Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is hosting a meeting in Switzerland to talk about his Syrian peace plan and finding ways to implement it.
The only problem is, the plan has been dead for months — ignored by both President Bashar al-Assad and the Free Syrian Army of rebels. It never got off the ground. It never had a chance of working.
But here we are 3 months later and Annan is still beating his dead horse. Remarkable denial in the face of overwhelming facts.
The US isn’t much better. Washington and Moscow are quarreling over whether to allow President Assad a role in the “political transition” in Syria. This is a pipe dream because Assad has no intention of talking with the opposition much less allowing for a transition of any kind. The US and Russia are arguing over a fantasy.
So the great game of “pretend” continues as the world fails to face up to the massive bloodletting in Syria by pretending they’re doing something about it.
A conference called by special envoy Kofi Annan to end the Syria crisis appeared on the brink of failure as it opened Saturday, with the U.S. and Russia still divided over a role for President Bashar Assad in a transition government.
Annan seemed confident of his plan a few days ago, but Russia has refused to back a provision that would call for Assad to step down to make way for a unity government, a stance that could scuttle the entire deal.
The envoy warned the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — that if they fail to act at the talks hosted by the United Nations at its European headquarters in Geneva they face an international crisis of “grave severity” that could spark violence across the region and provide a new front for terrorism.
“History is a somber judge and it will judge us all harshly if we prove incapable of taking the right path today,” he said.
He appeared to specifically aim his words at Russia, Syria’s most important ally, protector and arms supplier, which insists that outsiders cannot order a political solution for Syria. The U.S. is adamant that Assad should not be allowed to remain in power at the top of the transitional government and there is little chance that the fragmented Syrian opposition would go along with any plan that does not explicitly say Bashar must go.
I suppose it makes these well meaning diplomats feel better that they have convinced themselves they are doing something to stop the bloodshed. But the fact is, the time for a diplomatic end to this horrible situation has long since passed and the only way forward would involve soldiers — something all sides agree won’t happen.
So the pretending will continue. It’s just too bad that the 170 people dying every day in Syria can’t pretend they’ve lost their lives.