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No Easy Fix for Syria (Op-Ed)

Mark Galeotti

It is not assent in our time, it competence good never even happen, and even if it does, substantially won’t last. It is not the result of humanitarian impulses and diplomatic good will, though of cynicism, exhaustion, and geopolitical calculation. Even if it does take effect, it is expected to be injured by local breaches and tit-for-tat claims of who is to blame.

For all that, it would be a mistake to write off the “cessation of hostilities” devise announced by Russia and the United States on Feb. 22, and due to take outcome Feb. 27.

Grounds for Hope

First, it is easier to start meditative about a lasting allotment during a truce than in the center of fighting, however apart a prospect of a understanding between Damascus and at slightest some of the rebels competence now seem. Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Russian allies are still anticipating to expand and consolidate the area underneath their control. The rebels have not deserted their joining to toppling the regime. But if there is to be any settlement — and I highlight if — it will come from dialogue.

Secondly, it allows and requires the Russians to do what they have pronounced they are there to do — beat Islamic State, a terrorist organisation criminialized in Russia. There is now the prospect for the kind of combined — if not indispensably coordinated — U.S. and Russian aerial assault that competence be means to make critical inroads into the movement’s military, domestic and economic capacities.

The partial cease-fire agreement is also an opportunity to call the participants’ bluffs. Moscow and Damascus have prolonged used the art of “talking while fighting,” giving the appearance of openness to dialogue, while perplexing to change the situation on the belligerent to their advantage.

Likewise, many of the insurgent groups, some of which are small some-more than bandits and warlords’ retinues, have been means to point to the regime’s atrocity to excuse their own.

Now, they will all be forced to make good on their commitments, or be hold accountable for their failure.

Finally, each day, each notation the guns are wordless is good for ordinary Syrians — for a race that has spent years held in the ruthless crossfire of a formidable and intractable war. It is doubtful to make a major disproportion to the flows of refugees (indeed, many competence courtesy this as a good impulse to make a run for it), though any equal will concede assist to reach populations in desperate need.

Obstacles to Progress

This essay is being created before the partial cease-fire is meant to take effect, and it competence all have depressed by by the time we review it. Damascus and Moscow competence have no devise to observe it. But that is unlikely: They know full good they will expected face censure if it does break.

More to the point, the rebels are a ragtag collection of units, leaders and movements, with mostly extravagantly opposite aims and approaches. Even in the best-case scenario, not all will observe the cease-fire. Ascribing censure will be many reduction useful than fast efforts by the guarantors—Russia and the United States—to besiege and control any internal skirmishes.

Perhaps many attribution is the extent to which this is such a multi-vectored war.

On the supervision side, not usually are there pointed though genuine groups between opposite factions, there is the much some-more clear order between the regime’s dual backers: Russia, that mostly works by the military, and Iran, that has built a parallel energy bottom by the militias in the National Defense Forces, upheld by Lebanese Hizbullah.

Then there are the Kurds of northern Syria, corroborated by Washington, demonized by Ankara. Turkey is creation an aggressive play for regional authority, and currently with some support from Saudi Arabia.

There are other obstacles to progress: Israel, Iraq, the Gulf States, and a operation of others concerned in this infamous energy play with clearly reduction seductiveness than Moscow or Washington in a quick resolution.

Assuming at least some of the fighting does stop on Saturday, the attention on the belligerent will righteously concentration on the diverging campaigns of humanitarian service and anti-Islamic State warfighting.

The real tactful priority, however, contingency be to start to disentangle Syria’s tragedy from regional rivalries. For as prolonged as Syria is still treated as the board for some Middle Eastern diversion of Risk, temporary, prejudiced and not totally acceptable lulls in the fighting are going to be about the best it can accept. 

Mark Galeotti is highbrow of global affairs at New York University and expert in Russian confidence services.

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/560585.html