Annan's Initiative Has Failed…What Next?


12 April 2012

By Tariq Alhomayed

There is no doubt that Kofi Annan's mission was a failure before it even started, and this is what I said over and over again, but today, following the al-Assad regime's announcement that it will not implement the terms of Annan's mission, we can officially say that the mission has failed; all that remains is for Annan to declare it himself. The question now is: What next? Will there be another initiative giving al-Assad the opportunity to kill again? Of course, this is what the rational and wise fear.

What is happening in Syria is not a crisis between two parties, rather it is a revolution, a genuine Arab revolution, and what we see are the people being held prisoner at the hands of al-Assad's gangs, without impunity. Matters do not stop here; yesterday the al-Assad regime opened fire on the Lebanese border, and killed a Lebanese journalist there. The same day al-Assad's troops opened fire on the Turkish border, killing Syrian refugees, and this means that Bashar al-Assad is seeking to ignite the region at any cost. How can he be given another chance? This is a dangerous, indeed disastrous matter, and if this happens; the Syrian people will not be the only ones to suffer, but rather the entire region and its security.

Thus today we must begin to activate the operations room for those interested in helping Syria, whether Arabs, Turks or Westerners, so they can mobilize and impose a new status quo on the Syrian ground, and stop the bloodshed. Today Turkey must clarify its stance and take more practical steps, for what is happening in Syria affects its security and sovereignty. Today Jordan must be decisive and move away from the grey area, or the area of uncertainty where all solutions and initiatives have failed. The latest initiative, Kofi Annan's proposal, didn't fail because the West or the Arabs wanted it to, but because al-Assad does not want to be prosecuted or killed. Jordan must decide what kind of future it wants for the region, and its borders: Does Jordan want a desolate neighbor, choked by an authoritarian ruler far worse than all the other tyrants of the region? Or does Jordan want a Syria free from tyranny, with a peaceful future for its citizens and neighbors, and the entire region?

Therefore a coalition to help Syria must mobilize, and Turkey and Jordan need to define their stances, as does Washington before them both. Yet [to pressure America to do so], this requires an Arab diplomatic tour, consisting of the states in the region capable of resolving the matter.

Whilst it should be nearing its end, the al-Assad regime is continuing to escalate matters, and is always pushing to the brink of the abyss, making it difficult for others to find solutions, in the sense that al-Assad makes the rules of the game difficult and hence confines others to inactivity, or limits them to taking "decisive" steps that everyone knows the international community will not live up to. Therefore, the coalition of states interested in helping Syria must mobilize to further increase pressure on the al-Assad regime, with practical and effective steps on the ground. The al-Assad regime only understands the language of force, because that's what al-Assad himself believes in, and this is what some of his visitors heard recently when he said "the people should be afraid". This is why initiatives have completely failed in Syria, and al-Assad must understand that he must pay for his crimes today, and not tomorrow!

Thus we can say that Annan's mission has failed, so will we now mobilize?

 

Tariq Alhomayed is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest person to be appointed that position. He holds a BA degree in Media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, and has also completed his Introductory courses towards a Master's degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is based in London.

 

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