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News Analysis: Syrians unable to reach ceasefire like Gazans did

English.news.cn   2012-11-26 02:53:44            
 • Syrians began to wonder why Syria could not obtain a ceasefire over the past 20 months.
 • Analysts attributed the different outcome for international consensus and parties involved in the conflict.
 • In Syria, things get messed up with various armed opposition groups involved, analysts said.


DAMASCUS, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- As Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip reached a ceasefire after eight days of conflict, Syrians who had been closely following regional situation began to wonder why Syria could not obtain a ceasefire over the past 20 months.

Israel launched a large-scale aerial operation on the Gaza Strip on Nov. 14, and ended it on Nov. 21 after an internationally- backed ceasefire agreement took effect.

After the truce between two arch enemy went into effect last Wednesday, Syrians watched the news on their TV sets with a mix of confusion and astonishment, recalling their failed attempts to end domestic conflicts.

Most recently, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi proposed a three-day ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, but the calls did not materialize.

Syrian analysts and experts of both opponents and proponents attributed the different outcome of ceasefire in Gaza and Syria for two main reasons: international consensus and parties involved in the conflict.


The main reason for the different outcome, analysts said, is that Arab and Western rulers truly wanted and pushed for the halt of military conflict between Gaza and Israel, but at the same time kept their support to armed rebels in Syria in the hope of ousting President Bashar al-Assad.

Analysts said since the firing of the first missile, Arab rulers have pressed Egypt and Turkey to mediate a truce and implored superpowers to act "to stop Israeli aggression" against the Gaza Strip.

Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani rushed to Egypt to push Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to help establish a halt of military action between Gaza and Israel, while at the same time he embraced and threw his support behind the exiled Syrian opposition and the rebels on ground to have a united front to take over Assad.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have shown great support to the opposition in Syria as a whole, particularly rebels on the ground, who, along with the exiled opposition, reject any endeavor to have a dialogue with the Syrian government to end the conflict.

Earlier this month, Qatar hosted various parties of the exiled Syrian opposition and locked them up in a hotel hall to push them to unite.

At the end of the internationally-supported conference, various parties came together under the title: Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SNCORF), which said it will have no dialogue with the current government in Syria, but instead, its leader Muaz al-Khatib called on the international community to render qualitative weaponries to rebel fighters on ground to tip the balance in the 20-month-old conflict.

Many countries, including some Gulf States, recognized the new opposition coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, casting thus oil to the already smoldering fire.

Luai Hussain, head of the oppositional Building Syria State Party, told Xinhua that ending the armed conflict in both cases needed international consensus, adding that the superpowers agreed to the ceasefire in Gaza "but it didn't happen here in Syria."

For his side, George Gabbour, an ex-parliamentarian and political expert, told Xinhua that "the United States pushed Israel to halt fire and attacks but it hasn't pressured the armed groups on the ground in Syria to do so."


In case of Gaza and Israel, there are just two sides involved, while in Syria, things get messed up with various armed opposition groups involved, analysts said.

Gabbour, former parliamentarian, said that various groups of opposition are playing their part in the Syrian crisis, each with different agendas and goals, which would easily frustrate attempts to reach a ceasefire.

"With the non-existence of unity among the opposition, all talks about ceasefire would be absurd," Gabbour said.

What mirrored Gabbour's point of view is the fact that after the international community succeeded in forming the SNCORF in Doha, Qatar, the political opposition parties inside Syria dismissed the new opposition coalition and said there is no way this coalition would represent the Syrian people and that the new platform came to serve for the foreign agendas.

Aside from the political opposition, several rebel factions, including members of the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front, dismissed last week the opposition coalition and said they want to establish an Islamic state instead.

In a televised statement posted online by the "fighting battalions in Aleppo and its suburbs," several leaders of rebel groups appeared flanking a rounded table with a bearded man sitting in the center, a black flag behind him and the Muslim holy Quran before him, reading the statement.

"We reject the conspiratorial project about the national coalition," the bearded man said, adding that "we have come to agree on the establishment of a fair and Islamic state."

"We reject any external project whether it was a coalition or a council imposed on us by any party," the bearded rebel said.

Meanwhile, the National Coordination Body (NCB), a main opposition group inside Syria, said recently that they had boycotted the opposition meeting in Doha because "we want the democratic change to be made inside the country, but not by a foreign will."

At a press conference held in the capital Damascus, the NCB said no one has the right to claim to be the legitimate representative of the Syrian people without resorting to balloting boxes.

Experts said the opposition problem has exceeded the point where there were only two opposition types that need to come together; but now both the opposition at home and in exile need to figure out how to deal with the third element that has recently proved its existence: the extremist groups linked with al-Qaida and their attempts to radicalize the Syrian conflict.

The very existence of such an element is frightening and adds to the complication of the Syrian political landscape, analysts said, adding that dealing with the extremist existence and their agendas is another crisis itself.

Analysts accused the Arabs of having double standards in dealing with each case.

"While they were shedding tears on the people of Gaza, they were rendering support and arms to the armed groups in Syria to prolong the crisis," which activists said had killed more than 40, 000 people.


Clashes continue as minister says Syria "stronger than all schemes"

DAMASCUS, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Clashes between the Syrian government troops and the rebel fighters still raged on on Saturday, as the country's interior minister said Syria is " stronger than all schemes hatched by terrorists and conspirators."

State-run SANA news agency said some armed radical rebels affiliated to the so-called Jabhat al-Nusra front, an al-Qaida- linked group, put up posters on the walls of residential buildings in al-Mashhad area in the northern province of Aleppo, demanding to occupy the residents' houses and asking them to leave.  Full story

Editor: Fang Yang
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