The Syria “Cease Fire”
by Elliott Abrams (February 29, 2016)
The Syrian American Council last week distributed a memorandum, whose full text is below, about the new cease fire that has been negotiated between John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov, and other parties. The Council, speaking on behalf of a number of Syrian groups that oppose both jihadis and Assad, found the agreement wanting, and explained why.
It’s worth a careful read, for it exposes what a bad deal we’ve signed, and what a benefit it is to the Assad regime, Iran, and Russia. At bottom, the agreement treats Russia like a peace partner, when in fact it is a partner of Assad’s in murdering hundreds of thousands of Syrians. And the agreement’s terms allow Russia and the regime plenty of room to go on attacking whomever they wish to attack, under cover of this “cease fire.”
Why would an American diplomat ever make this deal? There are two possible answers: he doesn’t quite understand what he’s doing, or he’s making the best of a hopeless situation created by President Obama’s refusal to act decisively in Syria. Either way, the deal is likely to fail– and “success” in its written terms will help Russia, Iran, and the regime gain ever more ground. Ten or twenty years from now, documents like this will be studied in grad schools, just as they study agreements like the Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed war in 1928.