Russia and Turkey have announced a new cease fire agreement. The interesting thing about the agreement is that US-backed/funded/trained/equipped rebel forces are a party to the agreement and the United States is not
The Syrian government and rebel groups have agreed a nationwide ceasefire from midnight local time (22:00 GMT), followed by peace talks.
The deal was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin and confirmed by the Turkish foreign ministry.
Russia and Turkey, which back opposing sides in the bitter conflict, will act as guarantors.
A number of Syrian rebel spokesman have confirmed the deal, but certain jihadist groups are excluded.
The Syrian army said in a statement that so-called Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly the Nusra Front) “and the groups affiliated to them” were not part of the agreement.
A rebel source quoted by Reuters news agency said that only IS areas were not covered by the truce.
What this agreement does is effectively bring the “revolt” to an end and reduces the number of belligerents to two: Assad (backed by Russia, Turkey, Iran, Lebanese, Hezbollah, and anyone fighting ISIS) and ISIS. This means that, to the extent we are doing anything at all useful against ISIS, we are now the allies of Bashar Assad, the guy who gassed his own people.
Under John Kerry’s ineffectual, inept, and incompetent leadership, the United States has been ignored by everyone involved in the war on ISIS, including the people we are funding. Savor this from a profile of Kerry’s tenure in today’s Los Angeles Times… which is as sympathetic outlet as Kerry is ever going to get.
John F. Kerry was late to his own party.
Staffers, journalists and other officials were gathered in the ornate Benjamin Franklin salon at the State Department on Dec. 14 for early Christmas festivities. But the secretary of State was nowhere to be seen.
Kerry was on the telephone to various world leaders, trying to find out about a major diplomatic meeting — from which the United States had been excluded.
The gathering, which sought to broker a resolution to the devastating Syrian conflict, took place six days later in Moscow and involved the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey.
The Obama administration — specifically Kerry — had led repeated efforts to craft a diplomatic solution to ease or end the bloodshed in Syria. In the end, he was left out of the first successful cease-fire for Aleppo and a major humanitarian rescue operation.
Actually, Kerry had led a total of zero efforts. Because in order to lead, someone has to follow. And as has been the case for the past eight years the Obama administration has eschewed an American leadership role for “leading from behind,” which, in the rest of the world is called “following.”
Let there be no mistake about it, this is a geopolitical disaster. Russia and Turkey have put aside generations on enmity to work together to control Syria and the Middle East. Iran effectively controls the territory from Iran to a the port in Aleppo. Israel faces a united Syria-Iran-Hezbollah enemy as does Jordan and Saudi Arabia. If you had set out to sow the seeds of a world war, you couldn’t have done a better job than Obama and Kerry.