The United States and Russia brokered ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government and few of the fighting groups is scheduled for February 27, 2016, 00:00 local time. While Washington described the agreement as yet another major diplomatic achievement, it will not end the war in Syria, destroy ISIS or the al Nusra Front, or stop Iran’s and Russia’s intervention.
This agreement is viewed as part of the “process” in solving the chaos that Obama has directly contributed to. This “process” works mostly to postpone decisions and prevent necessary actions. They merely give Obama opportunities to make another of his meaningless threats, further weakening the U.S. standing in the world.
If the agreement holds, the ceasefires would help distribute basic necessities to Syria’s suffering population. It would also help to replenish the fighting groups to renew their supplies and better position themselves on the battlefield. But it is clear that the ceasefire will not end the war in Syria, destroy ISIS or the al Nusra Front, or stop Iran’s and Russia’s intervention.
President Obama expressed his doubt and went on to issue yet another empty warning: the “Syrian regime, Russia, and their allies [to] live up to their commitment,” because “the world will be watching.” So what? What will “the world” do to force an end of hostilities in Syria or the spread of ISIS?
Even if a partial ceasefire goes into effect, the bombing of ISIS and al Nusra is likely to cause many casualties also among rebel organizations in the same area.
And no matter how successful are the coalition forces against ISIS and al Nusra, when the jihadist ideology that motivates them is left unchallenged. Organizations come and go, but as long as radical Islamist ideology demanding submission to Sharia and the oxymoronic term “Political Islam” is accepted in the West, and groups dedicated to propagating Islam, often violently, are given preferential treatment and allowed to operate freely, jihadism will continue unabated and the lure ISIS and its ilk will continue to grow.
According to the ceasefire agreement, “the rebel organizations included in the agreement must undertake to stop fighting, refrain from attempting to take over new areas, allow the transfer of humanitarian aid to areas under their control, and implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (a resolution from December 18, 2015, which includes readiness to participate in political negotiations with the facilitation of the United Nations). These requirements also apply to the Syrian regime. The rebel organizations included in the agreement were required to give the United States or Syria their commitment to the cessation of hostilities no later than February 26 at 12:00.”
“The agreement explicitly states that military operations against these organizations will continue, including airstrikes by the Syrian Army, Russia, and the US-led coalition.
A Ceasefire Task Force will be established to supervise the ceasefire, based on the ISSG’s resolution of February 11, 2016. This task force will delineate the areas held by ISIS, the Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist organizations which are not included in the cessation of hostilities agreement (implicitly to be able to attack them without harming other rebel organizations). This force is supposed to handle any allegations of non-compliance with the ceasefire agreement.
According to the ITIC Spotlight on Global Jihad: “the Syrian opposition and other organizations (including Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, and the Free Syrian Army) have agreed to a temporary ceasefire. These organizations have made their agreement to the ceasefire conditional on receiving international guarantees, lifting the siege [on residential areas] and the release of detainees (Al-Durar al-Shamiya, February 20, 2016). At this stage, we do not know the formal response to the agreement on the part of ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front, which are not included in it.
Also this week, “the transfer of humanitarian aid to distressed areas in Syria had begun, under the supervision of the Red Cross and the United Nations (even before the cessation of hostilities agreement formally entered into effect). The US and the UN announced the entry of 114 trucks carrying aid for some 785,000 inhabitants in seven areas in Syria (Al-Mayadeen, Dimashq al-Aan, February 18, 2016). Aid is due to reach, among other things, the rebel-held towns of Madaya and Al-Zabadani, northwest of Damascus (which are surrounded by the Syrian Army) and the Shiite towns of Kafraya and Fu’ah, in the Idlib region (which are surrounded by the rebels). Testifying before the Senate, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that 144 trucks carrying aid were allowed to enter Syria.”
In the meantime, the fighting in the region intensified as soon as the agreement has been announced. So while the American and Russian diplomats are rejoicing another futile agreement, Syria and its civil population continue to suffer,