As the Syrian revolution turned violent, comparisons of the situation there have been made to every possible recent regional conflict. The Syrian conflict has gained some sectarian momentum which guaranteed its resemblance – according to many analysts (to different degrees) – to the Iraqi, Lebanese or former Yugoslavian conflicts.
Now, for us the Lebanese, we can very much relate to the sequence of events in Syria. It’s déjà vu for us. We can tell what comes after bombings for example; kidnappings, revenge killings, sectarian mobilisation, rise of local warlords are always on the menu.
Of course, the disappearance of the state’s presence is also a natural outcome, and a main reason of oppression in the Syrian case. I said here before that the longer Assad stays in power, the nastier it gets. And indeed, it’s nastier now.
There are specific legal definitions for civil wars, but what it matters to me is that the (Syrian) society is now deeply divided and ready to fight each other; that is a main ingredient of any civil war whatever definition you chose to use.
Another aspect of a civil war, which is something I couldn’t but to continuously think of, is to have some sort of permanent coordinator or special envoy to the conflict. As if we don’t have enough association with Lebanon’s civil war, so we got now… Al-Akhdar Al-Ibrahimi in Syria.
The whole concept that Kofi Annan resigns his job, then gives us a 30-day notice, then gets replaced by Al-Ibrahimi, is somehow absurd to me. Kofi Annan is now practically a ‘caretaker’ UN Special Envoy to Syria until the end of the month. Which means a 30-day, in the real timeframe of events, is a short duration for his bosses. You can easily sense there is no sense urgency there.
So, it seems there is recognition that this is a full-time permanent job that has to stay – even if the first envoy failed in his mission!
So the big question is: what makes us (or some guys with veto power) think that the 78 years old Al-Akhdar Al-Ibrahimi can deliver where Kofi Annan couldn’t? Is it really about the individual? Of course not.
Al-Akhdar Al-Ibrahimi has succeeded in Lebanon in 1989-1990, but let’s keep his success in perspective; at the time, it was due to the Saudi-Syrian-American deal, the decline of the Soviet Union and the cold war, and the fatigue of the Lebanese militias who had enough fun and ‘defence’ of their land for 15 continuous years.
I wish Syria and the Syrians a better deal on Al-Akhdar’s hands, that’s if there was a deal. Also, let’s ponder his deep words in the below video from Lebanon days…