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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid