Alistair Dawber: Kofi Annan has achieved all that he could through talk – but this is not a ceasefire

The West, stymied by Russia and China in the UN, is achieving little beyond sitting and waiting

Share
Related Topics

There was probably nobody better than Kofi Annan to try to broker a ceasefire in Syria. And Kofi Annan probably brokered the best possible deal. But it is a mockery to suggest that a ceasefire exists if President Assad is killing those who demand his exit.

Thirty UN peace monitors arrived in Damascus last night, following a band of similarly well-intentioned observers from the Arab League last year. This wholly inadequate number will quickly find, however, that in real terms there is no peace to monitor.

Reports and pictures from Homs yesterday suggest that Assad's forces are continuing their bombardment of the city and that in the north, anti-regime demonstrators are still being shot.

It is true that the level of violence has dropped off since last Thursday's ceasefire deadline, but the international community is burying its collective head in the blood-soaked Syrian desert if it believes that the Annan plan is the solution to the crisis.

David Cameron said last week that Assad faced a "day of reckoning" when he will have to answer for the killing of, so far, more than 9,000 of his own people. The Prime Minister may prove to be right, but the truth is that the West, stymied by the Russians and Chinese at the UN, is achieving little beyond sitting and waiting to see what happens. At the same time Assad is acting with impunity, and is growing in confidence since his bloody two-month campaign in Homs has gone unpunished.

The international community cannot sit behind the Annan plan as a credible framework for peace. If it does, it risks returning to the same debates in coming months where the only difference will be a dramatically increased body count.

The West may argue that it is hamstrung because Moscow and Beijing will not play ball, while the Gulf nations feed weapons to the rebels and complain that the rest of the world is passing the buck. Now, more than a year after it began, all this jaw-jaw is doing nothing to stop the war.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Store Sales Executive

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Sales Executive ...

Recruitment Genius: Night Porters - Seasonal Placement

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Night Porters are required to join a family-ow...

Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executives - B2B

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Genius Ltd continue...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Yorkshire Terrier waits to be judged during the Toy and Utility day of the Crufts dog show at the NEC in Birmingham  

There are no winners at Crufts. Dogs deserve better than to suffer and die for a 'beauty' pageant

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Daily catch-up: how come Ed Miliband’s tuition fee ‘cut’ is so popular, then?

John Rentoul
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn