As our Secretary of State was blathering about how he can’t stand by while Jews in Israel build communities for themselves on their land, a lot was happening next door in Syria as he stood by.
(CNN)Call it a pop-up alliance. After spending much of this year berating each other after Turkey shot down a Russian jet over the Syrian-Turkish border, the two governments are suddenly the “honest brokers” of a ceasefire in Syria — one that is designed to lead to political negotiations. The United States, which has long championed the stuttering diplomatic process on resolving the Syrian conflict, is nowhere to be seen.
The ceasefire — negotiated between Russia, Turkey and the Syrian government as well as Iran and Syrian rebel groups supported by Turkey — explicitly excludes factions deemed by the United Nations Security Council as “terrorists.” This rules out the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the former al Qaeda affiliate in Syria that used to be known as Jabhat al-Nusra.Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the ceasefire was only the first step, with other documents signed on enforcing the truce and beginning peace talks. The Syrian military promised to cease operations nationwide at midnight Thursday.