It might be a little premature for Bashar Assad to claim victory, but he’s feeling confident enough to do so anyway.
Syria says the year-old revolt to topple President Bashar al-Assad is over, but the army again shelled opposition areas on Saturday and rebels said they would not cease fire until tanks, artillery and heavy weapons are withdrawn.
Washington and Gulf Arab states urged peace envoy Kofi Annan to set a timeline for “next steps” if there is no ceasefire, and Saudi Arabia repeated a call for rebels to be armed.
Annan has said neither measure would be helpful. The former U.N. chief’s mission has brought no respite in the killings.
Syria also said it would keep its forces in cities to “maintain security” until it is safe to withdraw in line with the peace deal, which Assad has said he accepts.
The Annan plan is a plan to save Assad:
The plan is an ill-timed lifeline to a murderous regime that will exploit Mr. Annan’s diplomacy to buy time, to reload and to divide the opposition and the international community. In the end, everyone except the Assad family will be weaker for having pursued it.
The opportunity to assist a popular uprising against an anti-American and anti-Israeli Iranian proxy probably has passed, and the winners are Iran and Hezbollah.