So here we are. First Friday protests since the Syrian government agreed to implement the six-point peace plan of the joint UN-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan. It's the second day of a fragile ceasefire, which appears to be holding, just about. The tension is razor sharp, but it has been the calmest 48 hours Syria has seen for more than 9 months, since anti-government protests escalated into ever deadlier clashes between Syrian government forces and groups affiliated with the rebel Free Syrian Army.
Putting your money on what's going to happen over the next week is an extremely risky bet. Agreeing to withdraw troops from population centers and cease military operations was a major gamble for President Bashar al-Assad, and I am certain he would never have done it without pressure from Russia and China. The regime fears, quite rightly, that any let up in the crackdown will be used by the protesters to reclaim the streets, while fighters from the Free Syrian Army continue to stock weapons.
The impending "political process" mentioned by the peace plan exists only on paper. My guess is that we'll see a lull in the fighting before any potential negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition inevitably break down.
Read my new piece on Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest enemy of the Assad regime.