Yesterday, Annan was back in Damascus calling on “everyone with a gun” in Syria to give it a rest—as if all parties were equally to blame for the country’s agony. By what honest argument, after Houla, can one deny Syrians who feel the need to take up arms against the Assad regime? And who can take comfort from what the spokesman for the Syrian foreign ministry, Jihad Makdissi, tweeted today: “Positive & constructive meeting between Annan & President Assad this morning. Details discussed to push forward the plan & end violence”?
Sounds a lot like the Middle East peace process in the last 20 years, doesn't it?
Philip Gourevitch has more on Syria here, in which he writes:
To Syria hawks, like Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham, the solution to the crisis is simple: an American- and NATO-led air war against Assad. But, at the NATO summit in Chicago last week, there was no support for the idea. Proponents of intervention like to point out that Obama’s Permanent Representative to NATO, Ivo Daalder, was the co-author of a piece in Foreign Affairs which said that the “victory” in Libya should serve as a model for future interventions to prevent atrocity and support positive political change. But none of the conditions that worked to NATO’s advantage in Libya—its geographical and political self-containment, Qaddafi’s abandonment, the efficacy of the opposition forces, the ease of executing the mission from the air—pertain in Syria. Instead, the situation has all the makings of just the sort of quagmire that NATO is impatient to get out of: the main item on the agenda in Chicago was to declare the plan to withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014 “irreversible.”