Nothing about the current Peace Talks on Syria, proposed for Monday in Geneva, is certain. They might happen but the higher likelihood is that they will be postponed. The anti-Assad opposition might or might not attend. If it attends at all, the talks themselves will not be direct, and deep differences on the way forward completely dim their prospects.
In a nutshell, U.S. Secretary John Kerry's persistence is the only positive element around the whole process, as opposing factions trade accusations of terrorism and treason, and ground realities become increasingly detached from then diplomatic vision. Added to this, regional differences between Iran and the GCC countries plus Turkey, as well as the Russian backing of Assad, make the current exercise a mechanism to buy time and leverage until different military realities take shape.
No list, no invites
At every turn, the Geneva process clashes with the realities from Damascus to Idlib and beyond while holding very little prospect and leverage to change them.Joyce Karam
As Liz Sly points out in the Washington Post Russia is using its strengthened position on the ground to reframe the negotiations. Moscow's calculus after more than hundred days of strikes in Syria, is to twist the opposition's arm and pressure the United States into accepting the new military realities, hence leaving the regime intact and forgetting the thought of a real transition. Such a proposal builds today on a weakened Free Syrian Army, and increased fear in the West from ISIS. However, neither the United States nor the regional actors or the opposition are ready to accept it.