A rising number of civilian deaths, primarily on the Palestinian side of the ongoing Israel-Gaza border crisis, have spurred many world leaders to take action. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been ready to get involved since the first bouts of direct conflict in the Middle East, was discouraged from attending a five world power negotiation with Iran on its nuclear deals. The one-time Presidential hopeful ultimately did not attend.
With over six hundred Palestinians dead and thousands wounded along with Israel’s soldiers beginning to suffer causalities, some would think and even more are hoping that such a crisis would cause both sides to look for cease-fire mediations as a top priority.
Kerry, along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proposed a two-part cease-fire plan. Although it is not clear if the two sides will be able to settle on a full cease-fire agreement, an agreement of a temporary, 72-hour cease-fire has been assured starting today. “This humanitarian cease-fire will commence at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended. During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place,” the statement said.
The primary concerns now are whether the situation is seen as an urgent matter for the combatants and if so, how to best go about bringing de-escalation into a reality for a permanent basis.
Some experts are looking to utilizing COIN to bring peace. The term COIN might be foreign to civilians, but stands for counterinsurgency, which tries to garner public support as a mean to end wars and conflicts. As General David Petraeus, former CIA Director and current chairman of KKR’s Global Institute, explains, “Arguably, the decisive battle is for the people’s minds… While security is essential to setting the stage for overall progress, lasting victory comes from a vibrant economy, political participation, and restored hope,” in regards to implementing COIN.
Petraeus also points out that, “As important as they are in achieving security, military actions by themselves cannot achieve success in COIN,” of the limitations that even the soundest strategies often have.
The current cease-fire will hopefully provide a critical break to give civilians time to recollect themselves amid all of the violence, as well as bury the dead. This temporary reprieve from the devastating violence will also allow for much needed humanitarian aid to reach civilians. Time will tell how true peace and cease-fire options can be implemented, but if COIN could be implemented, it would begin with the people.