Every now and then, the Security Council hosts Joint Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, in hopes that he may present some new achievement within his. Yet there he is, repeating the same refrain, this time with the added element of refuting the news of his resignation from this mission that is making no progress at all. The Friends of the Syrian People also meet from time to time to compete in declaring their support for this devastated people and making promises to aid them.
In the interim, thousands of Syrians fall dead, get wounded, imprisoned or displaced, between the two meetings, while the country's economy suffers losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. Even more, the truth is that the rate of human and material losses rises and falls to the rhythm at which such meetings are held… to such a degree as to raise questions about whether the purpose of these meeting is to merely clear one’s conscience or to cover for the unfolding disaster.
Among the massive amount of ideas, opinions and plans that have been discussed at every meeting concerned with the situation in Syria, whether multilateral or bilateral, one can note a common denominator, represented by the conviction that a military solution is impossible and that a political solution must include guarantees for all constituents of Syrian society, before such a solution becomes impossible and the country heads towards complete devastation or division.
It is clear that political negotiations would address these guarantees, which are connected to the form of the future regime, as well as its constitutional and legal nature, in addition to the citizenship rights– and before this the Syrian parties that could take part in such negotiations. This is a complicated process to begin with, and it grows even more complicated as the disaster continues, creating ever-wider rifts between Syrians. Meanwhile, the killing, displacement and destruction keep going on.
The question is: why does the Security Council, after listening to its envoy to Syria, not issue a statement with a single clause connected to compelling all Syrian parties to cease the fighting, while waiting for an agreement about reaching a political solution? Perhaps putting a stop to the killing and destruction would facilitate reaching a political solution.
Why do the Friends of the Syrian People and those who care about it not drive towards protecting it from being killed, displaced and subject to destruction, by actually pressuring to put a stop to the fighting? Indeed, putting a stop to the killing and destruction remains the necessary condition for protecting this nation's people and allowing them to remain in their country. This would spare the tremendous material burden needed to build refugee camps and provide aid to the displaced wherever they sought refuge, whether inside Syria or in neighboring countries. Or is it that the international community, including the friends of the Syrian people and those of the Syrian regime, still consider to this very day that the cost of aiding the refugees remains less of a burden than imposing a binding cessation of the fighting and displacement?
It is said that the situation in Syria has not yet matured enough to produce a political solution, just as the balance of military power on the field does not allow for imposing a solution in a certain direction. It is also said that the international community, and especially the major powers, are waiting for further exhaustion of both sides, so that they may become convinced of the necessity of heading towards negotiations.
If such claims – repeated by most analysts based on the stances taken by international parties – prove to be true, then they would not only represent the harshest moral condemnation of the international community, but also form an act that accuses the forces of such a community of being accomplices or remaining silent about crimes of mass murder and against humanity that are being committed on a daily basis and around the clock in Syria.
For the Security Council, listening to the report of a mission whose the main characteristic is stagnation is a routine matter in the work of the United Nations. However, preserving peace is considered as the bare minimum of this council’s functions, since the repercussions of the Syrian conflict threaten to shatter across the Middle East. Another of the council’s functions is to protect people from mass murder and to stand in the face of crimes of mass murder and those perpetrated against humanity. The Security Council would fall short of its function, at both the moral and political levels, if it fails to compel Syrian parties to put a stop to the violence, and thus to impose the cessation of the fighting as an absolute priority.