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Thread: US presses pause button in Syria

  1. #1
    Member Enigma's Avatar
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    Aug 2015
    Pakistan Europe

    US presses pause button in Syria

    The day began splendidly with the great news drifting in that the big powers and their partners in the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) have agreed at their meeting in Munich on Thursday to stop the fighting in Syria and to rush humanitarian aid.

    The ISSG statement envisages humanitarian teams to span out this weekend itself and all fighting to stop in a weeks time.

    But the devil lies in the fine print, after all. And as one delves deeper and deeper into what actually happened in Vienna, the spirit sags. Has anything really changed?

    Ploughing through the transcript of the joint briefing given by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the overpowering sense is about the play of words.

    Did you ever know that there could be difference between ceasefire and cessation of hostilities? Now, Kerry explains:

    So, a ceasefire has a great many legal prerogatives and requirements. A cessation of hostilities does not is not anticipated to but in many ways, they have a similar effect. A ceasefire in the minds of many of the participants in this particular moment connotes something far more permanent and far more reflective of sort of an end of conflict, if you will. And it is distinctly not that. This is a pause dependent on the process going forward, and therefore cessation of hostilities is a much more appropriate, apt term But the objective is to obtain a durable, long-term ceasefire at some point in time.
    Now that will only be possible if the parties themselves engage at the table in a genuine negotiation to implement what we have once again embraced, which is the Geneva process.
    Unsurprisingly, Lavrov who spoke immediately afterward reacted sharply to sidestep the minefield:

    (UN Security Council) Resolution 2254 talks about the ceasefire only. This term is not liked by some members of the International Syria Support Group. What Im referring to is how something that has been agreed upon should be implemented rather than try to remake the consensus that has been achieved in order to get some unilateral advantages.
    We have agreed to this because it is said clearly that this is the first step towards a ceasefire. John has explained that there isnt much difference actually, but this play in words is the same thing as statements about the existence of some kind of Plan B, statements that ground forces should be prepared. This is a slippery road there is no doubt that this will only lead to the aggravation of the conflict.
    In plain terms, the Russian military operations have met with devastating success lately in strengthening the Syrian regime and scattering the Syrian rebel groups. The US and its regional allies stare at defeat.

    They forthwith need an end to the Russian operations so that they can think up a Plan B. The Geneva talks will not have the desired outcome of President Bashar Al-Assads ouster unless the tide of war is reversed. Therefore, a cessation of hostilities in Syria is urgently needed.

    Whereas a ceasefire brings in legal obligations, which would commit the US to sit across the table and meet the Russian and, more importantly, Syrian military counterparts and draw up detailed modalities of implementation, UN Security Council supervision and so on, the cessation of hostilities can be punctuated at will without breaking international law.

    Meanwhile, US and its allies are keen to gain access to all nooks and corners of Syrian territory, which will eventually help to mobilize any military operations under Plan B, especially ground operations. The humanitarian missions provide the cover for reconnaissance and ground work.

    The West has let loose a massive propaganda barrage against the Russian operations. Equally, the refugee crisis moulds the western opinion. The NATO is inching towards the conflict zone. Over and above, Kerrys diplomacy plays to the domestic gallery in the US. There is already talk that if Hillary Clintons candidature falters at some point, which cannot be ruled out, there could be demands from the Democratic Party establishment on Kerry to step in.

    At any rate, a humanitarian intervention in Syria may be just what President Barrack Obama needs to salvage his reputation.

    From what Lavrov said, Russia will insist on holding the US to what has been agreed, namely, contacts between military agencies and discussions over a ceasefire. But Kerry has been adamant, too, in his final remarks:

    As Ive said previously, it is my belief and the belief of the majority of the members of this group that there will not be peace in Syria if Assad is determined to stay there and lead the country. Thats our belief. Other people have a different point of view. But we dont believe he can make peace because we dont think that certain countries and certain players involved in this will stop fighting until there is a legitimate transition a transition which allows the people of Syria to decide the future without coercion, without with full participation. And thats what has been adopted in this process. So if everybody honors this process, hopefully there can be a transformation. If they dont, there will be continued war.

    A miracle is needed to make this cessation of hostilities to morph into a durable ceasefire. There are far too many stakeholders, there are conflicting interpretations of what has been agreed upon, and the necessary flexibility to compromise is lacking. Clearly, the US and its regional allies have not conceded defeat in the Syrian war.

    By M K Bhadrakumar February 12, 2016

  2. #2
    Senior Member manuu's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    Pakistan Ireland

    Re: US presses pause button in Syria

    With the involvement of Russia they don't really have a choice.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hariz's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Pakistan UK

    Re: US presses pause button in Syria

    How can US press a button when they are not even supposed to be part of the combatants
    The Following User Says Thank You to Hariz For This Useful Post: Latif

  4. #4
    Member Latif's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    Pakistan Bahrain

    Re: US presses pause button in Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Hariz View Post
    How can US press a button when they are not even supposed to be part of the combatants
    Doesn't that speak volumes?

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