Annan backs off letting Iran negotiate in Syria

Kofi Annan has been pushing for some time now to have Iran help negotiate an end to the civil war in Syria.  As one of Syria’s few remaining allies Iran could play a very important part in helping to end the violence.  Unfortunately this will not happen.  On Wednesday Annan announced that Iran will not participate in the peace talks scheduled for Saturday in Geneva.  The current roster for the peace talks include the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Turkey.  It’s patently clear that the United States did not want Iran to have a seat at the table.  Letting them participate might have gone towards acknowledging that Iran has power and influence, which runs counter to the narrative concocted by the United States.  The US believes that maintaining the perception that Iran is weak and isolated will help them in succeeding to stop their nuclear program.  Of course this is unfounded and arrogant, but plays well for the domestic audience here that views Iran as a threat.  Congressional push back on Iran as a negotiator was also very loud.  Those in Congress preaching about ending the crisis seem to care more about sticking it to Iran than actually bringing about an end to the violence.

Whatever happens in Syria will have an impact on Iran.  As both a friend and neighbor to Assad, Iran will be a factor in whatever happens.  By cutting them out of the discussion Annan has insured that the role Iran plays will be more adversarial towards the West and those pushing for regime change than if they were involved in peace talks.  This represents yet another example of how the civil war in Syria is being fought over by world powers in a very complicated game of geopolitical chess.

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