News / Middle East

Annan Quits As Syrian Envoy Over Disunity, Fighting

Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.
x
Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.
Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
BEIRUT — The joint United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, announced Thursday that he will leave his post on August 31, saying that increased militarization in Syria and disunity in the international community have hampered his ability to carry out his work.  

Annan told reporters in Geneva that without serious and united international pressure, it is impossible for him or anyone else to compel the Syrian government and the opposition to take the necessary steps to begin a political process.

Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Endowment's Middle East Center in Beirut, says Annan's resignation is disappointing, but that the environment was not conducive for him to be effective.

“He certainly was probably the best mediator with the most prestige for such a crisis.  But having said that, no crisis is ready for mediation until the parties are ready to mediate and ready to negotiate.  And I think in the Syrian situation, both parties have not yet reached that point,” Salem said.

Salem adds that the opposition might feel vindicated by Annan's resignation because it will bolster their argument that the government has never been ready to negotiate and was only using the envoy's mission as a cover to buy time to put down the uprising with force.

American University in Beirut political scientist Hillal Khashan sees Annan's resignation in a more pessimistic light.

“The resignation spells the formal death of all peace initiatives related to Syria,” he said.

Khashan said he believes the international community will move toward an accelerated settlement of the crisis, which means finding an exit for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that would likely involve military action from Syria's neighbors, particularly Turkey and Jordan.

“I think the next few days will witness an escalation of diplomacy, leading to direct military intervention by Syria's neighbors,” Khashan said.

Turkey and Syria have large Kurdish populations. Khashan says Turkey is likely to use the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a U.S.-designated terrorist group, as a pretext to interfere militarily in Syria.  He also notes that the rebel fighters, known as the Free Syrian Army, have established a corridor from the Turkish border to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, potentially opening a road for Turkish military intervention.

Jordan could also be drawn in, Khashan says, because its border with Syria has come under fire several times, most recently with Syrian rockets and artillery fired into Jordan.

But analyst Nadim Shehadi with London's Chatham House says there is another possible and preferable scenario. “There is the possibility of a diplomatic solution, whereby the Russians are convinced to step in and ensure the transition.  In fact, this would be the preferable one,” Shehardi said.

Salem agrees that Annan's resignation might put more pressure on the Russians, who have used their U.N. Security Council veto three times to protect the Assad government from tougher international action. “I think the Russians are trying to convince the regime in Syria to engage in a managed transition in which President Assad and his family would have a safe exit, and the armed forces, the Ba'ath Party and others, would be part -- and a significant part -- of a managed transition,” Salem said.

Shehadi says that before some in the international community were concerned about what might follow President Assad if he left -- an unknown opposition, al-Qaida, or perhaps civil war.  But now, he says, they are more fearful of what will happen the longer he stays.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
August 03, 2012 3:28 AM
Hats off to Kofi Annan, for at least trying to ration with Assad.


by: Lu Pet from: Beijing
August 02, 2012 9:55 PM
China own syria.. We visited this country since ancient times...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid