Dan Gilmore / February 12, 2016

They Say There’s a Ceasefire in Syria

It seems that Kerry is looking for peace at all costs.

On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry said he and the powers duking it out in Syria agreed to a ceasefire, an agreement that seems unable to last. “It was unanimous,” Kerry said. “Everybody today agreed.” If the ceasefire is lasting, then the cost of war has been staggering. The Syrian Center for Policy Research estimated at least 470,000 people died in the conflict that has cost $255 billion. But the agreement comes with caveats. Russia said it would continue flying airstrikes against what it considers to be terrorists — a definition that goes beyond the Islamic State and to some rebel groups.

Meanwhile, the fight against the Islamic State will probably continue, and the U.S. will funnel arms to its rebel groups. Of course, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad will remain in power for the time being. Great foundation for a lasting ceasefire agreement right there. This agreement probably came about because of the Obama administration’s pivot in December, turning from its red line policy of removing Assad from office and moving toward Russia’s stance that Assad stays. It also helped that Russia succeeded in shoring up Assad’s defensive positions through its airstrikes. In other words, it seems that Kerry (and his boss) is looking for peace at all costs.

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