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 Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid