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Thread: Syria rebels say no longer committed to Annan plan

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    Syria rebels say no longer committed to Annan plan

    From Reuters:

    Syrian rebels are no longer committed to a U.N.-backed peace plan that has failed to end violence in the country and have launched attacks on government
    forces to "defend our people", a spokesman said on Monday...
    Kurdi also said rebels wanted a U.N. observing mission in the country to be turned to a "peace enforcing mission" or the international community should take "bold" decisions and impose a no-fly zone and a buffer zone to help bring Assad down.
    Syria violence flares after rebel deadline | Reuters

    Four points:

    1. The anti-Assad forces are making an assumption that the battlefield situation does not matter. That calculation is flawed. The on-the-ground situation matters greatly. By rejecting the ceasefire and launching attacks, they have opened the door to more aggressive military operations by the Assad regime's forces.

    2. Should the Assad regime launch an all-out operation aimed at smashing the rebellion and destroying its forces, the anti-Assad forces are not entitled to a new ceasefire, much less international intervention on their behalf.

    3. Civilians retain broad protections under international law. The armed elements of the anti-Assad movement do not (their protections are limited to those that apply to combatants).

    4. Given the lack of compelling U.S. interests in Syria and murky nature of the anti-Assad forces (no post-Assad governmental framework, no documents outlining political principles, no express willingness to seek peaceful relations with key U.S. allies such as Jordan and Israel), I do not believe the U.S. should become involved in operations that would be aimed at imposing a ceasefire that the anti-Assad forces chose to abandon or other measures such as a no-fly zone.

    In the end, whether or not the anti-Assad armed elements manage to prevail or are decimated will likely have little meaningful impact on the U.S. and its allies. However, were the U.S. to intervene to rescue those elements were the Syrian regime to launch a massive attack aimed at defeating them, that intervention could have a long-term destabilizing impact. It would send a signal that battlefield positions don't really matter, because parties at risk of defeat can count on outside intervention to bail them out of the consequences of their overreaching. Under such circumstances, parties in civil conflicts would be less willing to negotiate and more willing to attempt to settle disputes by force. The end results would be more violence and more loss of life (civilian and combatant) than would otherwise be the case.
    Last edited by donsutherland1; 06-04-12 at 02:37 PM.

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    Re: Syria rebels say no longer committed to Annan plan

    A day after the anti-Assad forces abandoned the ceasefire and launched miliary operations, the Assad regime's forces launched their own attacks. Reuters reported:

    Activists said army helicopters and tanks attacked rebel positions in the coastal province of Latakia for a second day on Wednesday, in the heaviest clashes there since the revolt against Assad erupted in March last year...

    The British-based Observatory said rebels seized control of police and intelligence buildings in the Latakia town of Selma overnight, before army reinforcements arrived at dawn.


    Assad names new PM, army pounds rebels | Reuters

    This increased combat is not surprising. It is a logical consequence of what happened yesterday. As noted previously, the international effort should be focused on protection of civilians, including but not limited to the provision of humanitarian aid to civilians. The international effort should not be aimed at bolstering any of the parties to the civil conflict, nor rescuing them from the consequences of their choices e.g., battlefield defeat and/or destruction. However, if both parties are willing and request it, international mediation could be provided, but neither party appears interested or willing to seriously consider compromise in what they view as a zero sum conflict.

    Temptations for pursuing a power-sharing arrangement should also be resisted. Such arrangements typically prove temporary in sectarian conflicts. The respite is shattered when one or the other parties seeks to settle the outcome in its favor. Such arrangements typically postpone what would be settled on the battlefield, but do little to address structural factors that drive the sectarian conflict, because both parties continue to view things through a zero sum lens.

    Finally, I strongly agree with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's June 1 op-ed that Syria does not meet the tests for U.S. military intervention. He wrote:

    Military intervention, humanitarian or strategic, has two prerequisites: First, a consensus on governance after the overthrow of the status quo is critical. If the objective is confined to deposing a specific ruler, a new civil war could follow in the resulting vacuum, as armed groups contest the succession, and outside countries choose different sides. Second, the political objective must be explicit and achievable in a domestically sustainable time period. I doubt that the Syrian issue meets these tests. We cannot afford to be driven from expedient to expedient into undefined military involvement in a conflict taking on an increasingly sectarian character. In reacting to one human tragedy, we must be careful not to facilitate another. In the absence of a clearly articulated strategic concept, a world order that erodes borders and merges international and civil wars can never catch its breath.

    Syrian intervention risks upsetting global order - The Washington Post

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    Re: Syria rebels say no longer committed to Annan plan

    Thank you for this information and informative analysis. (Actually, I'm just posting because I want to keep an eye on this interesting thread from my Control Panel! )

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