable of forcing the regime to negotiate a settlement.
In our new discussion on the Syrian crisis, we are pleased to share the opinions of fellows of the Centre on the logic and possible outcomes of Moscow-1:
Can Moscow 1 succeed where Geneva 1 & 2 failed? - Daria Vorobyeva
... Russia has shown initiative, which has little chance of failing since the only proclaimed goal is to allow Syrians to discuss their thoughts on possible Syrian solutions on Russian territory.
Can Moscow 1 succeed where Geneva 1 & 2 failed? - Stéphane Valter
... talking to Syrian officials, while reassuring Moscow, may in the end save people’s lives.
Can Moscow 1 succeed where Geneva 1 & 2 failed? - Abdul Hamid Qabbani
... in these current talks the striking difference is that there was no hope of a positive outcome .
From Moscow with Love? - James Denselow
In 1958, Bashar's father Hafez travelled to Moscow to learn night flying. Today it is the various Syrian opposition groups who may feel that they are flying into the darkness by attending the conference.