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This undated photo claims to show Russian military engineers in an armored personnel carrier, Aleppo, Syria (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP).

Can Russia Really Sideline the U.S. in the Latest Syria Peace Process?

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017

If there is only one certainty about the Syrian civil war, it is that any ultimate resolution of the conflict at this point will be horribly unsatisfying, politically and morally. The current tenuous cease-fire and peace process negotiated and overseen by Russia, Turkey and Iran is just that on both counts. But despite all its many flaws, it—or any other arrangement that effectively silences the guns and opens at least the possibility of a lasting political accommodation—represents a lesser evil than continued fighting.

The deal’s flaws are immediately obvious. To begin with, it is the result of a military onslaught against rebel-held areas of Aleppo that has shocked the world’s conscience with its brutality. If the process results in a durable peace, it will indeed be the “peace of the dead,” with alarming implications for conflict-resolution norms that have evolved significantly in the past decade and a half, in part due to the counterinsurgency doctrine involving less lethal force that was implemented by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...

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