The ghost of Kofi Annan lives on, in the form of the U.N. negotiations under the aegis of Stefan de Mistura and the Security Council’s resolution in December, 2015 laying out the latest version of Annan’s six-point peace plan from 2012.
This has now led to an “agreement” on the “cessation of hostilities” reached in Munich on February 12.
We are left with an “agreement” that is not really an agreement, but rather only a communique, vaguely worded, inchoate, with all the essential terms yet to be agreed in the future. In domestic law, such an “agreement” is called an “illusory contract” because the most basic terms have been left open. Consequently, it is really not a contract, but rather a mere statement of objectives.
The link to the text is found below in (1).
Here, not even the essential actors are parties to the agreement.
While the diplomats will dither and debate what has been agreed and not yet agreed, Russian warplanes will continue to bomb Aleppo and other rebel-held areas in Syria. Once the Russians have secured their military objectives, they may accede to a “ceasefire” — in order to consolidate and preserve their gains.
One recalls the week-long delay after the Minsk II ceasefire was agreed on February 12, 2014, which allowed the Russians and their puppets in the Donbas to secure the key rail junction of Debaltseve.
Could the coincidence of dates (February 12) have some significance in Russian eyes?
The net effect of the Geneva process and the latest “agreement” in Munich is to offer illusory hopes of an early negotiated settlement to the West and the Arab states, so that they will not undertake actions that might halt the Syrian government and Russian military advances in Syria.
(1) “Syria ‘cessation of hostilities’: full text of the support group’s communique; The full joint communique issued by the International Syria Support Group Meeting in Munich,” Published in The Guardian, February 12, 2016.
(2) Richard Spencer (Middle East Editor), “A ceasefire war criminals don’t have to observe; The latest ‘ceasefire’ deal for Syria turns the the idea of peace on its head: no-one who signed up to it has to observe it, and nor do terrorists or war criminals,” The Telegrapgh, February 12, 2016 (1:16PM GMT).
(3) NOUR MALAS in Beirut, JAY SOLOMON in Washington and NATHAN HODGE in Moscow, “Confusion Reigns Over Syria Cease-Fire Deal; Neither the Syrian regime nor its opponents have given their formal approval,” Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2016 (Updated Feb. 12, 2016 6:09 p.m.).
(4) Putin’s Syria Victory; John Kerry’s cease-fire lets Assad consolidate his strategic gains,” The Wall street Journal, February 12, 2016 6:34 p.m. ET).
The West should recall what happened with the Arab League ceasefire in 2011, and the ceasefire established by the U.N. Security Council under Resolutions 2042 and 2043 in 2012.
The fighting in Syria between al-Assad and the insurgents against his regime will not be resolved, on terms short of capitulation, until the Syrians and the Russians encounter a coutervailing force that can stop their advances.
The Trenchant Observer