Skip to main content

A new dawn for Syria?(thehindu )

e ceasefire reached between Syria’s government and Opposition, with the mediation of Turkey, Russia and Iran, could be a turning point in the country’s civil war. Unlike the two previous failed ceasefires this year — which were negotiated between Russia and the U.S. — the latest one is sponsored by countries directly involved in the conflict. The positive reaction from both the Syrian regime and rebel commanders to the announcement of the ceasefire by Russian President Vladimir Putin also suggests that the warring parties are willing to give diplomacy a chance. For the Syrian government, this is an opportunity to announce it is ready for a peaceful settlement. Though President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly claimed that he would retake the entire territory from the rebels, a military solution appears to be illusory. A prolonged conflict will exhaust the regime forces further and multiply the humanitarian costs. On the other side, after the victory in Aleppo, the regime could now negotiate with the rebels from a position of strength. For the rebels, the momentum is gone. Their support is limited to certain parts such as Idlib, Daraa and the outskirts of Damascus. The question they face is whether they should continue fighting a never-ending war of attrition or seek to gain leverage from whatever military influence they are left with.

There is a convergence of interests for Turkey and Russia in finding a peaceful solution. Having seen the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia doesn’t want to get stuck in Syria. By promoting a negotiated deal, it could retain its core interests in Syria while at the same time projecting itself as a power broker in West Asia. Turkey wants to limit the spillover effects of the war on its soil and stop Kurdish rebels from capitalising on the chaos in Syria. This explains why Turkey and Russia have come together now despite their bitter relations last year. But these objective conditions alone may not produce sustainable peace. It is still not clear which rebel groups have agreed to the ceasefire. Turkey supports only some of the rebel groups, while several other groups get support from Gulf monarchies. There are jihadist elements as well in the Opposition, such as Fateh al-Sham, that could play the spoiler by carrying out attacks on government positions. Besides, the Kurdish question remains unaddressed. If Kurds are invited for talks, Turkey might withdraw its support for the peace process. For now, however, if the ceasefire holds at least till next month’s Astana summit of the related parties, it could be a new beginning for Syria.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cloud seeding

Demonstrating the function of the flare rack that carries silver iodide for cloud-seeding through an aircraft. 
Water is essential for life on the earth. Precipitation from the skies is the only source for it. India and the rest of Asia are dependent on the monsoons for rains. While the South West Monsoon is the main source for India as a whole, Tamil Nadu and coastal areas of South Andhra Pradesh get the benefit of the North East Monsoon, which is just a less dependable beat on the reversal of the South West Monsoon winds.

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…