While We Were Watching The Paris Tragedy, This Happened
November 14, 2015

While our eyes were all looking at Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry was hard at work elsewhere, working on a better solution than war to Syria's problems.

At a meeting in Vienna on Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry said leaders had agreed to set a Jan. 1 date for the beginning of talks between Syrian President Bashar Assad and opposition groups fighting against him, the Associated Press reports.

Within six months, those negotiators would be required to decide on a “credible, inclusive and nonsectarian” transitional government for the country.

That government would then draft a new constitution and an election, overseen by the United Nations, would take place within 18 months.

Important matters remain unresolved, however, including the role of Assad in the transitional government, which fighting forces in Syria would be considered terrorist organizations and who would be party to a cease-fire in the country.

Jordanian leaders will oversee deliberations on the latter issue, but the question of Assad is more complicated. The United States has insisted Assad be removed from power before the war can end, while Russia, Iran and others have said Syrians should have a say in who leads the country.

Even so, officials hailed Saturday’s agreement — reached by a group of 19 countries, including the U.S. and Russia — as an important step forward on the Syrian conflict.

Obviously, it's not a done deal. But it's certainly more productive than shaking our fists at "radical Islamists" and threatening to bomb them into oblivion.

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