Boston Review: "The US accepts that Assad's resignation is not the guarantor of a peaceful Syrian future"

Boston Review: "The US accepts that Assad's resignation is not the guarantor of a peaceful Syrian future"

The US publication the Boston Review writes about what awaits Syria after the ceasefire. The partial cessation of hostilities was accepted with optimism by the international community, and it is not difficult to explain: after prolonged bloodshed and the inability to reach a compromise, Russia and the United States agreed on the key positions. The agreement provides that the Syrian government, the Allied group, including America and the Russian Federation, as well as opposition forces who are participants in the talks, should cease hostilities. This solution will ensure rapid and unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance to the country.

Even a partial implementation of the agreement is good news for the Syrian people, more than half of whom have been forcibly moved. To date, nearly 13 million people, half of them children, are dependent on humanitarian aid to survive. At least a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed, most of them from the civilian population.

But there is no guarantee that the parties will abide by the ceasefire. The largest rebel groups, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda’s unit Al-Nusra Front, not only did not agree to a truce, but did not even participate in the negotiations. They pledged to continue the fight. The biggest hope for a peaceful and democratic development of civil society in Syria is with Russia, which actively helps the current legitimate government of Bashar al-Assad and most effectively confronts terrorist groups. However, the opposition is divided into dozens of armed groups, each with their own objectives, as well as regional backers, such as Turkey, the Arab monarchies and the United States.

Despite this, 17 countries from Europe, the Middle East, Russia, the United States and China were involved in the most complex diplomatic negotiations, the aim of which was to abandon geopolitical interests for the settlement of the Syrian conflict. The agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria means the US abandonment of its Middle East ambitions. The brutal repressions and countless offensives of the US forces were meant to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Now Washington and its allies accept that Assad's resignation is not the guarantor of a peaceful Syrian future. Thus, they agreed to a ceasefire, as this is the only alternative to the ongoing bloodshed.

Russia and Iran's intervention in the settlement of the conflict in Syria prevented the hegemonic plans of the American leadership to break yet another Middle Eastern country. In addition, Moscow and Tehran could make Al-Nusra and its allies withdraw from areas which were previously under their control, which gives a chance to the Syrian government for the restoration of stability and for civil society to be heard.

The international analytical center International Crisis Group writes of a possible aggravation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Western countries have filed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the category of ‘frozen’ for the past 22 years, despite periodic military escalations and warnings from observers. Numerous resolutions of international organizations do no good, and the status quo, which is preserved in the region, cannot satisfy any of the warring parties.

There are a number of reasons that international analysts see as the factors of the worsening of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Firstly, there is the deterioration of relations between Russia and Turkey. The fact is that both Armenia and Azerbaijan have strong trade, economic and strategic relations with both countries, and in this situation they are forced to competently conduct foreign policy in order not only to aggravate the Russian-Turkish conflict, but not to cause another wave of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The second reason is the return of Iran to the international arena. Iran, which shares a border with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, is ready to become a mediator in the Karabakh conflict. It is not clear what the consequences will be of such a decision, since Iran has traditionally warm relations with Armenia, and a rivalry with Azerbaijan on energy issues and national security.

The third reason for a possible worsening of the conflict could be economic difficulties both in Azerbaijan and Armenia. And the fourth, the most disturbing element is an increase in the amount of fighting on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh. In 2014 and 2015 there was a sharp increase in the intensity and frequency of incidents involving the use of heavy weapons, mortars and artillery. It is obvious that today there is an urgent need to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the role of Russia as a direct mediator and a co-chair of the Minsk Group cannot be overstated.

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