from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Kofi Annan’s Test

May 29, 2012

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Kofi Annan arrived in Syria today. His peace plan is in ruins, all the more visibly after this weekend’s atrocities: the killing of hundreds in the village of Houla. Annan called this "an appalling crime" that "shocked and horrified" him. He has also said that the Assad regime has failed to implement the peace plan he devised.

But now what? Can it be that even this mass killing willl have no impact beyond a bit of weekend hand-wringing? The Annan plan, and his "mediation" efforts as a whole, are a facade behind which Assad hides while killing civilians, and behind which the United States government and EU leaders hide to justify doing nothing very useful. Assad is not afraid of Kofi Annan.

We will know in a few days whether Annan goes doggedly, indeed blindly, forward or salvages his own reputation by declaring his efforts at an end and demanding international action against Assad. Were he to do so, action might actually follow; it would be difficult for governments to turn away and dismiss his conclusions.

So this week is a test for the former Secretary-General. He may be remembered for this sorry turn in Syria--or for demanding that governments face the truth and help the people of Syria put an end to the murderous Assad regime.

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