Plan to end Syria crisis falls flat

Matt Lee writes: The much-hyped plan to end Syria’s misery and guide its transition to democracy appears to have fallen flat despite the endorsement of Western powers.

Russia’s objections gutted the most stringent conditions on a potential interim leader in Damascus. The Syrian opposition quickly dismissed the proposal as a waste of time and with “no value on the ground.”

The U.S. and its allies insist the plan will force Syrian President Bashar Assad from power. Russia disagrees and Assad is unlikely to acquiesce.

It all leaves U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s efforts to end 15 months of bloodshed no better off than before.

Western nations needed to win Russia’s backing for the plan at an international conference Saturday in Geneva, so they dropped the demand that “those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation” would be excluded from the process.

That was widely understood to mean Assad and much of his inner circle, and while the West insisted, Assad’s main allies in Moscow resisted intensely.

As a result, the plan contains no criteria for excluding anyone from the transitional government and leaves its composition entirely up to the “mutual consent” of Assad administration and the fractured opposition. Both sides presumably have unlimited veto power over members of the interim government, which could prolong the stalemate and keep Assad in charge.

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3 thoughts on “Plan to end Syria crisis falls flat

  1. Norman

    It’s the U.S. and the rest of those involved who should keep their collective nose out of this currant attempt at regime change. It seems that just about everything the U.S. has touched since W.W.II has resulted in a fiasco of one sort or another. Consider what all that money could have achieved had it not be wasted on blowing people up?

  2. delia ruhe

    There is further news:

    Apparently Russia and China have endorsed a United Nations plan for political transition in Syria. This has “empowered Annan” to go to Damascus. Clinton says, ‘If Annan reports back to the so-called Syria Action Group that his mission has failed, “then I think we will have to act, and I believe we will be building the case as to why the Security Council should take such action,” she said.’

    I would put my money on a NATO intervention, with the blessing of the SC.

  3. Paul Woodward

    I would rate the likelihood of NATO intervention as being about equal to the chances that Obama is going to withdraw from the presidential race. It’s not going to happen.

    Clinton anticipates that the Syrian Action Group could find itself in a situation where it has no choice but to take action. I guess that’s why they decided to call it the Syrian Action Group, though in truth I think the kind of “action” it’s really designed to undertake is exactly the kind of action it just completed: the creation of a five-page accord.

    “We will have to act,” has a grand none-specificity to it.

    I would say that all the outside parties are already acting, but I use that term in the theatrical sense.

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