RIM TURKMANI, rimturkmani at gmail.com, Skype: reem.turkmani, @Rim_Turkmani
Turkmani is a co-founder of Building the Syrian State Current and is available for a limited number of interviews. She said today: “Geneva 2 is an international meeting. We have not seen encouraging signs that indicate an international agreement is going to be announced in Geneva 2, meaning that the outside players who are part of the proxy war element of the Syrian crisis will remain warring parties and this will continue to spoil any Syrian-centered peace attempts. This is why I think it is more important to have Iran present in Geneva 2 rather than the SNC [Syrian National Council]. And even if we imagine that there is international consensus around one solution, then the fact that Syrian civil society is not involved in the negotiations is an indicator that this is not a serious attempt to reach peace in Syria. There will be no peace in Syria without serious involvement from the civil society and women’s groups, they are the ones most able to express the needs and priorities of the Syrian society.”
JAMES JENNINGS, jimjennings at earthlink.net
STEPHEN BRONNER, bronner at rci.rutgers.edu
Currently in Iran, Jennings is executive director of U.S. Academics for Peace and president of Conscience International. Bronner is a professor of political science at Rutgers University. They have organized a group of U.S. academics currently meeting with Iranian educational institutions. See news release.
MATTHEW R. LEE, Matthew.Lee at innercitypress.com, @innercitypress
Lee covers the UN for Inner City Press. He said today: “It was a new low for the UN when Ban Ki-moon on Sunday invited Iran to the Syria talks in Montreux, and then after pressure from the U.S. and others rescinded the invitation less than 24 hours later. Ban’s stated reason was that Iran had not publicly agreed to the principles of the Geneva 1 Communique.
“But as Iranian Ambassador Khazaee told Inner City Press [video] later on Monday, Iran’s position on Geneva 2 remained consistent — certainly during the 24 hours in which Ban Ki-moon suddenly expressed dismay and reversed himself.
“Second, since the Geneva 1 Communique requires a commitment to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms, how are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both of which are among those still providing weapons and more to armed groups in Syria, invited to Montreux [where "Geneva 2" is being held]? Where’s Ban’s dismay at that?”
MUSA AL-GHARBI, musaalgharbi at gmail.com, @Musa_alGharbi
Gharbi is a research fellow with the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts based at the University of Arizona. Has written a series of pieces scrutinizing U.S. policy including: “Ignorance, Xenophobia & Toxic Alliances Inform Nuclear Standoff with Iran” and “The Obama Administration’s Case for Military Intervention in Syria? Bullshit.”