Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

As the rebel offensive against Bashar al-Assad has intensified, the Kremlin has sought to distance itself from Mr. al-Assad, signalling that it is resigned to him eventually losing power.

Reuters

Is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad really looking at entering peace talks with the rebels, two years into the civil war?

Reports today make it sound that way: "We are ready for dialogue with everyone who wants it ... Even with those who have weapons in their hands," Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem was quoted by Russia's Itar-Tass news agency. The comments were made during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

Measuring the Syrian government's seriousness to participate in dialogue as it battles rebels across the country is difficult, to say the least. In November 2011 it agreed to allow an Arab League observer mission to visit flashpoint areas of Syria and a similar UN monitoring mission was also agreed to last year.

Story continues below advertisement

But both endeavours failed utterly – with over one hundred people slaughtered in Houla when UN observers were located in nearby Homs and in Damascus.

What is interesting about today's news is the where and when: Mr. Mouallem announced the Syrian government's change of heart in Moscow. This could signal a change in Russia's position, with Moscow having back President Bashar al-Assad's regime since day one of the revolt.

Mouaz AlKhatib, the head of the internationally-recognized opposition, managed to split Syrian opposition members when unilaterally declaring he would negotiate with the Syrian regime if Damascus released 160,000 political prisoners and renew the passports of Syrian activists abroad on January 30.

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Qadri Jamil has denied that the authorities were ignoring Mr. AlKhatib's initiative, saying it was he who had ignored a previous government initiative.

Ali Haider, the regime-appointed minister for national reconciliation, said last week he was ready to meet Syria's armed opposition but his own political strength is limited.

But behind this rhetoric, the regime has no interest in serious discussion with anyone – opposition or others. The individuals who control the levers of power are hell-bent on a military solution, and will fight with all the power they can muster.

The opposition and the international community are facing a Mafia-type leadership, and it is hard to avoid concluding that the talks are merely window dressing.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies