Syria: Annan resigns, Beijing hedges its Bets

The Syrian government and opposition reacted to UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan‘s announcement that he would end his work by the end of the month, reports Xinhua:

In a statement published on August 2, the Syrian foreign ministry expressed deep regret. The statement emphasized that the Syrian government had always worked for the implementation of Annan’s six-point resolution plan for the Syrian crisis, to solve the crisis by political means and dialog.

叙利亚外交部2日发表声明称,对于安南辞去特使职务,叙方深表遗憾。声明强调,叙政府一直致力于执行安南提出的解决叙利亚危机的六点和平建议,通过政治对话的方式解决叙利亚危机。

The statement says that the Syrian government had always maintained good cooperation with the UN monitoring mission. But some countries, despite verbal promises to support Annan’s peace proposals, had in fact acted to the contrary. The statement also points out that the Syrian government would continue to  combat terrorism within the Syrian borders, and protect the safety of civilians and property.

声明说,叙政府一直同联合国叙利亚监督团保持良好的合作。但一些国家虽然口头承诺支持安南的和平建议,实际行动恰恰相反。声明还指出,叙利亚政府将继续打击境内的恐怖主义,保护平民与财产安全。

At the same time, Hassan Abdel Azim, general coordinator of Syria’s biggest opposition party, the “Syrian National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change”, told a Xinhua reporter that Annan’s departure meant that the peace proposals had failed, the main reason of which was that the armed conflict between the Syrian government’s and the oppositional forces had never stopped. He said that hopes for a peaceful resolution were now very distant, and Syria would fall into full civil war.

另一方面,叙国内最大的反对派政党联合组织“叙利亚全国民主变革力量民族协调机构”总协调员哈桑·阿卜杜·阿济姆对新华社记者说,安南的离任意味着和平建议宣告失败,其主要原因是叙利亚政府与反对派武装之间一直冲突不断。他说,政治解决叙利亚危机的希望已经非常渺茫,叙利亚将陷入全面的内战。


Huanqiu Shibao:

According to RIA Novosti, a leading Syrian oppositional believes that the international community is responsible for Annan resignaton as the UN and Arab-League special envoy.

据俄新社8月3日消息,叙利亚反对派一名领导人日前对安南辞去联合国-阿盟联合特使职位发表看法,他认为,导致安南使命失败的责任在国际社会。

One of the “National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change” leaders, Hassan Abdel Azim, said that “Annan was the United Nations’ and the Arab League’s special envoy, but didn’t get the support the international community should have given him”. He believed that on the one hand, Russia and China hadn’t exerted pressure on the Assad regime, and on the other, America, the West, Turkey, and some Arab countries hadn’t put pressure on the armed opposition, and therefore hadn’t been able to to get the crisis onto a political track.

叙利亚反对派团体“全国民主变革力量民族协调机构”领导人之一哈桑•阿卜杜•阿济姆说:“安南是联合国和阿盟的联合特使,却没有获得国际社会的应有支持。”他认为,一方面,俄罗斯和中国未向巴沙尔政权施压,另一方面,美国、西方、土耳其和一些阿拉伯国家未向反对派武装施压,未能将危机转入政治轨道。

[…] He said: “military confrontation within Syria will decide the outcome. The winner will be decided in the violence between the government and the armed opposition”.

[…..] 他说:“叙利亚的命运将取决于国内军事对立的结果,将在当局的暴力和反对派武装的反暴力中决出胜者。”

Reading Chinese media leaves the impression that the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change is the opposition group Beijing believes it can do business with (to use the old Thatcher quote), if the need arises.

National Coordination Committee members visited Beijing in February this year and had words of praise for China’s just position on Middle East affairs at the time. An informal or – just as possible – semi-official blogger suggested in February that Beijing had previously lost ground in Libya for its cool relations with Gaddafi’s opponents, and had become smarter by the Libyan experience.

Hassan Abdel Azim (apparently also referred to as Hussein Abdel Azim) is seen as a Nasserist, i. e. an Arab nationalist and socialist, rather than an Islamist.

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Related

» UN General Assembly passes Resolution, RIA Novosti, Aug 3, 2012

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6 Comments to “Syria: Annan resigns, Beijing hedges its Bets”

  1. Annan is a perfectly odious/serpentine UN bureaucrat who deserves his ignominious departure. A lot more Rwandans would be alive today if he did his job in the 90’s. ie that “missing telegram”. Also a family which has monetised his UN position. He gives African politicians a very bad name, and may he develop throat cancer.

    Not that I’m letting Belgium and France off the hook. The former is a pedophile playground and global arms bizarre, and I’m not even going to comment on French foreign policy.

    That aside, Syria has turned into every-bodies armed playground, and the really serious bloodletting has yet to begin. Clan-based islamic societies have no place in the modern world.

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  2. Annan is a perfectly odious/serpentine UN bureaucrat
    That from a blogger whose prime minister’s name is Julia Gillard, KT? Me very amazed.

    Kofi Annan‘s tactic of polite diplomacy against a backdrop of mass murder may indeed be a familiar story, as the Guardian‘s diplomatic editor wrote in May. But one can put the accusations exactly the other way round, too: because diplomacy (and partly sanctions) were the only approach allowed by the security council, they chose the diplomat, not a crusher, as a special envoy. I believe that Annan deserves credit for having taken the job – senior diplomats were hardly queueing for the task.

    It should also be pointed out that Annan’s “nice” approach worked fairly well on Kenya – and that during his tenure as UN secretary general, the concept of “R2P” wasn’t nearly as elaborate as it is now.

