"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)



Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Ceasefire in Syria? (Aron Lund- Carnegie Endowment)

Is this the beginning of the end of the war in Syria? Read the statement put out by the United States and Russia in Munich, Germany on Thursday night and one might be forgiven for thinking so. But the conflict remains as intractable as ever.


It has long been obvious that some form of international understanding would have to precede meaningful negotiations among the Syrian parties, all of whom depend on foreign support to wage war on their countrymen. Such a consensus long proved elusive. But since 2014, three factors have converged to change all parties’ calculus about a limited agreement: the rise of a common enemy in the form of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, a thaw in American-Iranian relations, and Russia’s September 30, 2015 military intervention in Syria which shook up the familiar pattern of the war and shocked the international community into action.
Soon after the Russian Air Force began bombing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, the governments of the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and several other countries, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations and the Arab League, convened a meeting in Vienna. Together, they formed the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), an international contact group intended to facilitate a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.