For the moment, the cease-fire in Syria seems to be holding:
The deadline for a UN-backed ceasefire aimed at halting more than a year of bloodshed in Syria passed on Thursday with no immediate reports of violence.
Any cease-fire is likely to be temporary, and this one may be short-lived. Ad Ed Husain said in an interview a little over a week ago, “I think we’ll have a real cease-fire in ten days, mostly for about ten days.” As many reports have noted, regime forces have not withdrawn from their positions, so compliance with the terms of the cease-fire is partial at best.
Michael Wahid Hanna reviews the objections to the Annan plan, and still describes the plan as the “the last and only hope available for avoiding the worst-case scenarios that might await Syria”:
It is also not the case that the Annan initiative is blocking more consequential action. There is currently no appetite for direct foreign military intervention in Syria, despite continued hopes by some that Turkey would lead such an effort [bold mine-DL]. Sharpened Turkish rhetoric, particularly that of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has fueled these hopes among the Syrian opposition and its supporters. While Turkish officials have privately confirmed the existence of contingency planning regarding various types of intervention, there is no real sense of imminent Turkish action, especially without regional and international backing. Short of massive refugee flows, clear evidence of outright Syrian support for Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerillas, or escalating cross-border spillover violence, Turkey will not opt for unilateral military options.
Furthermore, the logistical and operational difficulties of arming the Free Syrian Army, coupled with the manifest dangers of this approach, have hindered any serious efforts to do so.
When the initial April 10 deadline did not halt the fighting, some interventionists seemed only too pleased to be able to cast aside diplomacy that wasn’t directed towards organizing some form of military intervention. The Foreign Policy Initiative wasted no time in calling for various misguided measures that would have intensified the conflict and worsened the situation. Adam Garfinkle concluded his response to the passage of the April 10 deadline with the following outburst:
Had the Administration been willing to put U.S. strategic interests above the President’s political ones a month ago [bold mine-DL], it is at least possible that Assad would be gone by now and that all the civilians who have been murdered by the regime since then would still be alive.
All of this would have been done in one month? No doubt this would have been accomplished by using the magic wand that overthrows dictators by will alone. It took seven months to collapse Gaddafi’s regime, and that effort significantly depleted the resources of many of the European states involved. How exactly would this have happened in Syria in one month’s time? No, it is not “at least possible” that these things would have happened. Had the U.S. and other states been providing weapons or launching airstrikes in recent weeks, there would be more Syrian casualties on both sides and absolutely no chance of avoiding further escalation and bloodshed, and the U.S. would be ensnared in yet another unnecessary and illegal war. To avoid all that, let us hope that the cease-fire holds and leads to the next stages of the plan, which also happens to be the first attempt that has had even the slightest success in reducing violence in Syria.