Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 00:04 AM EDT, 3 August 2012
GENEVA, Switzerland – Human Rights groups, the U.N. Security Council, as well as the U.S., Israel, Russia, and China have been closely following the civil war in Syria. After the recent attack by a suicide bomber who targeted the National Security headquarters in central Damascus killing Syria’s Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha and President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, observers prognosticated the imminent demise of the Assad government. (Source: The Journal.ie)
Instead of the desired effect of forcing Assad to abdicate, he has retreated to an undisclosed location and continues to wage a brutal war to repress the rebels who are intent on forcing him from power. Emboldened by the continued support of Russia and China who have consistently blocked U.N. Security Council efforts to initiate sanctions or military intervention, Assad continues to hold power.
Kofi Annan was asked to negotiate an end to 17 months of executions, torture, repression as well as a plethora of human rights violations. It would turn out to be an untenable task, but he accepted the challenge with dignity and professionalism. A negotiated peace agreement would have been the optimal resolution because an abrupt departure of the Assad regime would be disastrous for the region.
At issue among other things are the security of chemical weapons and the uncertainty of the type of governance the Sunnis majority would implement should they rise to power. A non-negotiated transition of power will almost certainly upset the delicate balance of power in the region. This morning a talk show host observed that this is a case where the ‘enemy of my enemy does not is not necessarily mean they will remain friends once they have achieved their goal.”
Hence the reticent of the U.S. to provide the rebels with weaponry despite their request for assistance and the obvious benefits that these arms could provide in terms of achieving the aim of deposing Assad. Into this quagmire Mr. Annan, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former U.N. secretary-general waded and despite his best efforts he became stuck.
On one side he had to contend with permanent Security Council members, whose actions belied their words. They talked about the need to address the gross human rights violations occurring in Syria and the necessity of protecting its civilian citizens, while on the other they carefully weighed economic, political, and strategic considerations which subsequently trumped the former.
According to Reuters, when Mr. Annan announced his resignation as Syria’s peace envoy on Thursday, in a rare display of emotion, he explained how he was stymied in his efforts to bring the parties together to achieve even a temporary cease-fire. His inability to successfully bridge the gap between Assad and the rebels was complicated by “world powers, as well as the Syrian government’s intransigence, the growing militancy of Syrian rebels and a divided Security Council that failed to forcefully back his effort.
Since he took the position six months ago, Russia and China have twice used their veto power to block strong Western- and Arab-backed action against President Bashar Assad’s regime.”Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report
- Annan quits Syria role, blasts UN Security Council (dailystar.com.lb)
- Kofi Annan resigns as UN envoy to Syria (ghanabusinessnews.com)
- Kofi Annan resigns as Special Envoy to Syria (rt.com)