Annan is frustrated…this is a disaster!
UN envoy Kofi Annan expressed his frustration at the situation in Syria, saying “we have run out of patience, we are not grateful to the killings. I’m the first to condemn these operations and I want the acceleration of the plan.” Annan also acknowledged that Syria is sliding toward a state of all-out war, which would mean that his initiative has failed to implement a cease-fire in the country, and so the question that must be asked here is: If Annan is frustrated, then how do you think the Syrians — and all those who are sympathetic with them — feel, with regards to the Assad regime’s crimes?
Since the announcement of Annan’s initiative, until today, a significant number of Syrians have been killed; men, women and children. This is not to mention the increasing number of massacres committed by Assad regime forces, whilst the last such incident saw an injured Syrian civilian being crushed to death beneath a tank. And so after all this, Annan is now expressing his frustration? This, in itself, is truly frustrating, and indeed infuriating, particularly as Annan says that if his initiative is not the right solution, then “there is another solution, and this is the work of the Security Council.”
In other words, Annan has no intention of announcing the failure of his initiative, but rather he wants the Security Council to do so, despite the fact that he is well aware that it is completely paralyzed toward the situation in Syria due to Russia and China’s position. It is clear that Annan does not resent Moscow and Beijing’s position which is supporting Assad’s crimes, but is trying to exploit this in order to avoid announcing the failure of his own initiative; therefore this is a disaster!
This means that the international community does not only have to convince Russia and China that Assad is a murderer who must not be defended, and that standing behind him will cost Moscow and Beijing; the international community must also — unfortunately — convince Annan of the necessity of announcing the failure of his failed mission in Syria. This is something, of course, that does not necessarily mean the announcement that Annan has failed personally so much as it means that Assad has failed to fulfill his promises.
Therefore it is extremely frustrating that Annan is expressing his frustrations regarding his own initiative, and does not want to announce its failure, and in addition to this has put the ball in the court of the UN Security Council, whose hands are tied by the Russian and Chinese veto.
However what is even more frustrating than this is the fact that Annan himself is well aware that Assad’s killing machine has never stopped, and that Syria’s future is in danger, as is the security of the region as a whole.
Therefore, after all this, what must happen in order for Annan to announce the failure of his initiative? Why did he not, at least, impose a deadline for his initiative, as called for by Qatar? This is not a personal issue toward Annan, for people are being killed in Syria on a daily basis, and the country’s social peace is at stake, whilst there is also a genuine threat to the security of the region as a whole. Does Annan want Syria to end up as another Rwanda or Bosnia, whose crises he failed to address during his time as UN secretary-general?
Therefore if there is frustration, this is because there are many people who want to avoid confronting the truth, and this includes Annan himself, whilst things that we were saying months ago are now what people want to see happen today, as if this were completely new. Only a few recognize that what is happening in Syria is the real revolution in our region, and therefore if Annan, and others, do not want to acknowledge this, then the least that they — particularly Annan — must do, is not grant Assad one opportunity after another, because people are being killed in Syria on a daily basis.
The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.