|Al-Ibrahimi’s mission in Syria is doomed to fail||
Sources inside the United Nations have said that the renowned Algerian diplomat, al-Akhdar al-Ibrahimi is to replace Kofi Annan as UN envoy to Syria, who resigned due to international disunity over the Syrian crisis.
Before al-Ibrahimi served as Algerian foreign minister from 1991 to 1993, he helped end Lebanon's civil war as an Arab League envoy. He also served as the UN envoy to Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks as well as in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. However, al-Ibrahimi’s inability to perform his duties in Iraq and Afghanistan begs many questions on whether he is really the man for the job in Syria.
Since the beginning of the unrest in Syria, Western countries, especially the United States, have done their utmost to block a political settlement of the dispute. The militarization of the conflict made it impossible for an experienced, well-known diplomat like Annan to find a solution that brought the parties to the table and stopped the bloodshed. Al-Ibrahimi would take over even further down this long and difficult road, which will likely end in the ditch.
The crisis in Syria is much like what happened in Afghanistan during the Taliban era. At that time, none of the sides involved in the conflict were ready to retreat from their positions, stymieing international resolution efforts. Many Syria observers see external powers’ relentless attempts to satisfy their own strategic demands as the root of their failure to find a solution.
China, Russia and Iran continue to support the Syrian government based on the strategic bonds developed over decades. On the other hand, the U.S., France, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar support a fledgling new armed group with little thought of what the future may hold. Western governments don’t stand on ceremony to speak of their eagerness for the regime change in Damascus and Britain’s recent $8 million grant to the opposition is a clear example of its rejection of peaceful means to solve crisis.
According to the sources inside the UN, Al-Ibrahimi would be officially announced as the new envoy to Syria early next week, but bearing in mind all the complexities of the situation on the ground, one can say that the new UN envoy’s mission is doomed to fail.
Ahmad Bakhshi is a political analyst and head of the Department of African Studies at Tehran’s Tarbiat-e-Modarres University.
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