    Personally, I believe that an approach that combines respect for human lives and state sovereignty could have worked, if the major stakeholders had put Syria, rather than their respective national interests, first. China and Russia were too interested in protecting the “status quo”, and America, the Arab League and Europe were too interested in making this a case for the demise of the Assad regime.

    It’s an understandable approach to blame people, rather than organizations and circumstances, and obviously, an official’s record needs to be permanently scrutinized. But the press hasn’t done a good job at that when it comes to Syria, and when it’s about the UN, the org has so many enemies (and not just critics – mind the “world-government” theorists) that I find it hard to read a convincing record of Annan’s years at the helm from it.

    What worries me more than the Rwanda genocide and the failure of the six-points plan for Syria is that rather than trying to learn from the tragedies, incriminations keep flying. It takes me aback to see how many people – not politicians or diplomats, just people like you and me – who are no Syrians, and don’t even have family or friends in the country, act as lobbyists for the many different parties in the conflict.

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  3. JR. Your long reply thanks.

    Your arrow about that welsh peasant gillard totally misses its mark. So here is the official and unofficial policy in tubbyland.

    I regard the political class of whatever persuasion or level of govt here in ozland as pure vermin of the first order, and should be treated as such. To avoid contamination, I never watch tv except for sbs international news, read domestic newspapers or listen to ozland radio. I also have been paying fines for refusing to vote in every election since 1999, and am a paid up member of the Guy Fawkes party, the only person to ever enter parliament with honest intentions.

    Fortunately, I have lots of on and offline interests to replace this domestic political vacuum.

    I have read sufficient books on the Rwandan genocide, so will be standing by my very negative assessment of Annan who is still personna non grata in Kigali..

    Re Syria. Totally agree with your remark about major outside stakeholders and their respective national interests. (Syria has turned into every-bodies armed playground. One could exemplify this point by mentioning Turkey with its concern to see that a rump Kurdish homeland is not established in any Syrian vacuum).

    My simple point was that, with or without outside interference, Syrians or members of any other Arabic country don’t need any outside incitement to cut each others throats over religious differences. If you listened to BBC last night, the Shia in Saudi Arabia are now thinking about a bit of Sunni throat cutting.

    And lets not ascribe the present day situation in the Arabic world to Gertrude Bell, the Sykes -Picot Agreement, Lawrence of Arabia or any other colonial moment. Communal throat cutting is an Islamic characteristic. Members of the Bahia faith were tortured and murdered as were the Assryrian christians and all the minority jewish communities in their predominately Islamic communities. I could extend this list and also provide a bibliography.

    Finally, my simple point was that if anyone thinks the blood letting in Syria has reached its statistical high point, they are fools. Forget about well meaning global intentions. This is an inter-communal fight to the finish, and the winner will take all ie pogrom the vanquished communities.

    Lets return to this point in 12 months and see if my assessment is correct.

    In fact, the Libyans look downright civilised in contrast as they rejected an Islamicist govt. In brief, they made the point that they were plain sick and tired of being lectured about how to think and behave, whether by Gadaffi or a bunch of clerics with beards.

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  4. KT, as for making Annan persona non grata in Rwanda, that’s of course legitimate, but it suggests to me that Rwandans, too, are in a certain need of deflecting responsibilities at home on people abroad. After all, many perps will continue to walk among them at home, and may never be brought to justice, or even be identified. That should bother them much more than Annan, in my view.

    As for Annan’s role, I think that our ways of viewing people are generally different. What’s food for thought for me is that someone who was fundamentally involved – Roméo Dallaire – is much less critical of Annan than many who weren’t involved. And Dallaire – that’s important, I believe – was in no need for people he could lay blame on, to deflect blame which would have laid on him otherwise. Asked what responsibility [for the genocide] Annan had, Roméo said that

    […] it is my belief that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was overwhelmed. It was overwhelmed, it was tired, and it was playing by the rules because the whole Western world was gun-shy and it was standing there with nobody wanting to play. And so it reacted under the influence of the Secretary-General, which in itself is another story of the time, and the Security Council, and the permanent five, and in particular UK, France, and the US.

    I’m not suggesting that Annan should have become UN Secretary-General after that failure. Both Roméo, and – under very different circumstances – David Richards, in Sierra Leone – did much better than what he did. My point is that I’m not condemning Annan. And I’m afraid that David Richard’s success helped to shape a view within the British political class that would later apply the experience of the Sierra Leone success to situations where it didn’t work – to put it mildly.

    As for my displeasure with our political class in Germany, I know a lot of fellow Germans who are just as annoyed (and resigned?) about our political class, as you are about yours. I’m rarely watching television, and what I get on German radio – especially public radio, which is practically owned by the political parties -, leads me to the conclusion that our political class wants to educate us, rather than governing efficiently and responsibly.

    But I’ll never lose hope, and I’ll never give up on my own – modest – efforts to make things better. If we can’t do that in a democracy, it can’t be done anywhere. I’m aware that you are doing that, too, in an ecological context.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not criticizing your conclusions. We may be in very different places, and I’m sure we have very different tempers. That’s what makes a discussion matter. But that also seems to mean that we should accept the fact that we are different, and start every debate from there.

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  5. Many thanks JR for your response. I must admit I have been waiting for your feedback, since I usually never go beyond 2 sentences now days. I will need time to digest your points before replying.
    Best KT

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  6. That’s good, actually – I’ll be travelling from now until Tuesday night and probably won’t be able to comment too frequently either.

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