McClatchy DC quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani on why no Syrians have been invited to the peace talks in Vienna:

“Nation states like to talk about this conflict like it’s something a bunch of gentlemen can sit down and reach a rational agreement over and then the players on the ground will just do as they’re told. Obviously, it’s not that simple,” said Faysal Itani, a Syria specialist with the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.


That’s why excluding opposition figures at this stage is what Itani, of the Atlantic Council, called “the right thing to do” from a purely pragmatic standpoint. With four years of unchecked bloodshed, he and other analysts said, it’s time to hash out a more realistic plan for what a transitional government might look like. The dream of the Syrian opposition coalition moving in as interim authority has evaporated.

“To have included them at this stage would’ve meant that the thing would’ve never happened or collapsed immediately,” Itani said. “It’s humiliating, of course, but this whole Vienna thing is a test.”

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