Global Independent Analytics
Navid Nasr
Navid Nasr

Location: Croatia

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Syria: Peace and Victory

Whether it is Sudan, Yugoslavia, Serbia itself, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, China, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Iran, the methods, and the eventual (or hoped for) outcome of partition vary only slightly.

As of the time of this writing, February 27, a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria has gone into effect, brokered jointly by Russia and the U.S. This is news that should be welcomed by all people and all movements that are on the side of the Syrian people and their government. The "facts on the ground" have never been more favorable since the escalation of the conflict in 2012 and the fall of much of Aleppo in late 2012 and early 2013. Aleppo itself is now surrounded by the Syrian Arab Army and allied forces, with the remaining "rebels" trapped and cut off from their supply lines. The "Azaz corridor" has fallen and, along with it, their lifeline to Turkey. Deir ez-Zor, Dara'a, Latakia, wherever you look in the country, Syrian forces have gained the upper hand and are regaining territory from militants, both domestic and foreign, and inflicting heavy punishment on them in the process.

Even though it may be counter-intuitive for many who think, believe and want Syrian and allied armed forces to seize the opportunity to thoroughly wipe out the armed opposition, a ceasefire right now, is the best way to move forward and ensure victory in the war. The terms of the ceasefire are such that they both isolate the most numerous, vicious and deadly Jihadi groups while also reaching out an olive branch to the other, more nationalist-minded, opposition groups who have actual roots in Syria and don't necessarily have their hearts fully set on killing, enslaving or driving out all the Alawi, Ismaili, Druze, Christians, Shi'ites, secular/apostate Kurds, and other minorities.

Note carefully here what both President Putin and President Assad have to say about it:

Putin noted strikes on terror targets are to continue.

“As for ISIS, Al-Nusra and other terror groups – regarded as such by the UN Security Council – they are totally exempt from the truce,” he said. “Strikes against them will continue.”

Moscow and Washington are to work together to determine which groups will not be targeted.

“This is a real chance to stop the bloodshed in Syria,” as well as to deliver humanitarian aid, Putin said in a televised statement. Russia is to exercise its influence on Damascus, he said, adding that he expects to see the same effort from the US with regards to the opposition forces and allies.

[...]

...Syrian President Bashar Assad said Damascus is ready for a ceasefire, but will not tolerate terrorists exploiting it to restore their positions, adding that the Syrian Army will still continue fight Al-Nusra and Islamic State, as well as radical Islamist Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam.

Not only that but it also ends the Turkish bombardment of the border region and puts an end to any plans, however ridiculous, of some sort of joint Turkish/Saudi invasion of Syria.

As for the somewhat more "moderate," and actually Syrian, rebels, most of them are willingly signing on to this agreement for sound, sane reasons as Israel Shamir makes clear in his column on the ceasefire here:

A friendly field commander of an armed anti-Assad opposition organisation near Aleppo faxed me a copy of a document he signed with the Russian army representative regarding the ceasefire. He added that he thinks now is the right time, or well after right time to bring peace to Syria. Fight to complete victory will be the fight till the last Syrian, he said. Better Syria with Assad than no Syria and no Assad.

As for who doesn't benefit from this agreement and whose plans have been put paid to by it, that's been made perfectly clear as well. Just follow the whines, hand-wringing, kvetching and doom-saying back to their source. Witness the impotent brayings of the horse-faced New England brahmin currently at the helm of the State Department:

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said he will move towards a plan B that could involve a partition of Syria if a planned ceasefire due to start in the next few days does not materialise, or if a genuine shift to a transitional government does not take place in the coming months.

“It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if we wait much longer,” he told the US Senate foreign relations committee on Tuesday.

[...]

Kerry suggested partition could form part of an eventual solution, saying “this can get a lot uglier and Russia has to be sitting there evaluating that too. It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if it is much longer”. It is the first time Kerry has spoken of partition...

[...]

He continued to insist that Assad could not remain leader because he was not acceptable to those who have fought him over the past four years.

Bear in mind that neither Kerry nor the U.S. government have any right, legal or otherwise, to dictate who can or cannot be the Syrian head of state, much less whether or not Syria will remain one united country or be partitioned.

Partition is something that both the vast majority of the Syrian people and the Syrian government have categorically rejected since day one. In the words of Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media advisor to President Assad:

The Syrian people have fought for five years against any partition plan of Syria. The Syrian people do not want any partition in Syria and I'm sure they will succeed to keep the territorial integrity and unity of Syria.

Russia is categorically opposed to any partition plan as well:

Moscow will focus on “Plan A” in accordance to the agreement signed between the United States and Russia on the cessation of hostilities in Syria and is not looking at “Plan B,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

Earlier, Kerry announced steps that would be made toward a backup plan that could include the division of Syria if the ceasefire planned for February 27 did not work or if an actual swing to a transient government does not happen within the next few months.

"Currently, we are focusing on ‘Plan A’ and believe that the discussion and work for the realization of the plan that was agreed by the presidents of the two countries [US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin] should be our priority," Peskov told journalists in response to a question regarding US Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement concerning a backup plan should the cessation of hostilities agreement fall apart at the seams.

It should be noted that partition is, and has been for a while now, a central part of U.S. foreign policy strategy for dealing with the recalcitrant “regimes” and inconvenient population groups.

Whether it is Sudan, Yugoslavia, Serbia itself, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, China, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Iran, the methods, and the eventual (or hoped for) outcome of partition vary only slightly. In some cases direct military intervention is required, but in most cases local proxies will do nicely, whether armed militias or "civil society" types.

Suffice it to say that partition of Syria will not happen without the consent of the Syrian people and the Syrian and Russian governments and it is not something within the U.S. government's power to bring about on its own. Which means, for all of Kerry's huffing and puffing, "America can't do a damn thing," to borrow a quote from Ayatollah Khomeini.

I should note here that the genesis of this strategy of partition predates the wars on Syria, Iraq and Libya by decades and is laid out beautifully by Vanessa Beeley in her piece "Syria in the Crosshairs."

For now, though, it is time to cautiously celebrate the first major step towards peace and victory for Syria and the Syrian people.

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