Syria violence flares after rebel deadline | ReutersSyrian 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.
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.