“What history teaches us is that after a crisis like this there is no going back,” the Algerian diplomat told the Jeune Afrique website ahead of his first visit to Syria since December, when he angered the regime by insisting that all powers be handed over to a transitional government. The veteran troubleshooter admitted “the entire world will not be present” at the talks, but said the alternative to a political settlement could be a failed state in the heart of the Middle East.
“The real danger is a sort of “Somalization,” but even more deep and lasting than what we have seen in Somalia.” More than 115,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Syria’s 31-month conflict, which erupted after the regime launched a brutal crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests.
In the latest blow to peace efforts, 19 Islamist rebel groups issued a statement Sunday saying anyone who attends the Geneva talks would be committing “treason” and “would have to answer for it before our courts,” implying they could face execution.UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, in Syria Oct. 29 on the most sensitive leg of a regional push for peace talks, has warned of the ‘Somalization’ of the war-ravaged country.
His grim warning came as fighting prevented chemical weapons inspectors from visiting two sites, although UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the mission to destroy Syria’s arsenal by mid-2014 was still on track.
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