Syrian Peace Talks Crumble Before They Even Begin

Posted: Nov 07, 2013 12:01 AM

China-North Korea: For the record. China's top negotiator on North Korean nuclear issues arrived in Pyongyang on Monday. The one-sentence official press report gave no details about the visit by Wu Dawei, China's chief negotiator at long-stalled six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program.

China's daily foreign ministry press spokesman said the purpose of Wu's visit is to hold "a work discussion" with the North Koreans about future Six Party Talks.

Comment: Wu was last in Pyongyang in late August. Thus far his efforts to arrange an early resumption of the Six Party Talks have failed.

Pakistan: The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan - also called the Pakistani Taliban -- said it would begin targeting the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership for its purported support of the United States. The group also said that it would stop holding peace talks with the government and that the death of its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, in a suspected drone strike would be avenged.

Comment: This is typical of the Pakistani Taliban's responses to past leadership decapitations by US drone strikes. There will be no substantive talks and there will be more attacks and killings.

Russia-US-Syria: The Geneva II peace conference on Syria will not be held in November, according to Russia, Al Arabiya reported on 5 November. This announcement coincided with a Russian accusation that the US could not deliver a unified opposition counter-party that could speak authoritatively for the opposition.

Meanwhile the Damascus government said it has no intention of ceding power at any peace conference.

Comment: The Syrian opposition leaders outside Syria are in disarray and are disrespected by the leaders of the fighting groups in Syria. There will be no talks in November.

Egypt: Egyptian media sources have reported a "state of calm" in Cairo on 5 November following clashes on the 4thin reaction to the first trial session of ousted President Mursi. Eight people were injured but no deaths have been reported.

Meanwhile, a pro-Mursi alliance called for staging massive protests in Egypt and abroad in support for Mursi "in the face of coupists."

Comment: The anti-government protests appear to be dwindling. Mursi's first court appearance should have occasioned more protests than have been reported, if Mursi and the Brotherhood had the support they claim.

The lesson for the government is that Mursi's trial will not generate significant civil disorder provided the court controls the activities in the gallery of observers and the press.

End of NightWatch


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