7 days in September

7 days in September

After five long years, the option of peace is being exercised in Syria. It is easy to be cynical and pass judgment on the odd parameters of this truce, but both media and governments have an overwhelming responsibility to ensure that they work toward strengthening the fragile fibers into a rope rather than snipping them prematurely.
In Damascus, the sounds of silence are probably the loudest they have ever heard and there is wonderment whether it will last the first seven days because at that milestone there will be the major movement from Washington and Moscow to sit on the same side of the table and negotiate proper peace talks with nothing off the table.
To be renewed every 48 hours, the first two days are crucial for this cease-fire. Russia has excluded terror camps and strongholds from the peace that is worrying in the sense that rebel groups could get trigger-happy.
By the same token the Syrian Army, which has spiked its guns has warned that this spiking is predicated to an absence of provocation from any entity or any violation of the ‘regime of clam’ that has descended upon the country.
The media, which control not just perceptions but also could maneuver news into channels of reality and cause chaos of their own, have already begun to unravel the knit. Western media especially seem to have indicated the very poor chances of the seven-day period being successfully completed. Now, while it might make good headlines the need to be dubious by habit must be curbed.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has got it right when he says that this could well be the last chance to smoke that pipe, failing which an open-ended multi-sided battle could see Syria disintegrate and the civilian population face death in huge numbers.
It is almost as if Kerry feels he is at the end of his tether where Syria is concerned and with the change of the guard in the White House, the next president may not even care to get involved.
Obama also wants a strong footnote to his legacy and time is running out. This initiative is, therefore, not just a lifeline for Syria but also creates a little more stability in the Middle East at a time when the region needs to heal.
The one major fear at this time is the collapse of the peace move through rumor or misunderstanding.
Russia must also exercise restraint while defending its troops against any terrorist aggression but keeping the greater good in mind not up the ante during these crucial seven days.
Time for all elements to think of the possibility of a durable peace in positive terms not as if it was doomed even before it had started to walk.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights should play referee and alert all these parties to any infringements and try and pre-empt anything that even remotely endangers these seven days in September.
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