Small Wars Journal

CNAS Press Note: Cessation of Hostilities in Syria

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 2:03pm

CNAS Press Note: Cessation of Hostilities in Syria

Washington, September 12 – With the deal reached between the United States and Russia to reestablish the cessation of hostilities in Syria set to take effect, Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Middle East Security Program Director Ilan Goldenberg and CNAS Bacevich Fellow Nicholas Heras have written a new Press Note, “Cessation of Hostilities in Syria.”
The full Press Note is below:
The deal reached between the United States and Russia to reestablish the cessation of hostilities in Syria is scheduled to go into effect later today, pending the approval of the Syrian armed opposition movement. This current deal is an attempt to resuscitate the February cessation of hostilities that is believed to have significantly reduced violence in western Syria before it effectively collapsed in March. The deal also seeks to build a “Joint Implementation Center,” an operations room to coordinate future U.S. and Russian military efforts against ISIS and the militant Salafist organization Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which is the rebranding of the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.
The theory behind this deal is that a renewed cessation of hostilities will protect the civilian population in opposition-controlled areas, which will save lives and provide the socio-political space for non-extremist Syrian rebel groups to take charge of the situation in their areas and marginalize extremists. Prompted by the United States, these rebel groups would begin the process of clearly disassociating from JFS, which could over time weaken the group, creating acceptable, non-extremist local governance structures in opposition-controlled areas. One challenge is that JFS has become more "mainstream" since it formally disassociated from al-Qaeda.  Because it is an integral part of armed opposition campaigns in northern Syria, it will not be easily shunned by other elements within the Syrian armed opposition.
The most significant weakness of the new deal is that there is no mechanism to punish the Assad regime and Russia if they conduct attacks against civilians, continue to refuse humanitarian assistance access to besieged opposition communities, or return to the systematic targeting of U.S.-supported and acceptable armed opposition groups. If the regime and its allies break the cessation of hostilities, the United States will need to act more aggressively to empower acceptable elements of the Syrian opposition and develop credible threats of limited military force to deter Assad regime and Russian bombing of civilians in areas controlled by acceptable American supported opposition groups.


Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 3:34am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

No one paid any attention to the CNAS PR as they were already out of date with ground reality yesterday....nor did they seem to see the Russian intertwining of Syria and eastern Ukraine....

That might be any topic for their research...definitely worth a PhD thesis on.....

THIS after the ceasefire began.....

62 people were killed by #AssadPutin & #ISIS across #Syria y|day, among them 7 children.
19 in rural #Damascus
17 in #Idlib
Many killed after the ceasefire had begun.....

In ignorance of the #SyriaCeasefire,air strikes cont. last night
Dead child pulled out of his home in #MaaratAlNuman

More people were killed in the same attack (extremely graphic!)
#Idlib #Syria

Assad's NDF now: "Rebel break the truce in #Aleppo."
The #SyriaCeasefire is over.
It never started.
They were complaining that a sniper was shooting at a water tower where they were actually in the process of shooting at civilians....

22:50 #Donetsk #Topaz @cranovschik That's all! War started, they pound non-stop, I don't count [salvos anymore]

Seems #Putin decided to end the "#ceasefires" in #Ukraine & #Syria at once.
Dumb West still seeing him as a partner.

Listening to #Kerry & #Steinmeier, I get the impression that they have the same speech writer ..
Sergey Something ..
Kerry..."it is far to early to determine if the ceasefire is holding".....

Kerry some minutes ago: "There is some reduction in violence as well as few reports of fighting HERE AND THERE" ...

THIS flew in the face of a stream of video reports coming in in the first three hours of the so called ceasefire.....

Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 3:12am

It is interesting that US MSM and think tanks tend to be somewhat slow in responding to specific events or media was all over this topic within hours of the Lavrov/Kerry Geneva press conference.....charge was led by three top Syrian/MS SMEs who happen to not work in DC or for think tanks.....maybe that is the reason??

CNAS failed as well to point out that that is the same exact reason that Minsk 1 and 2 failed.....

CNAS also failed to point out that it is Russia who refuses to place an enforcement clause into any ceasefire AND it is Kerry/Obama who always accepts the Russian position....why is that is what CNAS should be asking as a think tank.....

I can think of three specific topics that CNAS could develop into heavy hitting critique of the Obama/Kerry Syrian FP that leads one to assume they are simply working for Putin as junior partners in his FP for the ME....

First CNAS research topic could be around the idea of why does the Obama/Kerry WH fail to fully understand Putin's FP in Syria.....using this starting point.....

Kyle W. Orton
✔ @KyleWOrton Recently-departed DoD official: "The Russians have consistently lied to us [in #Syria]."

Kyle W. Orton
✔ @KyleWOrton Even right after 9/11, when relations were better, Moscow was no good on intel sharing.