Syria Ceasefire – RantAWeek

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Syria Ceasefire

Posted by Tyler Miksanek on April 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm

As the sun rose Thursday morning in Syria, a United Nations and Arab League backed ceasefire was scheduled to occur.  However, no one knew for sure whether or not the plan would be effective or if the fighting would continue.  Both sides, government forces and rebels, seemed hesitant to accept the plan and made it clear that they would still respond with violence if provoked into doing so.  Skepticism about the effectiveness of the ceasefire seemed to be everywhere.

Amazingly, throughout Thursday, violence was successfully reduced and the fighting had mostly subsided.  There were exceptions, and some skirmishes did occur, but these skirmishes luckily did not escalate to the point where the nationwide fighting resumed.  By and large, the ceasefire accomplished its main goal.

And yet, no drastic measures towards peace have been taken.  Both the government and the rebels still mistrust each other, blocking any peace negotiations.  Stopping the bullets is one step, but the creation of a peaceful solution to the violence is still a long way away.  Offering a helping hand, the United Nations wants to expedite the road to peace by sending in a team of monitors in order to watch over the situation and try to preserve the terms of the ceasefire.

Maintaining the present peace is important.  Syria is still extremely volatile, and the main reason for this volatility is that the Syrian government has not retreated their forces away from populated areas.  This failure to act by the Syrian government is sparking international concern that the ceasefire will not last for long.  One minor incident could disrupt the fragile status quo.

Another problem that the U.N. faces is internal disagreements over the endgame for Syria.  Many countries, including the United States, have stated that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must vacate his office for peace to be achieved, but Russia and China have both used their veto power in the United Nations Security Council to stop any direct action against Assad’s regime.  No international consensus has been reached, and the current six-point plan that the United Nations is using to guide its actions does not specifically mention a change in leadership.

The question here is whether or not peace can be achieved in Syria with Assad still maintaining his power.  While the U.N. has vaguely asked Assad to address the concerns of his people, it seems doubtful that rebels will accept nominal change after risking their lives fighting government forces.  Through internal indecision and disagreement, the Security Council has complicated its hope for a peaceful path forward by not having a shared vision for Syria’s future.  Still, their successful ceasefire represents some progress.

But what if the ceasefire falls apart?  If the blame clearly lies on Assad’s forces, there is a chance Russia and China may yield to pressure and allow more stringent methods to be taken against Assad.  Then again, they may not, and the only result will be more bloodshed.  If the violence is restarted by the rebels, the situation will increase in complexity as the moderate support the rebels have enjoyed from the Arab League may evaporate, possibly throwing Syria into a full-fledged civil war.

A lack of international cohesion on a plan for Syria has created a complicated path forward.  Still, as long as the ceasefire holds, the U.N. will have an opportunity to attempt to sow the seeds of peace.


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  • On April 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm Angela said

    Assad could possibly be taking advantage of the lack of rebellion for his own benefit, and this “peace” may afford him time to rejuvenate government troops. It’s fortunate that the violence is subsiding, but doesn’t it also mean that nothing has really improved since before the ceasefire? The rebels are not much closer to finding real peace.


    • On April 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm Tyler Miksanek said

      Definitely, I agree with you 100%. The problem the U.N. finds itself in is that there is no longer an easy way to create stability without removing Assad, and yet they have made it clear that their goals do not involve removing Assad. It’s a Catch-22!


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