On Saturday, in Geneva a strange show of unity was attempted by the world powers by making a commitment to support a new transitional government in Syria. However, diplomats led by Kofi Annan the envoy from the United Nations, failed to find a solution to their differences between Russia and the West on whether Syria’s president can take part in the transitional government.
It really did not matter because neither the existing government in Syria led by President Bashar al-Assad nor his different opponents have shown much interest in an accord such as the one Annan is proposing. Instead, both sides look like they are digging in for a long drawn out struggle where the winner will take all. Violence is once again ramping up and the confrontation could last for months or even years.
This Friday a meeting is to take place in Paris of the alliance known loosely as Friend of Syria and is likely to see the United States come up great pressure from Turkey and other Syrian opposition Arab allies such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Washington has worried for quite some time about backing the Syrian opposition, which it sees as badly organized, very disparate and too close to militants linked to al-Qaeda. The U.S. has limited its aid to non-lethal equipment like radios. In addition, the White House wants to avoid anything that might look like an open-ended Afghan-style military intervention during an election year.
However, the U.S. also acknowledges that a certain number of allies have decided to become more involved in supporting the opposition campaign.