Syria: Why did the US now take the Russian offer for a truce? What next?

Arrival of John Kerry, US Secretary of State in the conference "Supporting Syria and the Region". The event was co-organized by the Britain, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations. Date: 04/02/2016. Location: London. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jack Taylor.

Arrival of John Kerry, US Secretary of State in the conference “Supporting Syria and the Region”. The event was co-organized by the Britain, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations. Date: 04/02/2016. Location: London. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jack Taylor.

The US-Russia plan for a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria, endorsed by the UN Security Council on Friday 26 February kicked off in the early hours of Saturday and two days after is still more or less observed. Understandably the cease-fire may collapse at any moment but the US and Russia seem determined to keep it alive. The truce doesn’t include the Islamic State and the Nusra Front controlled by al Qaeda. Damascus forces under President Bashar al-Assad and his foes, the various rebel groups, have largely stopped the hostilities.

However, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units of YPG and their adversary Turkey both said they will abide by the UN resolution to stop fighting, but they will respond by force to any breach of the Security Council resolution. It goes without saying that the US and Russian air raids have stopped except when it comes to bombing the jihadist forces.

Rather too late for the people

Alas, it’s rather too late for Syria, a country that has actually ceased to exist, with the various conflicting forces having dissolved and partitioned it and now fighting for some more square miles of land. After five years of hostilities more than 11 million are homeless and almost six million of Syrians have abandoned their countries. They have been seeking refuge in the neighboring countries the Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with more than one million of them having reached Europe through the Greek islands and the Balkan corridor. Another five million are thought to be refugees in their own country trying to avoid fighting and famine.

This newspaper has extensively covered the Syrian issue, but this is not the time to analyze who is to blame for turning the ‘Arab spring’ peaceful protests for democracy in Damascus and the other major cities of the country, into an inferno of deadly civil war. At this point is much more important to assess the weight of the US-Russia plan for the “cessation of hostilities”.

Turkey: The reluctant ally

As expected, the Islamic State fighters would try to undermine the cease-fire in which they are not participating. Understandably, the US – Russia plan foresees that the butchers of the hard-line Sunni ISIS will continue to be fought until they are totally extinct. In this context, last Saturday morning, the ISIS militants attacked a town near the Turkish borders held by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Their purpose was obviously to implicate the Turkish forces against the Kurds, given that Ankara is clearly looking for opportunities to attack the Kurds.

However, the US coalition war planes swiftly came to help the Kurds with at least 10 air strikes. This was also a reminder to Ankara that the American forces implicated in the Syrian fighting consider the Kurds as their close ally. It seems that this was necessary because during the last few weeks the Turkish air forces have been hitting the Kurdish positions everywhere in Syria. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly provoked the US to decide on which side they are, Turkey’s or her enemies the Kurds.

The Americans are now convinced

In any case, the Americans seem finally convinced that apart from the Kurds, on the Syrian soil there are no other effective and determined foes of ISIS. The same is true for Assad but he is under Moscow’s spell. The various rebel groups that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been backing for years in the Syrian civil war are either neutral or even cooperate closely with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front.

All of them have only one common cause, to extinguish the Bashar al-Assad regime and together with it the entire Alawite population of Syria which numbers some three million people. Alawites are a small sect of the Shia Islam. That’s why the Shia followers of the Lebanon Hezbollah and the Iranian government have been very decisively and successfully helping Assad and his Alawites. This proves then that it’s impossible to extinguish an entire people of three million and Russia made sure that this will not be the case.

Assad: A part of the solution

In view of this reality, it seems that Washington finally was forced to come to terms with Moscow and accept that the President Bashar al-Assad and the part of the population he stands for cannot be absent from the final arrangement. Russia has been insisting about that since the very beginning of the hostilities and Vladimir Putin had made it quite clear that he will not abandon Assad to the be slaughtered by the Sunni militias.

Apparently, the Americans also had to consider the views of their closest allies in the Syrian issue, the French. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre of January 2015 and the bloody Paris attacks of last November that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded, the French government along with other Europeans understood that there was no other way to deal with ISIS and the other jihadist forces than total war. Seemingly, the Americans are now also convinced of that and understood that Turkey and Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted in this affair.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia forced into the deal

Towards the same direction, the newcomer in the world affairs Tehran pressed Paris and Washington to respect the rights of the Syrian millions of Alawites. The result was that the US had to come to terms with the other elephant in the room which is Russia. Understandably, the Americans didn’t like it at all but it seems that the US presses on with its foreign policy plans to their limits, but when those limits appear insurmountable Washington appears ready to compromise.

This is what is now happening in Syria. Undoubtedly, the final arrangement will comprise Assad leading his Alawite compatriots and the Kurds in the north. As for the truce, it holds well despite some isolated incidents that do not alter the overall positive picture. In any case, there is every indication that it will lead to the negotiations table under the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

A new global financial crisis develops fast; who denies it?

How did Facebook fool the Commission that easily during the WhatsApp acquisition?

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

On the euro but out of it?

Turkey caught in a vicious Syrian circle bringing terror and war at home

JADE Testimonial #1: Marcello @ Enlargement

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

The Parliament accuses core EU countries of exploiting their dominant political position

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

EU regional differences betray an unjust arrangement

World Health Organisation and young doctors: is there any place for improvement?

Summer pause gives time to rethink Eurozone’s problems

Two women threaten to tear the world apart

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

MEP Cristiana Muscardini @ European Business Summit 2014: International Trade in Europe

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

Can Europe and the US reverse their nationalist and xenophobic drift? Is the West becoming belligerent?

The Brits are not an exception and that’s why they voted to leave

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

ECB’s first flight in Eurozone’s banking universe will be just a reconnaissance

The British “nonsense”, the relaxed Commissioner and the TTIP “chiaroscuro” at this week’s Council

MWC 2016: IoT experts fret over fragmentation

Why France, Italy and the US press Germany to accept a cheaper euro and pay for Greece

IMF: How can Eurozone avoid stagnation

High level political talks didn’t break the stalemate in Ukraine

“Airbnb and YouTube are two great examples of a crowd based capitalism”, key stakeholders outline the boundaries of the 4th Industrial Revolution in Davos

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Trump asked Merkel to pay NATO arrears and cut down exports ignoring the EU

EU to gain the most from the agreement with Iran

Who cares about the unity of Ukraine?

Brexit: when the hubris of one man can set the UK, the EU and the entire world on fire

Hollande protects the euro from the attacks of extremists

New chapters in EU-China trade disputes

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Europe slammed by Turkey’s shaky Erdoğan; both playing with immigrants’ agony

Inegalitarian taxation on labour haunts Europe’s social model

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

The EU Parliament and the ECB unknowingly or unwillingly fail to protect our financial assets

ECB’s new money bonanza handed out to help the real economy or create new bubbles?

Dear China

ECB: The bastion of effective and equitable Europeanism keeps up quantitative easing

JADE President opens JADE Spring Meeting 2014

Cancer research put at risk by General Data Protection Regulation? The possible dangers of a data privacy EU mania

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

France and Poland to block David Cameron’s plans on immigration

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s