Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Syrian Civil War Grinds On Despite "Cease. Fire!"

The fighting in Syria rages on despite the fact that there's supposedly a ceasefire in place between rebel forces arrayed against Bashar al-Assad's security forces.

Bombings are increasingly common. A pair of bombings today killed at least 55 people and injured more than 400 others.
The explosions struck at rush hour in the Al Qazaz neighborhood and tore through a crowded intersection near a military intelligence branch, injuring 372 people, both civilians and members of the military, officials said. The blast was heard and felt throughout the city.

In a statement released by his spokesman, Annan reiterated his call to all parties to adhere to the weeks-old cease-fire. Previous calls for a stop to the violence have gone unheeded as President Bashar Assad's security forces have continued a brutal crackdown on dissent and some opposition fighters have taken up arms again.
The UN has tried to broker a ceasefire deal, but Assad's refused to stop his brutal crackdown against those opposed to his regime.

The pair of blasts were apparently two vehicles loaded with 2,200 of explosives and driven by suicide bombers.

So, what's next? That's the question being framed by NPR.
The U.N. plan is most publicly supported by the Russians, who believe there is still a way to mediate an end to the crisis in Syria. The Russians, long-time allies of the Syrian government, have opposed strict U.N. sanctions and calls for foreign intervention.

But a growing number feel the peace plan has failed.

They include Wissam Tarif, who runs the Beirut office of the activist group Avaaz, which does extensive work on Syria. He and others say the Syrian regime is simply not willing to stop the violence, which means it will never be able to reach a negotiated solution.

That's why Tarif calls the U.N. plan a "necessary failure" — meaning that the more the Russians see the regime's violations, the more likely they will be to go along with tougher measures against the Syrian leadership.

"Having said that, it's very important to note that this failure is very expensive and it's by the Syrian people's blood because hundreds continue to be killed in the country," Tarif says.
The Russians have blocked any more stringent actions against Assad, but the US doesn't want to get bogged down in another attempt at nation building coming off the heels of the Iraq and Afghanistan experiences.

Sanctions aren't stopping Assad, and he's finding ways around the sanctions.

This leaves Assad with the ability to crush the rebellion and do so with a free hand since there's little chance that he would see NATO forces prepare the battlefield in the manner that they did with the Libyan civil war.

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