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What is Brahimi’s logic on Syria?

We are not demanding the impossible from Brahimi, like ending the fighting and making the Assad regime exit power

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi did not only fail to meet the Geneva I Conference’s demand that a transitional government without Bashar al-Assad be established in Syria, he also failed to evacuate 400 women and children besieged in the old town of Homs.

We know that Assad’s negotiating delegation went to Switzerland to sabotage the conference, and it succeeded. Brahimi, who said he has been preparing to hold the conference since last May, did not succeed in anything. Therefore, I don’t know what Brahimi wants to achieve when trying to unite the rival parties in one room. He knows well that he who is outside the room - that is Assad - will never make any concessions even if they are opening the way for a Red Cross team to rescue those besieged in Homs for 10 months now. So, how can we expect the Assad regime to allow its employees in Geneva to negotiate the idea of him exiting power by forming a coalition government without him?

The Syrian opposition delegation embarrassed the U.N. more than it succeeded in besieging the Assad delegation. The U.N. appeared weak and Brahimi, its representative, appeared incapable of achieving anything. He settled with requesting that people pray for him. If praying is what it takes, we wouldn’t have needed to go to Geneva since the Arab world’s mosques have been praying for three years now.

A lesson

The Geneva meet was a lesson for the U.N. and superpowers to work towards stopping the Syrian tragedy. They failed the test. The repercussions of this failure will lead to the further deterioration of Syria’s, and the region’s, security. The Syrian regime is publicly besieging cities and international organizations, including those linked to the U.N., it has overseen murder by starving people and besieging them. All they do is beg the regime to allow aid to enter these cities. The U.N. has a list of 4,000 people in need of savior from inevitable death in Homs, and all that Brahimi does is seek to convince the regime and the opposition to sit in one room! It seems the aim is to feed the media with rare photos of the envoy’s success.

We are not demanding the impossible from Brahimi, like ending the fighting and making the Assad regime exit power

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

We didn’t hope for much. Even before anyone traveled to Switzerland, we knew the conference would fail. But the Geneva conference serves as a witness, not to Assad because the extermination war he’s practicing is enough of a witness, but to Brahimi, the U.N. and the international team involved in the political process regarding the Syrian cause.

We are not demanding the impossible

Brahimi will say that he cannot impose anything on the belligerent parties in Syria. We are not demanding the impossible from him, like ending the fighting and making the Assad regime exit power, but we blame him for his failure on the humanitarian issue and for his failure to mobilize a political stance that helps save the besieged people and raise awareness of their fate so that a zero tolerance policy is taken up.

The Syrian regime humiliated Brahimi and not the opposition. Assad’s information minister, Omran Zoabi, told him the request to evacuate 500 besieged families is part of a political game. Barahimi said nothing worth reminding you of regarding these innocent people! He wants to make Assad leave power when he cannot even evacuate starving children! What kind of logic and priorities are these?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Jan. 30, 2014.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.