A Metaphor for the World's Futility in Syria

The Arab League has canceled a meeting to deal with the Syrian crisis. No reason was given, but it is probable that the League has been unable to settle on a candidate to replace outgoing envoy Kofi Annan and a meeting would be fruitless at this point.


A metaphor for the World’s futility in addressing the Syrian Civil War? Got that right.


Mr Annan resigned from his position as UN-Arab League envoy to Syria earlier this month, after his proposed six-point peace plan failed to come into effect and violence escalated.

His replacement had been due to top the agenda for foreign ministers who had been due to gather on Sunday in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

But the Arab League’s deputy secretary general, Ahmed Ben Helli, told reporters the meeting has been postponed, and no new date had yet been set.

He did not say why the meeting had been delayed.

The man tipped by diplomats to be given the job is veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.

The mandate of the United Nations observer mission in Syria – which now comprises some 150 observers – is due to run out in a week’s time.

But UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says there still need to be people on the ground to make impartial assessments of the military situation.

The Security Council will discuss the issue on Thursday, but there is little consensus on the council, with Syrian ally Russia calling for an extension and the US sceptical about prolonging the mission.

Instead, the US is taking steps outside the structures of the UN to support Syrian opposition groups, such as the setting up of the working group with Turkey announced by Mrs Clinton in her meeting with her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday.

“Our number-one goal is to hasten the end of the bloodshed and the Assad regime,” she said.


As ineffective and weak organizations go, the Arab League tops the list. Syria is in flames and the diplomats are arguing over how hot the fire is. Not only is the idea of another envoy useless and even counterproductive, not being able to agree on someone for a post that everyone acknowledges won’t change anything on the ground in Syria shows the dysfunction and disconnect from reality that the League, the United Nations, and the Obama administration are all held in thrall to.

Assad continues to blow up his own cities and murder hundreds of civilians while his friends in Russia continue to run interference for him in the international arena. It’s a lousy state of affairs that no one seems willing — or able — to confront.


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