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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid