In case you missed the headlines, 733 Iraqis were killed in January. According to United Nation’s reports, these figures did not include casualties from an embattled western province. Tragically, most of the victims were civilians. Sunni Muslims angry over their claim to second-class treatment by the Shiite controlled government created serious conflicts in the Anbar Province. The United Nations mission chief expressed concern about the struggle of thousand of displaced families in Falluja where they lack water, fuel, food, and medicines. Also a bomb exploded in an outdoor marketplace in Baghdad killing others. The Sunni-Shiite war continues.
Now, on to the BIG war in Syria. The news is not any better. By now, I am sure you are aware that the so-called peace talks ended with a thud. The Syrian regime came with an unyielding position that any discussion of the replacement of President Bashar Al-Assad was off the table. Well, da-a-h! That’s what the entire civil war is about.
As predicted from the beginning, the first face-to-face meetings turned out to be confrontations. As the sessions came to a close, the Assad delegation refused even to commit to return for the next round of talks previously scheduled in ten days. The UN mediator Lakhar Brahimi couldn’t even find position words to describe what had occurred in the heated head-butting that was anything but talks.
The aggressive position of Assad’s team represents the superior position they believe they now hold in the conflict. The infighting among moderates and al-Qaida-inspired militants has seriously crippled the rebels. In addition, most of the West has been retreating from the rebel side because of the Islamic extremists. The left-wingers do not want help from the West which has also fueled tension with their Western-backed opposition. As reported earlier, Syria is a backyard war actually waged by Iran against Saudi Arabia.
Some countries have been critical of the United States for backing away from leadership in this portion of the Middle East. As I have reported earlier, such a retreat is the smartest position the United States could take as the West remains in a no-win position no matter what they do. The Sunni-Shiite wars have gone on for centuries and will not quick because the West wants peace.
The Syrian situation is no different. The fighting will not stop until one side wins. Sorry. But that’s how it looks from here.