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Opinion: Fake Peace Talks - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Can anything be worse than brutally torturing 11,000 people to death and then releasing footage of their corpses? One might say that some of the recent comments made by the Iranian foreign ministry’s spokesman are much worse. She said that releasing footage of the dead on the eve of the Geneva II conference was suspicious. In other words, it was not the footage itself, but the timing of its release that was suspicious. One might also argue that the Russian position is even worse, particularly that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said the international community should forget Syria and move on. Regardless of what he said, when it comes to humanitarian issues one can expect anything from Russia regardless of the importance of the issue at hand. This is evidenced by Mr. Lavrov’s comments; he has been passive all along.

Others may argue that the West’s interest in expanding the UN archive of footage documenting war crimes is worse than the crimes themselves.

Let me to tell you what counts as an incredible atrocity: torturers and murderers in Syria not only torture people to death in the most sadistic ways, they also send their photographers to document the hell they have created, and then process and keep those photographs like they were photographs of a wedding party or a festival.

The military photographer who took the photos I mentioned above has fled to an unknown location. I cannot imagine how he sleeps at night, or how he and his colleagues could take 55,000 photos of torture and depravity.

Those who committed these criminal acts are no doubt sleeping soundly. Lavrov and the other members of the UN Security Council also surely sleep at night, and the international community is now turning its attention to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, one of Vladimir Putin’s greatest achievements.

The UN has fulfilled its duties completely: No Syrian will die in a poison gas attack ever again. The 1,600 who died from chemicals were too many, as though those dying of hunger, barrel bombs, or Putin’s warplanes are inconsequential in international law.

We live in an empty, fake and bogus world. What does it mean to go to Switzerland on invitation from the UN when the Security Council is deadlocked? What will they discuss in Geneva if a clear and final position from Russia can not be discerned? Can Geneva II really change what others have failed to change in the past? Or is it Iran’s “flexibility,” or the American “strictness,” or Europe’s “clarity” that will change things this time?

What will they negotiate in Geneva if the international community needed months of talks just to agree to send bread to Syrian refugee camps? Will they be discussing the humanitarian catastrophe, the likes and scale of which have never been seen before in the Arab world? Who will represent the 10 million refugees, the tens of thousands of people tortured, displaced and humiliated, the people whose homes and lives have been reduced to rubble and tears? None of them can participate in the Geneva communiqué, and Ban Ki-moon cannot possibly know their names.

With the UN deadlocked and the Russian bear busy preparing for the Sochi Olympics, it appears that the international community is only interested in accurately counting the dead and the victims of famine. All we can do now is wait for the forthcoming UN report to emerge.

Samir Atallah

Samir Atallah

Samir Atallah is a prominent Lebanese journalist, author and political analyst.

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