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

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 …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

NGT terminates chairmen of pollution control boards in 10 states (downtoearth,)

Cracking the whip on 10 State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) for ad-hoc appointments, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the termination of Chairpersons of these regulatory authorities. The concerned states are Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Rajasthan, Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Manipur. The order was given last week by the principal bench of the NGT, chaired by Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The recent order of June 8, 2017, comes as a follow-up to an NGT judgment given in August 2016. In that judgment, the NGT had issued directions on appointments of Chairmen and Member Secretaries of the SPCBs, emphasising on crucial roles they have in pollution control and abatement. It then specified required qualifications as well as tenure of the authorities. States were required to act on the orders within three months and frame Rules for appointment [See Box: Highlights of the NGT judgment of 2016 on criteria for SPCB chairperson appointment].

Having fai…