Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

No alternative to Annan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Immediately after Kofi Annan, the former UN-Arab League peace envoy to Syria, announced his resignation, the search was on to find an alternative figure to undertake the task of dealing with the Syrian crisis, in order to complete Annan’s six point plan, which he recommended should continue even after his failure. But is it possible to find an alternative international mediator to Annan to take over the Syrian crisis file?

I doubt it. It would be hard for a seasoned diplomat, with a respected name, to agree to undertake a task that was always doomed to failure because of the intransigence of the al-Assad regime. It would also be difficult for a seasoned diplomat to accept being a cover for the Russians and the Iranians, and al-Assad of course, and to grant opportunities for al-Assad to carry out further killings against the unarmed Syrians. Annan’s problem was that he agreed to undertake the role of “analyst”, or a provider of opportunities, for both Moscow and Tehran, who both insist on being involved in Syrian affairs, just as Annan granted al-Assad every opportunity he wanted. At the beginning of Annan’s mission I wrote here that it was a failure, not because of him but because of al-Assad, and that Annan must declare the failure of his initiative, but not his personal failure. At the time, many said this was a hasty opinion, but soon everyone began to echo it, calling the mission to be declared a failure. However, unfortunately Annan was too sluggish, and so I wrote here again that his mission had failed, but now he personally must also be considered a failure.

Annan’s hesitance has cost a lot of Syrian blood, and prevented the international community from taking practical steps to stop al-Assad’s killing machine. It also justified Russia and China’s use of the veto in the Security Council, who said that Annan’s mission must be afforded a full opportunity to succeed. Yet this opportunity only meant more killing in Syria, especially when Annan said after the Geneva conference that his proposals to solve the Syrian crisis may require years of diplomatic efforts. This is nonsense, for it simply meant granting al-Assad a greater chance to kill Syrians.

Today, based on what is happening on the ground in Syria, and the systematic lies of the al-Assad regime in the fields of politics, the economy, the media, religion, security and everything else, there is no room to grant al-Assad another opportunity, and it is not possible to move forwards in accordance with Annan’s plan. Thus the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim was right to say that Annan’s mission has ended; it is dead now and no longer valid. Hence it would be difficult to find an alternative to Kofi Annan in Syria, for I do not imagine that there is a single respected diplomat, who cares about the blood of innocent people, who would undertake such a role. This is because he would go down in history, i.e. the alternative diplomat, as the one who accepted Annan’s mission fully aware and knowing that he would serve as a provider of opportunities for a criminal regime in Syria, playing into the hands of Russia and Iran.

The events in Syria today say that the game of opportunities has ended, as we have always said, and the cost of al-Assad’s inevitable departure will be larger the longer it takes. Hence it would not be worthwhile to look for an alternative to Annan, instead we should look to strengthen the rebels in order to end the era of one of the worst regimes ever seen in our region, the criminal al-Assad regime, because this would certainly be more effective.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

More Posts