The apparent total acceptance of a ceasefire plan by the Syrian government gives us today’s “WTF? moment”. It’s hard not to be surprised at this turn of events. Or to put it another way, it’s hard to believe that it will actually happen.
The Syrian government has no incentive to click on the safety catch and go back to the palace for cocktails at this point. The resistance is gathering pace, if not unity, and the country is now racked by sectarian divisions that will take some generations to heal. At another level, it’s just not the Ba’athist way to show such weakness. Now everyone will know they are a spent force.
That’s why on the other side, I wonder what incentive some of the rebels have to stick to the plan. Do they just put down their weapons and go back to work at the fruit market?
The obvious thing for the Assad regime to do here is stall. “Sorry, we had really meant to pull the tanks out of Homs last Friday. We’re working on it. No, you can’t go and have a look. Too dangerous, you see.” In the meantime, some of the rebel groups will be bound to press their claims and start shooting anyway. Then the government troops will have the right to defend themselves.
More of my suspicion is roused by the fact that the deal has been brokered by Kofi Annan, the man who brought you the Rwandan genocide when he was head of Peacekeeping in the mid 90s. In that case, his obeisance to diplomatic protocol and general timidity hamstrung peace operations and led to UN troops themselves being murdered along with hundreds of thousands of Rwandans.
Now it seems that a similar kind of monitoring force is to be inserted into Syria. I wonder if Roméo Dalliere is keen for the job?