February 26, 2016

Plan B

An excerpt from, "USA, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Iran, All Have a Plan B for Syria" by Christof Lehmann, nsnbc, February 24, 2016:
Following the signing of the Syrian ceasefire agreement by the 17-countries International Syria Support Group, (ISSG), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that time was essential with regard to the implementation of the ceasefire if Syria’s territorial integrity was to be preserved. Syria could indeed fragment, and the United States are not the only player with a Plan B. Others with a Plan B include Russia, Turkey, Israel, and Iran.

All members of the ISSG agreed on the implementation of a ceasefire in Syria, to begin next week. The group, jointly chaired by Russia and the USA, also agreed that the ceasefire would not include the self-proclaimed Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh), as well as Jabhat Al-Nusrah and other Al-Qaeda franchises.

A coordination hotline is being established at the Hmeinim Air Base from where the Russian Air Force is conducting operations in Syria. The hotline will be operated by Russian military personnel and serve primarily as a means for all of the belligerent parties in Syria to have a contact point to coordinate the ceasefire, to avoid unintended confrontations, and to de-escalate situations in cases where clashes erupt. The Syrian government fully endorses the agreement but stresses that it would not allow terrorists to take strategic or tactical advantage of the ceasefire.
An excerpt from, "America’s ‘Plan B’ for Syria Has a Very Ugly Past" by Aamna Mohdin, Defense One, February 25, 2016:
Israel has expressed similar doubts that the ceasefire will hold. Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon suggested that Syria is “going to face chronic instability for a very, very long period of time” that could result in a number of enclaves, such as “Alawistan,” “Syrian Kurdistan,” “Syrian Druzistan,” and so on. Ram Ben-Barak, director-general of Israel’s Intelligence Ministry, went as far as to describe partition as “the only possible solution.”
An excerpt from, "Kerry: If Ceasefire Fails, Partition of Syria is ‘Plan B’" by Jason Ditz, AntiWar.com, February 23, 2016:
Though a de facto partition has existed in Syria for months now, with fighting along the margins, it’s unfathomable that the international community could recognize it as a de jure separation so long as ISIS controls around half of the country, and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front has its own contiguous statelet in the north.

Though “partition” is meant to suggest a split on government-rebel lines, the reality is the rebels don’t hold enough territory to be a country, and the partition would amount to a recognition of the ISIS caliphate as a state of its own.
An excerpt from, "Analyst: United States’ Plan B may mean ground operation in Syria or sanctions" TASS, February 26, 2016:
The United States’ Plan B for Syria may imply the beginning of a ground operation in Syria or accusations against Russia of disrupting the agreements and the introduction of more sanctions, the science doyen of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Oriental Studies Institute, Vitaly Naumkin, told the conference titled The Middle East: from Violence to Security of the Valdai discussion club.

"Firstly, I know from my US partners that many have been calling for a ground operation," he said. "I believe that President Obama will not agree to this by any means. Yet there have been such hints."

Another version of Plan B, Naumkin believes, might be confined to the introduction of a no-fly zone.