Skip to main content

Geneva II: A Chance to End Syria’s Tragedy

There is hope that the Geneva II conference can help stem Syria's bloodshed.
Colonel Abdul-Jabbar al-Aqidi, commander of the rebels’ Military Council in Aleppo, launches a mortar shell at the frontline in the Al-Sakhour neighborhood of Aleppo, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman   (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX10WGT

People ask why the United States is reticent in supporting the rebels in Syria. The United States has been reluctant in arming the opposition from the outset of the conflict, in contrast with the firm support of the Russian Federation to the Assad regime.

I think the answer may be found in the priority given by the Obama administration to the policy of reducing the nuclear arsenal with the Russian Federation. This policy takes into account the fact that Russia, while no longer the superpower the Soviet Union was, considers safeguarding its interests in Syria as the projection of it being a major power.

Hence the United States, and as Secretary Kerry has indicated, is seeking to ensure an acceptable transition formula while gradually increasing measures of military support to the rebels. The administration has not, so far, yielded to the increasing calls by some senators, such as John McCain, to fully arm the rebels, raising its concerns about certain elements of the opposition.  If Geneva II is to take place, this relative reticence on the part of the United States might contribute to a breakthrough that can ensure a cease-fire and a transition formula, simply because all the bridges between Washington and Moscow are not burned yet.

While this preliminary analysis provides a measure of optimism — and although it might be considered by skeptics as wishful thinking — I do believe that a relatively successful outcome can be achieved. This should be the priority of all those attending the meeting, as too much Syrian blood has been spilled and it high time to put an end to this tragedy.

Clovis Maksoud is a former ambassador and permanent observer of the League of Arab States at the United Nations and its chief representative in the United States for more than 10 years.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial