July 15, 2011 | Quote

Syria’s Opposition Boycotts Government Talks

“It’s the regime talking to itself, essentially,” said Tony Badran, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“They reached out to certain veteran opposition figures to see if they can get them to show up – but only in a ‘personal capacity’ without acknowledging the opposition per se.

“I think the idea of a ‘dialogue’ with Assad is a rather obscene fantasy,” Badran said in an e-mail interview from Washington. “The protest movement has rejected it – its demand is clear: toppling the regime. The question is whether relevant countries – specifically Turkey – will buy into Assad’s charade to give him more time. The same goes for the US. Will it continue in its public position of urging ‘real dialogue’ or will it finally come to the realization that Assad has zero credibility or legitimacy?” Rights groups say more than 1,300 civilians have been killed and 12,000 people have been arrested since the start of demonstrations demanding more freedom began in March. …

“Maybe some of the grizzlier details were new,” Badran said, “but essentially, anyone looking at the videos coming out from Syria, or the testimonies of those who had the misfortune of being captured and jailed by the authorities, pretty much knew this.”