"The basic fundamentals of the Doha talks were: 1) A rejection of the scenario of partitioning Syria, as it will create more instability and provides no end to the war, 2) Adopting the parameters laid by the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura and by Moscow, 3) Working on an unofficial demarcation of areas of influence, 4) Negotiating, separately first, with Arab Sunni players and the Iranians to determine the final status of these areas of influence, a la Taif agreement, while leaving the door opened to direct talks later on, 5) General elections in Syria with a prior understanding that Assad will not run and that the new government will include representatives of all components of the Syrian society.
(Taif was the deal that ended the Lebanese civil war. It was based on an unofficial partitioning of the country to areas of “natural” sectarian and political control combined under a sectarian dosed central government)" MEB
The author recognizes that this "solution" is partition in all but name as it was in Taif1 -Lebanon.
That agreement was negotiated over the heads of the Lebanese combatant factions and Hafez al-Assad by the triad of; Philip Habib, Dick Murphy and Rafik Hariri. Habib was then Reagan's world-wide diplomatic mister fix-it. He had been raised in New York City in a Jewish neighborhood although he was the child of Lebanese Maronite immigrants. He spoke Yiddish and supposedly had a magic touch with those who spoke the language (and their overseas kin). Rafik Hariri was the darling of the Sudeiri faction of the Saudi Royal family. He had begun life as a poor boy in Sidon, Lebanon, had emigrated to SA, had become a Wahhabi and made vast amounts of money constructing public buildings for the royals. Rumors abound as to what the connection was but I will not list them here. He was a Saudi "citizen" at the time of negotiations. And then there was Richard W. Murphy, the US ambassador in Saudi Arabia. I worked for him there at the time. He and Habib were busy most of the time traveling around the ME in Hariri's plane trying to unravel various Gordian Knots. They schmoozed their way to what looked like a peace deal between the Lebanese (Gemayel) government of the day and Israel. That fell apart when Hafez al-Assad learned of it. The Lebanese were desperate for an end to their self immolation and the Habib/Murphy/Hariri flying carpet managed to arrange a meeting at Taif in Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, this was held in one of the royal guest houses that Hariri had built. There, the Saudis and the Americans arranged a deal that effectively partitioned Lebanon while preserving the image of a single sovereign country. The deal did not require Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. Hafez-al-Assad gave his assent with the understanding that Lebanon would be within Syria's sphere of influence. The Saudis required that Hariri resume his former Lebanese citizenship and be appointed prime minister by the rump parliament that theoretically still existed in Beirut or what was left of Beirut. The US assented and someone informed the Lebanese of the agreement. Lebanon has been a mess ever since with massive sectarian and political tensions just below the surface of daily life. Lebanon continues to be treated as a regional pawn by all those interested. Perhaps the Lebanese deserve this for allowing themselves to be abused and participating in the abuse. Perhaps Lebanon, a colonial construct, should never have been a single country. It was, after all, merely a French conceit. For this deal to be made required not only the total exhaustion of the Lebanese fighting factions but also the acquiescence of all external players.
The Saudis have now been busy buying off Sisi. That should work in this context. Turkey will be enthusiastically "on board" under present management. Are Russia, Hizbullah and Iran likely to accept defeat at the hands of; the Children's Crusade, the Izzies, and the 'Desert Irish?"
I doubt this is possible considering the mischief the US is fostering against Russia, the general attitude towards Iran of The Borg, and American insistence at Israel's direction that Hizbullah are merely terrorists. pl