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Syria Feature: US Officials --- No Hope for Cease-fire So "Time To Consider a New Approach"

Last Tuesday, EA's James Miller, in "Sorting Out The Truth Beyond Car Bombs and Ceasefires", wrote bluntly, "This practice is perpetrating the myth that there is a solution to the crisis beyond either intervening or letting Syria decay into civil war. There isn't. Syria is ugly, and it won't get any prettier any time soon." The Friday before that, we asked --- drawing from Miller and Josh Rogin of "The Cable" blog of Foreign Policy --- "Is the US Preparing for Intervention?"

Putting 2 and 2 together, we think "4" might be in this story put out by US officials through The Washington Post on Sunday: the cease-fire will not take hold so it is "time to consider a new approach".

Western hopes for salvaging a nearly four-week-old cease-fire in Syria have all but evaporated, as new assessments raise fresh doubts about the prospects for the U.N.-brokered accord and the chances for removing the country’s repressive leadership in the near term, diplomats and intelligence officials say.

Even as U.N. officials tout a declining death toll and increased numbers of international monitors in the country, reports from inside Syria point to a determined, but lower-profile, effort by President Bashar ­al-Assad to crush remaining pockets of opposition in defiance of international agreements, the officials said.

That effort in recent days has included quietly rounding up hundreds of university students in the country’s largest city, Aleppo, and the stabbing deaths of several suspected opposition figures by pro-Assad hit squads, U.S. officials said. Anti-government activists reported renewed shelling by government tanks on Friday in the city of Douma, near Damascus, as well as snipers firing at protesters from rooftops.

Intelligence assessments, meanwhile, show scant progress by Assad toward implementing any of the six steps of the U.N. peace plan he nominally accepted in March. Under the accord, the Syrian government was to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from Syrian cities and allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians in hard-hit areas.

“None of the six points are being honored,” said a senior administration official privy to internal U.S. assessments of the 14-month-old uprising. “The fact that there appear to be fewer deaths [in recent days] is a good thing, but so far, this is far from a success.”

Assad’s refusal to honor his commitments is behind a pronounced shift in the Obama administration’s stance on the peace plan in recent days. While stopping short of calling the accord a failure, White House officials are suggesting publicly and privately that it is time to consider a new approach.

“If the regime’s intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday. Referring to continued violence by pro-regime forces, Carney added: “It is clear, and we will not deny that plan has not been succeeding thus far.”

But waht is that "new approach"? On that important matter, the Post --- and presumably the US officials who primed it --- are silent.

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