Struggling to find some way to get Syria’s Civil War off the path of endless escalation and toward at least a chance for dialogue, UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has urged both rebels and regime to accept a ceasefire for the multi-day Eid al-Adha holiday, which begins late next week.
The hope, Brahimi says, is that a temporary truce might conceivably create an environment that would allow some sort of peace process to develop. The Eid, one of the holiest holidays on the Muslim calender, is perhaps the last, best chance to slow the tide of war.
But its going to take a lot of help, with neither the Assad regime nor any of the rebel factions seeming interested in negotiation. Brahimi is courting Iran, one of Assad’s closest allies, to get them on board with the idea.
Which in and of itself makes the other side of the equation problematic, because whether Iran does or doesn’t agree to help, Western nations are likely to spend more time railing against Iran’s involvement on general principle than they are even considering taking the initiative on the other side to convince the rebels on board.
This is key, because Brahimi’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, had a brief ceasefire initiative of his own that the West never fully got behind, with France and others preparing statements lashing it as a “failure” before it even started, and the rebels, so dependent on Western funding, quickly disavowed the ceasefire and started the present offensive.
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