Kofi Annan: ‘I’m Dead Certain’ Military Intervention in Syria ‘Will Not Work’

The former UN Secretary General and envoy to Syria also said Paul Ryan's argument against diplomacy was 'dead wrong'

Former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan warned in an interview that will air on Sunday, that military intervention in Syria by the major powers will not work and “will make the situation much worse.”

On his CNN show, Fareed Zakaria asked Annan, who recently served as UN envoy to Syria in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement to stop the bloody civil conflict, whether military intervention could work as a solution.

“I’m dead certain it will not work,” Annan said. “It will make the situation much worse.”

“First of all, Libya – people refer to Libya as an example. Syria is not Libya. Syria is located in one of the most volatile regions of the world. Syria is next to Iraq, next to Lebanon, where we have had major problems. And in a region where you have all sorts of jihadist elements, and as we know they’ve been crossing into Syria. And because of the nature of Syrian society, which is a mosaic.”

Annan also derided the claims among some in the major powers that “something” or some kind of intervention must be done in order to stem the violence.

These are the same groups of people, he said, “that propagated the idea that any attempt to mediate gives Assad more time to kill.” This “is a piece of unmitigated nonsense,” adding that statements to this effect from GOP vice presidential contender Paul Ryan were “dead wrong.”

Annan has voiced these views before. All the way back in March, he warned not only against direct military intervention, but also against foreign meddling and arming of insurgent and rebel groups by various countries.

Early this month, Syrian officials reiterated similar arguments. In a speech at the UN, the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Walid Al-Moualem said, “the success of any international effort requires, in addition to the commitment of the Syrian Government, committing the states supporting armed groups in my country, particularly Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya and others, to stop arming, funding, training and harbouring armed terrorist groups, and instead to encourage dialogue and renounce violence.”

Annan’s views are compatible with what Prof. Eva Bellin and Prof. Peter Krause in the Middle East Brief from Brandeis University found in their study of the Syria situation: “The distillation of historical experience with civil war and insurgency, along with a sober reckoning of conditions on the ground in Syria, make clear that limited intervention of this sort will not serve the moral impulse that animates it. To the contrary, it is more likely to amplify the harm that it seeks to eliminate by prolonging a hurting stalemate.”

Here is a segment of the interview (go here to view the other segment).

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.