Ban Invites Iran To Geneva II; Syrian Opposition Votes To Attend
January 20, 2014 • 5:10AM

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has invited Iran to the first day of the Geneva II talks, reported all the major international media. "I believe the expanded international presence on that day will be an important and useful show of solidarity in advance of the hard work that the Syrian government and opposition delegations will begin two days later in Geneva," Ban said. He also said that Iran had communicated an agreement to the terms of the "Geneva Communique."

Meeting in Istanbul on Jan. 18, the Syrian National Council, headed by Saudi asset Ahmad Jarba, "finally" voted to attend the Geneva II meeting, reported the Lebanon-based Al Akhbar. The vote took place after weeks of internal disputes that left the SNC with less power than ever. Seventy-five SNC representatives voted on the issue, with 58 for, 14 against, 2 abstentions, and one blank ballot. Another 44 members of the U.S.-backed coalition had withdrawn from the SNC and from the vote on Saturday.

According to the World Tribune, a conservative U.S. publication, Secretary of State John Kerry had threatened to withdraw all U.S. financial aid if the SNC did not go to Geneva.

"The Geneva II negotiation table is a one-way road aimed at achieving all the demands of the revolution... and first and foremost stripping the butcher (Assad) of all his powers," Jarba said after the vote, trying to show unity with other factions.

In this final run-up to the Geneva II meeting, there has been a flood of rumors and disinformation nearly every day. On Sunday, Damascus denied a report that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had made a statement vowing that he would not give up the Presidency or step down; a plan by the Assad government announced by Foreign Minister Muallem in Moscow, to institute a ceasefire in the rebel-held area around Aleppo, has been denounced as a fraud by opponents of the Geneva II meeting.

One thing is clear: there is a wider-than-ever gulf between the Syrian opposition in exile embodied in the Syrian National Coalition, the Free Syrian Army, the National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Syrians, and other mutating names, and the jihadis who control the majority of rebel fighters. Middle East sources have told EIR that there is "only one door to knock on for the Syrian rebels," and "that is Riyadh."