EDITORIAL: Situation in Syria seems hopeless
The Middle East seems on the verge of another war or at best a long period of instability. Last week, Israel reportedly made air strikes on Syria, a development which has already attracted wide condemnation in the Arab world.
Egypt on Sunday condemned the attacks, with the Arab League also demanding that the United Nations Security Council act to stop what it called “Israeli attacks”. It says the air strikes “violated international law and principles that will further complicate the situation”.
The Arab League which, like Egypt, sides with rebels against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, described the attack as a “dangerous violation of an Arab state’s sovereignty”.
The timing is really curious as Syria is in the throes of civil war and instability and it is obvious that Israel is exploiting Syria’s weakness. Though Israel says its objective was to obstruct a convoy allegedly carrying missiles to Hezbollah locations in Lebanon, the story seems porous.
This action came at the same time there were reports that UN-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has decided to throw in the towel like his predecessor Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General.
Annan resigned August last year, frustrated by the division between supporters in the West and the Arab world of those fighting to oust Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad and his traditional backers, principally Russia and China.
Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, has insisted throughout his career that there is no “hopeless situation”, but it appears that this time around he has not been able to find a magical solution.
It is unlikely that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will appoint anyone else. Part of the problem is that UN and Arab League parties only theoretically support the Geneva principles to end the bloodshed in Syria with a transitional government without al-Assad but do not do so in practice.
The Geneva principles were adopted on June 30, 2012, by the Syria action group made up of the five permanent UN Security Council members, the Arab League, Turkey, the UN and the European Union.
Some sections of the Middle East are not amused. For two years since the Syrian conflict erupted, the United States has unwittingly revealed much about its foreign policy preoccupations and motives.
It is depressingly easy to deduce that, given its entire indifference to and lack of action on the Syrian conflict thus far, despite the horrific and continuously deteriorating situation, the United States seems only to care about countries with large oil reserves.
The question being asked is: After Iraq, why did it move into Libya so quickly? Both the United States and Russia seem quite content to watch this dreadful war in Syria continue for as long as possible and allow Israel to do the dirty work.