August 17, 2015
Photo: AP“Assad admitted that his forces are exhausted. But so are the troops of the rebels. The IS cannot any longer easily recruit from the reservoir of the international jihadis.” Picture shows a Syrian Kurdish sniper surveying the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani.
The latest proposal from Iran, backed by Russia, offers the war-devastated nation a glimmer of hope
In early August, the Foreign Ministers of Iran (Mohammad Javad Zarif) and Syria (Walid Muallem) and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister (Mikhail Bogdanov) met in Tehran to discuss the Syrian war. The Iranians, now emboldened by the nuclear deal, presented a plan for a solution to the fratricidal Syrian war. Iran’s plan has four steps: 1. Forge an immediate cease-fire; 2. Create a national unity government; 3. Rewrite Syria’s Constitution with a more expansive inclusion of minorities; 4. Hold national elections under international supervision. These points are not new. The call for a ceasefire has been on the agenda since 2011, and the other steps have been discussed in the United Nations and in various regional gatherings over the past four years. What is novel is that the proposal comes from Iran, with Russian and Syrian backing. The idea of a national unity government implies that President Bashar al-Assad would not have to withdraw from politics. But it does suggest that Damascus has softened in its view that President Assad must be allowed to serve out his new term in office.