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Kofi Annan Quits UN Diplomatic Effort in Syria

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 15, 2012

Today there was another massacre reported in Syria of civilians by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.  Sooner or later the world will look to blame those that sat on the sidelines while the killings continued.  The United Nations owns much of the culpability.

After a year and a half of protest 19,000 Syrians have been killed al-Assad’s regime.  While the world and particularly the United States and NATO acted to protect Libyan civilians, they watched and allowed United Nation to lead in Syrian. The UN once again proven itself to be toothless.

In March, 2012, the United Nations named Kofi Annan special envoy to mediate the dispute between the Syrian despot, al-Assad and the protesters.  Late last month Annan resigned admitting that the mission failed.

Annan’s mission was doomed before it started.  First, Russia and China have both blocked any attempts to sanction the Syrian regime for the carnage.  Both countries depend on authoritarian power to maintain control and fear that going after the al-Assad regime could place their own positions in jeopardy.  In addition, the al-Assad has allowed Russia the use of a port for its military.  The downfall of al-Assad would be to their strategic detriment.  Without Russia and China on board, the United Nations has no real authority or power to deal with the Syrian massacres.  Therefore, the Annan mission was a waste of time and money.

In addition, diplomacy in any conflict can be successful only if both sides want resolution.  This most basic requirement does not exist in Syria.  The al-Assad regime is part of the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Muslims, which represents only 10% of Syria’s population.  They have controlled Syria’s Sunni majority by force for decades.  This reality, coupled with the 19,000 killed in the past year and a half offers the al-Assad regime no room for compromise.  Should they give up their hold on power, the retribution on the Alawite community and their allies will be deadly.  That leaves al-Assad two choices: leave the country or fight for control.

The ongoing tragedy in Syria once again shows how useless United Nations is.  It also shows how deadly the world is when a strong power such as United States leads from behind.

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