July 9, 2012

Annan's Syrian Plan Goes Zombie

Tragically doomed to fail since its inception, "Kofi Annan's" six-point plan for Syria's "transitory" finally appeared to keeled over this weekend after five months of stalemate. Annan admitted so himself on Saturday when he told France's Le Monde, "Clearly, we have not succeeded. And maybe there is no guarantee that we will succeed." Except his proposal, crafted by Western and Gulf powers, refuses to succumb to reality, a fact exposed by Annan's latest sit-down with Bashar al-Assad. His description of the meeting - "constructive and candid" - was taken straight from the Syrian Foreign Ministry: "constructive and good." 

"We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed on an approach which I will share with the armed opposition," Annan told reporters after the meeting. 

Unless the former secretary-general of the UN was threatened by Shabiha, Annan's comments are just as disconnected from Syria's revolution as the UN's plan. Openly modeled on Yemen's political transition, which blackballed the revolutionaries and solidified U.S.-GCC influence within the government, Syria's current proposal is counterrevolutionary to the core; Western and Gulf powers seek to control a democratic transition and alter Syria's position in the region. The document first emerged as a compromise under the Arab League banner and quickly crumbled into futility. The UN's political-monitoring mission followed the same rut to its theoretical end, taking thousands of Syrian lives in the process, and Annan's statements add insult to injury and death. After offering concessions both sides (such as replacing al-Assad with one of his vice presidents) and ultimately intensifying the country's stalemate, pushing ahead with al-Assad in tow represents a new level of fatal idealism. 

"I also stressed the importance of moving ahead with a political dialogue, which the president accepts." 

Annan will never manipulate al-Assad and his men by flattering them, but will instead remain a pawn in their own counterrevolution. Rather than create any benefits for the revolutionaries or even al-Assad's loyalists, Annan has further extended a brutal conflict by gifting a propaganda gold mine to al-Assad's regime and its allies. Some of his points are coated in a layer of truth to facilitate digestion in the West: “Russia has influence, but I don’t think that events will be determined by Russia alone. What strikes me is that there is so much talk about Russia and much less about Iran, and little is said about other countries that are sending money and weapons." 

Unfortunately Annan's entire performance benefits al-Assad more than any other party. These aren't the words of someone who is willing to resign or stop his war machine: "The United States is against me, the West is against me, many regional powers and countries [are] against me, so how could I stay in this position? The answer is, I still have public support." 

"We know that (Annan) is coming up against countless obstacles but his plan should not be allowed to fail, it is a very good plan," Assad told German television channel Das Erste on July 5th. "The biggest obstacle is that many countries do not even want this plan to succeed so they offer political support and continue to provide the terrorists in Syria with arms and money." 

He also slandered Syria's opposition with one of the oldest counterrevolutionary tactics, calling the revolutionaries a "mixture, an amalgam of Al Qaeda (and) other extremists." This is basic code for continuing his crackdown. 

The temporary breakdown of Annan's proposal has wasted no time wrecking fresh havoc between Washington, Moscow and Beijing. Far from broadening their coordination, each side continues to defy the other while attempting to marginalize the resulting friction - perpetually driving the hegemonic schism that haunts Syria's revolutionaries. On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the UN Security Council to make Russia and China "pay a price" for supporting al-Assad. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin responded, "Any words and deeds that slander China and sow discord between China and other countries will be in vain." 

Meanwhile Moscow has pledged to halt future arms shipments as existing contracts go through, and President Vladimir Putin is still clutching to al-Assad and his version of a democratic transition. Although peace is obviously preferable to civil war, all conceptions of a "political solution" aim to delegitimize Syria's revolution by reducing its internal fire. This criticisms aren't meant to excuse the organizational problems facing Syria's opposition, but the revolutionaries are battling the world's most powerful state actors (and blocs) to secure their self-determination. 

A deeper report will examine Syria's revolutionary-counterrevolutuonary balance once the international reaction assumes a more concrete shape.

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