Friday 30 September 2016

When a ceasefire is not really a ceasefire

Published 13/02/2016 | 02:30

Syrian President Bashar Assad. (SANA via AP)
Syrian President Bashar Assad. (SANA via AP)

Albert Einstein, whose theories were finally proved conclusively this week, once said that: "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war."

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In some sense, this is what seems to have been done with the cessation of hostilities in Syria. The intention was to clear a space for humanitarian aid, vital to save millions of lives. It might also allow for a more uncluttered theatre to take on Isil. But attempting to square the divergent interests amongst the diverse players seems too tall a diplomatic order.

There is also the small matter of the fact that all of the foreign actors currently participating in the war can carry on bombing as they please.

One would wish to welcome anything that might ease the burden of suffering in a region engulfed by the worst excesses of war, but there are no grounds for believing that there will be a real cessation.

Before the truce was announced, Russia had raised the prospect of world war should ground forces move against President Assad.

They say you might as well fall flat on your face as lean too far backward. But by failing to either secure a complete ceasefire or an end to Russian bombing, this "ceasefire" may have succeeded in doing both.

Irish Independent

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