West Sticks to Demand that Assad Must Go
January 23, 2014 • 9:18PM

Behind all of the fanfare and speeches at the Jan. 22 opening session of the Syria peace talks at Montreaux, Switzerland was one simple and obstinate fact: The European, American and Turkish governments have invested so much political capital in the demand that Assad must go that they are so far unwilling to drop that unconditional demand.

Even though the language of the June 2012 Geneva I agreement that was the foundation for this week's negotiations says nothing concretely about Assad being ousted from power, Secretary of State Kerry made it a centerpiece of his brief speech at Montreux. And, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official deeply involved in the Geneva II process, the same is true for the British, French and Turkish governments.

The deal that will be on the table on Friday, when the face-to-face negotiations begin between the Syrian government and the Syrian National Coalition, representing only a segment of the opposition groups, is for Assad to be removed and for the bulk of the existing Syrian state apparatus—the military and intelligence services included—to form a national unity government with secular opposition factions, to wage war against the Saudi-backed jihadists, particularly the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The delusion among Western leaders is that they can drive a wedge between the Assad inner circle and the rest of the current governing institutions to force the split. President Obama, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, British Prime Minister Cameron, and French President Hollande have all staked their political credibility on the insistence that "Assad must go," despite the fact that three years into the conflict, the Army and state security institutions have remained loyal to President Assad and the Syrian government is actually scoring military gains on the battle field.

The transparently obvious timing of the Qatari-bankrolled "dossier" accusing President Assad of war crimes and the threat by British Foreign Secretary William Hague to bring Assad before a tribunal at the Hague is all part of the theatrics aimed at getting Assad to leave. A retired U.S. military officer with decades of experience in the Middle East scoffed at the US-European-Turkish scheme. "Assad is winning the war. Why should he leave?" He forecasted that the talks will not succeed, that Russia will shift to increasing its military support for Assad, and that the battle for Syria will rage on for several more years.

Lyndon LaRouche has warned repeatedly that Syria is, in fact, a flashpoint for a much bigger war, drawing the United States, Russia and other nations into a conflagration that can go global and even lead to thermonuclear war. In a recent webcast, LaRouche emphasized that any solution to the Syria crisis must begin with a recognition of Syrian national sovereignty and self-determination. Those core principles of international law were strikingly missing from most of the speeches on Tuesday at Montreux.