UN Mediator Holds Syrian Peace Talks to High Standard of Failure

GENEVA – With U.N.-sponsored Syrian peace talks still underway after a last-minute intervention to save them by the U.N. mediator brokering the talks, all involved parties have accepted the use of the roadmap used for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. While neither side in the conflict has made clear concessions–just like with Israel-Palestine peace talks–both the government and the rebels expect to be lauded for merely showing up.

“To be honest, we looked at other peace models,” admitted Lakhdar Brahimi, the Algerian that both the Arab League and the U.N. have tabbed as special envoy to Syria, “but we figured the failed peace talk model that we know is better than the potentially successful peace talk model that we don’t know.”

Lakhdar explained that it was the commitment to the Israeli-Palestinian model that led to Iran being disinvited from the talks, even though the country is a major political and military player in the region. According to Lakhdar, for the model to work, it is crucial that such regional players are excluded on the account of objections from foreign superpowers.

Lakhdar did say that, while the model does have flaws–mainly its inability to achieve long lasting peace–it was not without merit. Lakhdar mentioned the long-standing history of “breakthrough” photo ops featuring Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the media excitement regarding every new summit, and the comforting predictability of nothing ever actually changing.

“If we get one photo op out of this that is as beautiful as the Rabin-Arafat handshake, I will consider this to be a success, facts on the ground be damned,” said a cautiously optimistic Lakhdar.