Laura Clarke is an International Relations graduate living in London. She enjoys writing, talking and, thankfully, quite likes rain too.
A Pledge for Peace?
Human Rights – The Syrian regime has apparently committed itself to a withdrawal of its troops and heavy weaponry from Syrian cities by April 10th. The announcement follows negotiations between the Assad government and the UN’s international envoy Kofi Annan, which resulted in the production of a six-point plan for peace in Syria.
While the Syrian regime has suggested that it is willing to commit itself to the UN’s plan, leaders are understandably skeptical. As U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has stated, “we have seen commitments to end the violence followed by massive intensifications of violence…yet again, the proof is the actions, not in the words.” The hope is that the Assad regime will see through its pledge and open the door for political negotiations between the government and its opposition.
The recent surge of peace commitments made by the government makes further escalation unlikely, although not impossible. It does not, however, mean that the government is ready to relinquish its hold on power. Rather, Assad’s action must be read as an attempt to ensure his continued leadership over the country. The international focus is on stopping the violence in Syria without the need to commit itself to intervention; if peace can be achieved only through the acceptance of Assad’s continued reign, it seems likely that the international community will accept this price.
The question is one of priorities. With an urgent need to stop the violence, it is right that we should be looking for a quick road to peace. But if Assad uses pledges for peace as a means to retain power, the deaths of so many Syrians will have been in vain. The international community is motivated by a desire to escape intervention; let this not be at the expense of Syrian liberty.
Read more at the Associated Press.