In the 48 hours after the ceasefire was announced it appears that, in contrast to the Russians, the US Government seems to be already backtracking from the details that will allow the ceasefire to stick whether from pressure from Hawks within or Allies and elements of Syrian opposition without.
February 24, 2016
As I have written in “How Western Media is Setting Up Assad/Russia to Blame for Ceasefire Failure”, I mentioned how the Russians, while cautious, seemed to be more optimistic than Western media.
It is becoming apparent (though obvious from anyone who knows how media works) that this pessimism from Western media is being influenced directly from the US Government.
Russian Reaction to Ceasefire Proposal
In the 48 hours of the details of the ceasefire proposal that John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov hammered out (which can be found in full on the Russian Foreign Ministry website):
- Putin made an unusual televised address to the Russian people regarding the conversation he and Obama had signing off on the proposal;
- He had conversations with (links to Kremlin readouts)
- Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad who publicly reaffirmed his commitment to the ceasefire priposal as phrased;
- Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud who apparently “welcomed the agreement”
- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who apparently “noted the importance of continuing their joint efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis”
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss “partnership and cooperation”
- He then held an off-the-schedule meeting of the Russian Security Council apprising them of the situation (brief clip and readout);
- TASS – the Russian state news agency – had an opinion article about how the ceasefire could work with a mention of how hotline between the US and Russian militaries would operate.
Western Reaction to Ceasefire Deal
In contrast, in the past 48 hours after posting the identical ceasefire agreement on the State Department website
- The White House had a brief readout distributed to the press; (clearly Obama does not want to make a big deal of this)
- The White House spokesman answered questions in a routine presser;
- John Kerry, speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that professed skepticism of Russian trustworthiness spoke of a Plan B of partition should the ceasefire fail;
- The fractured Opposition – as represented by the non-Kurdish High National Commission has allegedly agreed to the ceasefire but already blasted Assad, complained they weren’t consulted, disagreed with al-Nusra being excluded and put forth some preconditions that don’t exist in the ceasefire document.
- Western Media has been overwhelmingly negative about the ceasefire working (mostly accusing Assad and Russia of likely to reneg, thus setting up the narrative I wrote of earlier.)
The Russian Defense Ministry tweeted that 24 hours had passed and it was still waiting for a response from the Americans about the use of the hotline, a key facet of ensuring the ceasefire plan works. A longer post from the Ministry on their site worth reading (some English grammatical mistakes aside) for its description of the coordination center but for blasting the Pentagon for disparaging comments about the viability of the ceasefire.
The Turks announced that the Kurds ought to be put in the ceasefire exemption list.
Russian state outlet Sputnik News expressed deep suspicion that the USG and/or its allies might sabotage the ceasefire.
With the Turks and non-Kurdish fractured Opposition not too enthused, it seems that having signed the ceasefire document which commits all belligerents to a ceasefire but clearly allows Syria and Russia to go after al-Nusra and others the UNSC agrees on, the USG is foot dragging and already not just looking for excuses to why the ceasefire will fail, but creating the conditions for it.