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It is surprising that Brahimi held on for this long

When there is no way your mission is to be accomplished, then you are left with no choice but to resign

Raed Omari

Published: Updated:

When there is no way your mission is to be accomplished, then you are left with no choice but to resign, full stop. Otherwise the simple formula is to remain in your post until the time you are certain of the impossibility of achieving the envisioned goal of your mission which is something that may end up making you unethical, disgraceful or even corrupt.

Caught in such an unenviable situation, Lakhdar Brahimi has announced his resignation from his position as the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria. There is also a lot of frustration behind the U.N. long-serving diplomat’s resignation resulting not from his inability to bring Syria’s warring parties to a new round of peace talks but primarily from the complications of the Syrian crisis and the accompanying zero probability of a peaceful solution to Syria’s more than three years of conflict and turmoil.
Making the announcement of his “regretful” acceptance of Brahimi’s resignation during the daily press briefing at U.N. Headquarters in New York recently, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been quoted as saying Brahimi “faced almost impossible odds with the Syrian nation, Middle Eastern region, and ... international community that have been hopelessly divided in their approaches to ending the conflict.” With the Syrian war grinding on with no end in sight, Ban lamented Brahimi’s relinquish of his post as a “tragedy for the Syrian people” and a “failure” for the U.N.

‘Very, very sad to leave Syria in such a bad state’

Present at the press briefing, Brahimi said he was “very, very sad to leave Syria in such a bad state,” expressing his confidence in the Secretary-General’s readiness to do “everything humanly possible” to work with the U.N. Security Council, the Syrian parties and with neighboring countries, to end the crisis. “I’m sure the crisis will end, but all [stakeholders] should consider how much more death, how much more destruction will occur…before Syria can become a new Syria.” But, the Security Council is plagued with the U.S. vs. Russia veto dilemma, the unabridged gap between Syria’s warring parties and the refugee-burdened neighboring countries’ readjustment of their priorities.

The war in Syria will continue regardless of Assad’s 100 percent win in the upcoming presidential elections

Raed Omari

“Everybody who has responsibility and an influence in the situation has to remember that the question is how many more dead? How much more destruction is there going to be before Syria becomes again the Syria we have known,” Brahimi was also quoted as saying. But again, who cares? Seemingly, it will not be that big a deal if Syria’s death toll passes 150,000 to 200,000 or even 250,000.

Aside from such sentimentalities, Brahimi’s resignation should even have been submitted a bit earlier, exactly after the failure of Geneva II peace conference on Syria before and during which the veteran diplomat has exerted hectic efforts to convene and ensure a fruitful aftermath. With Brahimi’s mission having been centered around pushing for a political solution to the Syrian war – a peace-facilitation role he took over from former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in August 2012 – stepping down from position was in fact the least that was expected from the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy.

On more than one occasion, Brahimi has made it clear that he contemplated stepping down from the post as international Syria mediator. The veteran Algerian diplomat, who succeeded in organizing two rounds of negotiations in Geneva between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and members of the opposition seeking to oust him, told reporters a year ago in New York that has been thinking every day about resigning.

Presidential elections

What accelerated Brahimi’s resignation was in fact Assad’s announcement that the presidential elections would be held on June 3 with the exiled opposition being banned from participating in the event. This automatically doomed the peace efforts Brahimi has exerted which are hoped to lead to a transitional government that would combine all the Syrian political fractions.
Strangely enough, many link Brahimi’s resignation to Assad regaining the upper hand in the Syrian war, especially as it has coincided with the Syrian rebels’ withdrawal from areas in the massively-destroyed city of Homs after agreeing a ceasefire deal with government forces.

To prove how such linkage is baseless, one should raise the following questions: Has there ever been a possibility for a political solution to the Syrian crisis to be negatively affected by Brahimi’s departure? Since Syria’s war early beginning, Assad has been talking about his intention to run for presidential elections paying no attention to the Americans’ objection to such move which literally abolishes any talk about political solution.

The other question is how crucial in the situation on the ground in Syria is the rebel evacuation from Homs and in what regard is it an indication of Assad’s forces gaining in the upper hand in the ongoing struggle, especially when taking into account that a similar incident has occurred in the western city of Qusayr? In other words, nothing is special in the two developments at all. They are just new odds in the Syria’s ongoing war.

War in Syria will continue

The war in Syria will continue regardless of Assad’s 100 percent win in the upcoming presidential elections. The Syrian rebels will continue their fight against the regime’s forces using weapons they have been obtaining on their own way but not from the United States. The Syrian people who returned to Homs will soon leave their massively-devastated city as there are no homes to stay at there. The U.N. will name a new peace envoy to Syria to start again from scratch as if nothing happened. The same rhetoric of condemnation of the systematic killing and large-scale destruction in Syria and assertion of the importance of a political solution to the ongoing war there will continue being raised from the major players in the Syrian crisis. It is just a continuation of the world’s long-held position on Syria’s ongoing war.

Back to Brahimi’s resignation, his peace mission has been faced by the two major complications in the Syrian war America’s indecisiveness and disinterestedness as opposed to Russia’s boldness and eagerness and his replacement will also have to explore a political solution to Syria’s struggle with these two constants always ahead.

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Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via raed_omari1977@yahoo.com, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2

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