The Syrian opposition withdraws from talks and Assad keeps smiling

The West's divisions keep Assad smiling. Photo:

If there is one thing that characterises the West's strategy in Syria - it is division.

We saw in the EU this week, Britain and France want to arm the rebels, the rest of the EU doesn't. In the US President Obama being very cautious, others, including John Kerry want to do something.

The opposition in Syria - the rebels - are also in a mess. There are so many divisions that it looks doubtful whether the talks in Geneva will go ahead.

This started off as a popular protest against a dictator, it morphed in to a civil war - it is now becoming a regional conflict. With Sunni against Shia, but directly involving Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and it's a cold war struggle. The West and Russia are almost arm-wrestling over weapons.

So we're entering very dangerous territory and hopes for peace are very faint. President Assad is not winning, but simply by being there, still there after three years, he's not losing, and he's still smiling.