In response to the Syrian government’s war on its own people, the United Nations sent in its crack diplomatic corps last February, armed with short-range shoulder-fired gobbledygook.
Amazingly, the high-minded gibberish of special envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point “peace plan” proved completely useless – and was even weaponized by the Syrian government, which has used the peace plan as cover to continue its brazen fratricide for all the world to see.
Two major problems with Kofi’s Cure-All:
First, his six points essentially asked Syrian President Bashar Assad to simply become a different person.
All Assad had to do, in Kofi’s mind, was to commit to stop the fighting he started; commit to “an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people,” which neither he nor his father before him has ever done; “ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting” – in other words, for Assad to begin to care about the people he’s been waging war on; and release “arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities” – in other words, be a totally different type of ruler.
Oh, and “ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists” and “respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.”
In short, Kofi told Assad, “Just stop being evil!” That’s not a peace plan. That’s a Disney script!
The other problem with his cure-all is that it was packaged as a peace plan to begin with. It aimed for a cease-fire, with the hope that that would somehow fundamentally change Assad and his goons.
Peace is not the absence of hostilities. Peace is inseparable from freedom and dignity and respect and the rule of law. You cannot achieve those things merely with the laying down of weapons – particularly if it is only one side laying them down.
On the other hand, sometimes – paradoxically – you can achieve those things, the precursors to peace, by taking up arms. The planet is riddled with examples of peoples who had to first fight for their freedom. Do you suppose that lasting, true peace is available to those under the tyrant’s thumb?
It’s sad to say, sadder to see – but the violence in Syria may just have to play itself out. The Syrians want to be free. Their government won’t let them get there peacefully. What choice do they have but to stand up to a menace that calls itself their leader?
Ironically, peace might have been possible if the U.N. had sent aid in to the Syrian people rather than the gobbledygook of diplomats – if the Arab League and the rest of the world had stood with the Syrian people and used the weight of a verifiably united globe to loosen Assad’s iron fist from the Syrian people’s throats.
Instead, the world stands by and watches as the Syrians cry out for help and for freedom. And the diplomats wonder why. Why didn’t our sweetly-written fairytale work?
As one news report put it Friday, Kofi Annan had to acknowledge that, quoting Kofi himself, “Syria was headed down a path of ‘brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war’.”
Really? It’s only headed down that path? Isn’t that path already well-trod and littered with bodies?
The Los Angeles Times noted, “Annan urged world leaders to make it clear that failing to comply with the plan would carry unspecified
Look out! Unspecified consequences are raining down on us!
That’ll sure scare the heck out of them in Damascus.