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

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam