Sense on Syria

Just to prove that this web site does not just engage in Guardian bashing all the time here is a link to an excellent article in the Guardian – by the excellent Mary Dejevsky – on the failure of the recent ceasefire in Syria to take hold.

She makes the needed point that the ceasefire deal might have reflected a will on both sides (the US and Russia) to strike a deal. But the warring parties on the ground, on both sides, may not have been fully signed up. The US and Russia may not have full control over their clients/proxies. A peace deal will require commitment from the actual warring parties as well as from other regional players as well. There may not be a will for this at the moment because both sides may still believe in the possibility of a military victory. Of course one could argue that if the US and/or Russia stopped arming each side that would make a difference. On this point the Russian side would naturally point to the legitimacy of their arms sales to an established government in contrast to covert supplies by the US to non-state actors. Nonetheless Dejevsky’s point that there is momentum on the ground for a fight is a good one.

Dejevsky is an excellent writer because she avoids the main trap into which Western journalists fall, that of writing from within the context of a pre-ordained narrative frame-work in which everything the West does is good and ‘right’ and everything the State Department says is 100% true. Dejevsky, in contrast, sticks to facts, and writes clear-headed, calm, analysis. It is less dramatic, much less ‘tribal’ (backing one side at the expense of objectivity just because you happen to belong to them), and exactly what is needed.

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