Home  > Historical Perspectives
Save Kofi Annan (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Elliott Abrams 04/27/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1792 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Kofi Annan is a very nice man. All those around the world who would second that notion, or indeed actively endorse it with great energy, should be joining together now to salvage his reputation.

As secretary-general of the United Nations, Annan did not achieve much and did not push the great powers hard. But that is precisely why he was appointed secretary-general, and then re-appointed. He got along with everyone, and, unlike Kurt Waldheim, did nothing that brought opprobrium on the institution. So he emerged with his reputation intact in 2006, and kept it that way: no dirty deals for quick millions, no association with rotten causes.

Until now. Now, Annan is, objectively speaking, the greatest asset of the Assad regime. His failed mediation, or investigation, or negotiation, or whatever you want to call it, is preventing additional action against the Syrian regime. Assad is murdering scores of citizens, day after day, making a mockery of Annan and his peace plan. The decline in violence lasted a couple of days, and now Assad has reverted back to his ways. Annan has voiced alarm at the surge of violence, but the only solution he offered was the deployment of 300 U.N. “observers,” whom Syria is delaying and who, in any event, are not going to stop the Assad killing machine.

So those who want to do nothing now hide behind Annan and his “plan,” and behind its facade Assad expands the devastation. The day that Annan acknowledges these facts and resigns from this position will be the day that the U.S. and the EU will have to face facts about Syria – and do something.

Only this week the U.S. president chose to speak about preventing atrocities, and to do so at the Holocaust Museum. The new mechanisms he outlined are useful, and will serve well whenever any president is determined to act. When a president is determined not to act, they will have no impact. There are always mechanisms available when officials wish to avoid facing a problem, just as there are means to act when the desire to do so is there.

Right now the best reason the U.S., and everyone else, can offer for avoiding action on Syria is Kofi Annan and his peace plan. Annan owes it to himself, and his friends should be telling him, to quit – right now, immediately. A clear statement outlining all the efforts he has made and all the lies, deceit, and killings by the Assad regime would restore Annan’s own reputation (indeed, enhance it greatly) and force the U.S. and the EU to face the fact that the U.N. mission in Syria is dead. As secretary-general, the structures of the U.N. gave Annan some degree of justification for failing to speak truth to power. Today, he has no excuses.


Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY