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3 April 2012
The foot-dragging over what to do about Syria continues in diplomatic circles outside the country. Conference after conference is held, hands are wrung, but the result is zilch. Meanwhile, inside Syria the slaughter of opponents by the regime continues apace.
The sudden appointment in February 2012 of the Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general from 1997 to 2006, as UN-Arab League peace envoy to Syria should not have raised any hopes.
Annan’s tenure as UN secretary-general was mainly marked – in the time-honoured tradition of UN secretary-generals – by a studied deference to the interests of the great powers.
South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon, who succeeded Annan as UN secretary-general in 2007, has naturally given the Annan peace mission his backing. But Ban has a similarly undistinguished profile as a cautious prevaricator unwilling to take on the powers that be.
The 22-state Arab League is a squabbling talking-shop which has been largely ineffective since its formation in 1945.
Forget the crocodile tears being shed by grandstanding statespersons, such as Hillary Clinton, over the ongoing bloodshed in Syria. The principal interest of the great powers and their allies is that the current violence should be contained within Syria. For different reasons, Russia, China and the United States are prepared to turn a blind eye to the relentless slaughter provided that the conflict does not spill over into other countries of the Middle East. That is why they oppose the drive by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to arm the Syrian opposition. Moreover, in deference to the great powers, both Turkey and Jordan are preventing the transfer of arms across their borders into Syria.
Annan’s laughable peace plan reflects exactly this position – as it was bound to. Its main provision is the call for a “Syrian-led political process” with no requirement that the dictator Bashar al-Assad step down or be tried for the slaughter he has perpetrated. At the end of last month the UN estimated the death toll for the year-long conflict at more than 9 000.
Today 3 April 2012 we learn that Assad has “agreed” to a cease-fire on 10 April. Why not today? Because, of course, he needs the time to take out the remaining pockets of resistance to his regime. As to his “agreement” to the cease-fire, well, we have been here many times before. Assad has a history of “agreeing” to many things that he has never had the slightest intention of doing.
“He is a liar,” Waleed al-Fares, an opposition activist in Homs, told Reuters today 3 April 2012. Fares said Assad was playing for time to gain the upper hand over poorly-armed rebel forces which have been driven from city strongholds in the past two months.Targets in Homs were coming under shelling [today], he said.
Another opposition activist, Mortadha al-Rashid, told Reuters from Damascus that the western border town of Zabadani was also taking a pounding.“The regime shows no signs of stopping. There are people being shelled in Zabadani right now,” Rashid said. “Where are Kofi Annan’s words? Because we have never seen them on the streets.”
Comment by Antigone1984.com:
Kofi Annan is not stupid. He must know that what he is doing, in deference to the wishes of the great powers, is allowing Assad time to mop up his opponents so that his tyrannical rule can continue once the resistance has been killed off. In the meantime, hothead states, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which want to arm the rebels, must be held back until there are no rebels left alive to arm.
That is the game plan of this UN-Arab League “peace initiative” fronted by the devious Annan.
As we have said previously, Antigone1984 believes that the sword is mightier than the pen.
Hence, we are in favour of armed humanitarian intervention to save the lives of human beings threatened with annihilation by brutal regimes.
In 2011 we supported armed humanitarian intervention in Libya – as did the “international community”. Unlike that same “international community”, we support it today in Syria.
Are the lives of Syrians less important than the lives of Libyans?
Or is it just that, compared with Libya, Syria has fewer oil reserves to be exploited by the international oil majors?
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Das Vierte Reich/The Fourth Reich (6 Feb 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
5. What would Gandhi have said? (30 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.