Why Syria and the World Will Miss Kofi Annan’s Peace Plan


The habit in the U.S. punditocracy of blaming Kofi Annan for the failure of his Syria mediation is not only misleading; it’s often a self-serving evasion. Annan, who admitted defeat on Thursday when he resigned as the joint envoy of the U.N. and the Arab League, was always on something of a fool’s errand in Syria, sent to forge a peace in which none of the combatant parties saw any value beyond enhancing their diplomatic position, but to which the international players looked to mask the limits of the leverage they were willing or able to bring to bear on the situation. As the International Crisis Group (ICG) had noted just a day before Annan’s announcement, the envoy had “sought to mediate, but Syrians and non-Syrians alike backed him for opposite reasons and in entirely self-serving ways.”

In a valedictory op-ed in the Financial Times, Annan warned of dire…

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