The Democrat from Conneticuit Representative Jim Himes sponsored a letter addressed to President Obama imploring him to use the power of his office to restart international negotiations to end the conflict in Syria. Read the full text here.
Dear Mr. President:
We write with urgency to request that you use the full authority of your office to convene international negotiations designed to stop the civil war in Syria, stabilize the country, effect the return to Syria of all refugees, provide for political change towards a popularly supported, accountable Syrian leadership, and develop a cohesive, international strategy for the defeat of ISIL.
I highlighted the nonstarter for international discussion, which came in the first paragraph of the text. The Syrian government and its friends would likely accept making peace with internal elements of the opposition who are part of civil society and with individuals that have picked up guns but are willing to put them down. What we have heard consistently from the Syrian government is that groups claiming to represent the Syrian people from hotel rooms in Istanbul are not part of the internal discusions. That the Muslim Brotherhood, an unaccountable, hierarchial regional structure, is also excluded from becoming a legitimate political player in Syria. One ideal laid out by the House Democrats is sound; the safe return of Syrians to their homeland, but this continued insistence that an explicit transition away from the “regime” and the president is a nonnegotiable clause of negotiations that will fall flat in any international setting.