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The End of the Syrian Uprising?
On March 5th, the rebel leaders in Syria, Putin, and Assad's foreign minister, will meet in Moscow, Russia to start the peace negotiations (unless something happens in between). One of the pre-conditions of the rebels has always been that Assad must step down and hand over the government. That is, until now.
Assad has said that he will not step down and must be able to run for office again in 2014 as precondition to having peace talks. Amazingly, some of the rebels who have fought him for two years have now agreed to these terms. The rebel forces know that their desperate bid to conquer Damascus was repulsed by the Syrian army’s superior fire power and heavy armor and still have not taken much of Aleppo. Even though an airbase was seized, it was not an important one and capturing the dam that supplies water to Aleppo has proved to be a false victory because the rebels cannot cut off the water-there are still civilians relying on it. Seizing the oil producing fields of Syria also has proven to be voided. The rebels cannot do much with the black crude if Assad still controls parts of the pipeline and pumping stations to get it to refineries.
Facing a stalemate because the West will not supply weapons and ammo to the rebels, Assad, Russia and Iran seem to be poised to be the winners after all, at least in this round. Iran will still be able to use Syria to ship weapons to and through to Lebanon. Putin will have finally been able to beat the USA in foreign policy. The losers are everyone else in the region.
Of course, things will no doubt flare up as some groups will not submit to Assad and the peace plan.