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Syria’s Seasefire is a Farce, Arms Sales Booming for the Big Five of the U.N. Security Council

Since the war began in 2011, an estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the United Nations.

Since the war began in 2011, an estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the United Nations.

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DAMASCUS – If we were to take the Russian-American agreements as serious diplomatic breakthroughs, then Syria would be a different place by now.

A transitional government, a new constitution, an “independent, unified, secular” state would have transpired from Geneva I, or Geneva II, or the Vienna peace plans, and not the fragmented, war-torn, living hell unfolding in Syrian cities.

Yet, this has not stopped international gatherings -with few or no Syrians on the table- from taking place. The latest was John Kerry’s and Sergey Lavrov’s in Geneva as they announced the secret deal between US and Russia on settling Syria.

Its recipe fits perfectly with the old templates: a detached fantasy of a ceasefire lacking both the leverage to achieve it, and the mechanism to enforce it. A ceasefire that looks the other way as regular clashes continue across the country, war crimes are casually condemned and besiegement becomes only a cause of concern.

Ceasefire is Dead

The deal that Kerry and Lavrov broke in Geneva on September 10th is a classic case of flawed and non-transparent diplomatic exercises. Neither the Syrian factions, nor journalists covering the agreement and not even close partners of the United States such as France received a copy of the agreement.

John Kerry’s own reluctance to publish the deal speaks volumes to his faith in the concessions offered, and to his confidence (or lack thereof) in the implementation. According to the New York Times, Kerry privately “has conceded to aides and friends that he believes it will not work.”

To begin with, this was “a minimalist agreement”, Tobias Schneider a defense analyst and close follower of events in Syria says of the Kerry-Lavrov deal. The violations accounting to war crimes in targeting an aid convoy, not allowing food to besieged areas, “spell the end of the current cessation of hostilities” says the expert.

Indeed, with airstrikes resuming in Aleppo, bombing of aid trucks, a rebel offensive and Israeli strike in Quneitra, clashes near Hama, Jobar, and Homs, the ceasefire is not just dead, it’s six feet under. Further dooming the deal is the Pentagon who had reservations about the agreement in the first place, pointing fingers at Russia in the aid strike, and dimming hopes for prospects of intelligence sharing with Moscow.

Even if Kerry and Lavrov had the most noble intentions, Schneider explains that “in the end, (the Assad) regime recalcitrance is proving insurmountable…and the deal illustrates the ever-widening gap between the diplomatic preferences of Moscow and DC on the one hand, and the tough realities of the Syrian civil war on the other.” The absence of an enforcement mechanism, and complete detachment from the ground events have also worked against its implementation….     Read more from Joyce Karam

Did you Know?

Bombing is a business, and business is booming, Worldwide, the defense trade reached a record high of US$65 billion in 2015

The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, also known as the Permanent Five, Big Five, or P5, include the following five governments: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

United States

If war is a nasty business, it’s also a lucrative one. New figures released by the State Department show that the United States has sold $33 billion worth of weapons to its Gulf allies since May of last year, with more deals in the works as the business of bombing the Islamic State continues to boom. Read more..

Russia

Moscow’s arms exports hit a record $14.5bn in 2015 with orders surging to $56bn, according to President Putin. The Syrian war has helped Moscow boost its status as a major arms producer and exporter, already the world’s second-largest after the United States. Read more..

China

China has almost doubled its weapons exports in the past five years, a military think tank said Monday, as the world’s third-largest weapons exporter pours capital into developing an advanced arms manufacturing industry. Read More..

UK

The UK is one of the world’s most successful defense exporters, averaging second place in the global rankings on a rolling ten-year basis, making it Europe’s leading defense exporter.. Read more

France

France has doubled its backlog of orders from $36 billion in 2014 to $55 billion, meaning that $55 billion worth of defense equipment has yet to be exported. This increase means that France will overtake Russia as the second-largest global defense equipment exporter. Read more..

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