By Sharmine Narwani
There is a lot of noise coming out of different quarters about the “imminent collapse” of the UN observer mission in Syria. “Dead on arrival,” says one American commentator. “Failure to uphold truce,” accused the White House and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, pointing fingers at the Syrian government.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned the international community – just one day after the Mission Protocol was signed – to “prepare for the possible failure” of peace efforts. The very same day, his US counterpart Hilary Clinton enthused: “We need to start moving very vigorously in the Security Council for a Chapter 7 sanctions resolution,” which allows for UN resolutions to be militarily enforced.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood was more specific about their concerns. They’re worried about the “non-objective results it might issue.”
Non-objective results? This sounds all too familiar. Usher in the discourse surrounding the Arab League observer mission in December/January, and you will find the exact doom-and-gloom rhetoric from more or less the same cast of characters, this time headed by Western-allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Ironically, it was Qatar and Saudi Arabia who vigorously championed the Arab League Mission until Syria decided to participate. The moment it became clear that monitors would enter Syrian hotspots and report back their observations, those two countries started counter-spinning aggressively against the investigative mission, eventually scuttling it altogether.
Next came their demands to “upgrade” to an “international” observer group led by the United Nations. But now that the Syrian government has agreed to the terms of the UN mission, the negative rhetoric – from the same geopolitical bloc of nations/allies – is once more threatening to cast doubt on the mission and its ability to positively impact events in Syria. (more…)