Russian analyst: Why the Syrian ceasefire makes sense

Syrian children are seen in a destroyed car in center of Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2015. Photo: Halil Fidan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Sputnik International reports:

[…] In his analysis, published in the Russian business magazine Expert earlier this week, [Russian journalist and military analyst Pyotr] Skarabahaty recalled that “a series of major victories by the Syrian Army over the past month have created the appearance of a well-oiled military machine ready to clear the country from every remaining terrorist. Amid the background of the ceasefire, endorsed by the leaders of Russia and the US, some experts have plunged into grim speculation about a Russian betrayal of Damascus, while others rushed to build grandiose plans for an offensive deep into territories controlled by Daesh (ISIL).”

At the same time, “at the beginning of the week, militants from the self-declared caliphate” cast aside the predictions and planning of both sides, “organizing a serious offensive in the center of the country. In order to stop the breakthrough and unlock the ‘lifeline’ linking Aleppo with the coast, it became necessary for the Syrian Army to transfer significant forces from the north.”

This, Skarabahaty suggests, is a clear indication that “Assad’s army still has a weakened immune system following a serious illness which almost finished off the armed forces and the country as a whole” over the last five years. “And under such conditions, a conditional truce no longer seems like such a silly idea.”

[…] Why This Ceasefire is Different

“In 2012,” Skarabahaty recalls, “rebels seized the Syrian city of Homs. The Syrian Army began an operation, but was stopped by political pressures from the West against the Syrian government. As a result, Damascus lost control over Homs and other territories, and foreign fighters and arms  began flowing into the country through the borders with Turkey and Jordan. In Iraq, Daesh appeared, smashing the American-trained Iraqi army, and gaining access to a huge arsenal. The second truce, in 2014, nearly cost Assad his head, resulting in the loss of 80% of the country. What is it that allows the legitimate Syrian government to count on a different outcome this time?”

The answer, the journalist suggests, has several layers.
First off, “the peace process launched on Moscow’s initiative and agreed to by Washington, has all the signs of a serious and well-thought out initiative. This is demonstrated by the high level at which the agreement was reached, [including] Vladimir Putin’s speech and the official expression of support in Damascus.”
“A truce for a period of two weeks, with the possibility of extension, will come into force on February 27, regardless of which anti-government militants support it. And here is a fundamental factor, which will eventually help weed out the ‘moderate’ rebels from the radicals, and end the accusations against the Russian-Syrian coalition about its destruction of the opposition.”
“The main issue with which Washington will now be engaged,” Skarabahaty says, “is the determination of the areas where fighting will be stopped, and listing the small groups subject to the agreement. This will not be an easy task. The Syrian front is not just a layer cake controlled by various groups. Sometimes it is impossible to determine which group militants belong to, and the terrorists themselves easily change their ideological colors, depending on the political situation and the favor of their sponsors.”

“However, the ceasefire puts the militants into a stalemate: don’t agree to the truce, and be listed as a radical, subject to destruction. Agree, and be listed as a traitor by your ‘principled’ radical neighbors. Therefore, here, like it or not, rebels will be forced to take the Syrian Army’s side.”

“The unintelligible palette of terrorism in Syria has long played into the hands of Assad’s opponents. Now, Russia is trying to sort this mess into its component parts, and to turn the militants against one another,” the analyst emphasizes.

Furthermore, parliamentary elections have been scheduled for April 13. “This means that in the militant–occupied territories entering into a truce, it will be necessary to provide access to government officials for the organization of voting and political forces for campaigning.”
“At the same time, a legitimate platform for protecting one’s interests through non-violent means will appear.” This, in turn, will be an important factor for Western observers, the journalist points out.
“Finally,” Skarabahaty writes, “Bashar Assad recently announced an amnesty for all former soldiers who deserted or went over to the enemy…The ceasefire is a good opportunity to work with them through various channels, maybe not for Assad, but for Russian advisors.”
Ultimately, the analyst suggests, the fundamental issue is not about those groups and territories which agree to the ceasefire, but those territories in which battles will continue – against Daesh, Nusra Front, and other militant groups classified as terrorists by the UN Security Council, including Ahrar ash-Sham. And given that these forces operate from Idlib to Aleppo, from Hama to Homs, this means that “fighting on almost all fronts will continue.”

All in all, Skarabahaty notes, “few could have predicted the plans of the Russian-Syrian coalition, and, moreover, could see the real condition of Assad’s forces. Four months ago, our Western partners and a host of domestic prophets predicted a second Afghanistan for Russia. Today, we are allowing Washington not to lose face, and to play by our rules. The price? One regiment of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces.”

co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

Filed under: conflict zones, latest, video


co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

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Grand master chess in diplomacy ,how the west get to have their cake but u cant eat it. Interesting article by Pepe Escobar who recently explains this whole charade. Some analyst think that the cease fire is trying to dupe the Syrians along with its allies for this allows them to regroup and hopefully start a new offencive. Wishful thinking. With the Iranian elections over I think that the syrians along with their allies are beating the west including Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Hell will freeze over before Syria will be Balkanized China Russia Iran and Lebanon know that if Syria falls so does the whole middle east nothing stopping them in partitioning of Iraq and Lebanon ,Iran would be next. So I think that the Ashkanazi-Khazarian mafia might have more shrewd plans up their sleaves The anti NWO regimes r years ahead of their evil deceptive plans.Sykes Picot /Balfour alla post modern era aint goin to wash. Hence do they want total global destruction which then they would have to pose the question who can we dominate and exploit if the whole world is doomed to nuclear fall out. I doubt it . They will try and try again. I can c the Syrians winning the war but a can’t c the Ashkanzi -Khazarian mafia allowing peace in Syria The Damascus and Homs bombings r freiendly reminders of that and the 290 Russian civilians blown out of the sky of Sinai is another example. Western people do not learn from History they have consistantly played their hands against the Russians during the empireal era and lost and the Chinese with the boxer wars hence unlike us in the west the two strong cultures never forget history and they r not about to let it repeat itself Iran has a bone with the west after the coup d’etat in 1956. So the western fascistic society that is en crouching on us and is well entrenched where everything is corporatised right down to essential goods and services and news is trivialised to the rich and famous be aware that the rest of the world which is a majority has woken up and has already sent a friendly warning to us be wary for if we do not change our ways it will be changed with or with out us. Our financial ponzi scheme is unravelling as we speak the west is so morally, intellectually and economically bankrupt that it is beyond a joke and Iran, Russia and China as well as India are all aware of it only the delusional west along with the MSM and their Oligarchs aren’t no matter how they try to picture that everything is ISQ InStatum Quotum to maintain the same. Wake up west before it is to late and millions more lives destroyed in the name of Corporatism. Yesterdays news gets wrapped in todays fish.


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