The ink had barely dried on the Munich ceasefire agreement announced on February 11 by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when only a few days later
Syrians and others were casting doubt that it could mitigate the fighting and suffering that Syria has endured for five years.
Why such skepticism? Shouldn’t the world be open to any initiative that world leaders suggest can help so grave a situation?
The problem, as I see it, is that these same leaders are ignoring four key lessons from the unrelenting war and destruction of the past five years.
Lesson number 1: Assad is the problem, not part of the solution
There is one reason for Syria’s dismal human situation: the Assad government’s response to peaceful protests in 2011.
Syria’s brutality has vastly outstripped the response of other Arab governments to the region-wide uprisings of the “Arab Spring.”
Long-simmering anger at Assad’s repression turned into a full-scale civil war. The fact is that the regime’s trail of destruction has been
unmatched by any other group, including the Islamic State, or ISIS.
A new report by a Syrian organization estimates that 470,000 Syrians have died since the conflict began in 2011. Another recent – and unusually
blunt – report from the United Nations documents the Assad regime’s responsibility for systematic policies of torture, intimidation, killing and
But despite this clear connection between Assad and Syria’s violence, the primary motivation for Western policy efforts in Syria appears to be
The Munich ceasefire, for example, specifically excludes ISIS from any suspension of hostilities. This is understandable since US involvement in Syria
has been focused on combating ISIS’ would-be caliphate, in the company of France and other countries,
The West’s focus on ISIS also helps explain how Russia’s recent military involvement has helped to revive the Syrian government’s political
control. By some accounts, Washington’s heightened concern to fight ISIS may make it more tolerant of Assad staying in power so that a rump Syrian
state could help contain the would-be-caliphate.
Countries like the U.S. may see ISIS as its prime enemy, as ISIS itself might wish.
But, for most Syrians, it’s the Assad government that deserves that dubious honor.
Read more at disinfo.com