Samer Abboud writes: Is the Russia-US agreement on Syria the beginning of the end of the conflict?
Unlikely. The agreement merely reflects a shared commitment to a military strategy, with its major strategic goals being to delink and separate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) from other rebel groups.
To be sure, the agreement also calls for a cessation of regime bombardment of civilian areas, an opening up of humanitarian corridors, and the demilitarisation of key supply routes – positive measures in the short-term.
However, the agreement cannot possibly serve as a blueprint for a resolution because it fails to set in motion any political mechanisms to do so. Instead, it represents the convergence of interest and strategy between the Americans and Russians, which will ultimately reshape the political possibilities for post-conflict Syria. Once heralded as necessary to ending the conflict, though, this convergence is unlikely to achieve that goal due to its narrow military focus. [Continue reading…]