Jordan Candler / September 20, 2016

Ceasefire in Syria Unravels

A peace deal is not on Putin’s or Assad’s agenda.

The already shaky ceasefire put into effect in Syria last week took a disturbing turn after news broke that a UN humanitarian convey was attacked, leaving a dozen or more people slain and denying crucial commodities to thousands of others. Neither Russia nor Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are taking responsibility. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Russia and the Syrian government denied Tuesday they were behind the airstrikes on a humanitarian aid convoy in northern Syria that killed at least 12 people and cast further doubt on the fate of a cease-fire aimed at bringing a semblance of calm to the war-torn country.” However, the U.S. puts the blame solely at the feet of Assad and his ally, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

The UN’s Stephen O'Brien says, “Notification of the convoy — which planned to reach some 78,000 people — had been provided to all parties to the conflict, and the convoy was clearly marked as humanitarian.” It’s perturbing to consider, but that may be evidence for why the convoy was attacked. As Tom Rogan recently opined in National Review, “Putin uses civilian suffering as a powerful tool.” The ceasefire, he argued, is Obama’s Trojan horse. It’s hardly a stretch therefore to say the convey attack was deliberate to further provoke tensions.

And why not? Putin, who remains unleashed, is on the verge of absolute control. The Washington Post reports, “Now that United Russia, the party founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has won a landslide constitutional majority in parliamentary elections, the Kremlin has gained the ability to wield virtually full control over the legislature during a period of economic downturn.” Even if Putin and Assad aren’t directly culpable for the unraveling of the ceasefire, they certainly aren’t fretting over it. Because the goal for them is sovereignty, not peace.

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