Apr 14 2012
By Fatih Abdulsalam
Azzaman, April 14, 2012
One of the best measures to assess whether the peace plan proposed by Arab League and U.N. envoy Kofi Annan is to count the number of casualties from the time it went into force.
The number of the deaths that will be reported will automatically be added to the tally which now exceeds 9,000 people killed, most of them civilians and some of them members of the Syrian regime’s security organs.
The responsibility of the Syrian government lies in its attempts to stop more innocent blood being shed and allow peaceful demonstrations to take place and freely express their demands for change and freedom.
It would be meaningless to see heavy weaponry and troops withdrawn and replaced by security forces with harsher mandate to silence dissent.
If all goes well, there will be 250 U.N. monitors. But the number is not sufficient to oversee the large swathes of the country that have turned violent.
The monitors’ work will need to be supplemented by the presence of free and independent press with the ability to report freely on conditions inside Syria.
The U.N. has a declared mission and the Security Council has so many other things to follow.
But the Syrians had much better chances to come to terms with each other. They should have exploited, for instance, their religions anniversaries to put an end to killing and violence.
Ramadan, the Muslims’ holy month of fasting, came and went without anyone paying notice to the sacredness of this month. The Muslim feast of Adha was another occasion for the warring parties to make peace.
There were Christian anniversaries among them Christmas, the New Year and recently Easter but no one tried to use these occasions to halt the bloodshed.
It would have been more important for the Syrians if they had tried to work out a purely Syrian solution for the conflict.
Now that they have agreed to a U.N.-brokered ceasefire, the parties are required to carry out conditions which were not part of the demands the peaceful protesters made a year ago when the uprising started.
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