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Syria Snap Analysis: Kofi Annan - Lost on the Road to Damascus

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A UN Envoy in Damascus

EA's James Miller gives this assessment.

The Syrian National Council's Burhan Ghalioun has today condemned statements made by the UN's envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, suggesting that a political solution in Syria is possible, and desireable:

These kind of comments are disappointing and do not give a lot of hope for people in Syria being massacred every day. It feels like we are watching the same movie being repeated over and over again ...

Any political solution will not succeed if it is not accompanied by military pressure on the regime ...

As an international envoy, we hope he will have a mechanism for ending the violence ...My fear is that, like other international envoys before him, the aim is to waste a month or two of pointless mediation efforts.

These statements echo those made by the ranking members of the Free Syrian Army, other ranking members of the SNC, the various splinter groups, many of whom are even more hawkish than the SNC, every contact we have within the opposition, and nearly every single video that comes out of Syria.

Our assessment - We've been wondering if Kofi Annan is in the right country. Maybe he got lost on the road to Damascus, because from what we've seen, there is no chance of reconciliation between the regime and the opposition.

The historic timeline of this crisis is all the evidence needed to suggest that the window for a political solution has long since passed. Originally, there were protests. Then those protests were met with violence. The protests grew in spite of the violence. Then, on the same day Assad lifted the decades-old emergency law, he opened fire on protesters in a half-dozen cities. Since then, the protests have continued to grow and have changed their tone from one of protest to defiance, calling for the execution of the president.

The Syrian opposition does not trust Assad, and would not negotiate at this point. On multiple occasions he has pledged reform, and on all of those occasions he did not even wait a single day before unleashing an increase in force against civilians. In fact, on July 25th, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post called "Was Friday a Turning Point for Syria?" A better title would have been "Point of No Return," because I was arguing then that the violence had just made the opposition larger, more defiant, and more angry, and it had passed the point where the anger could be "put back in the box," so to speak.

That was in July of 2011, months before the most significant uptick in violence, and long before there was an armed wing of the opposition. What I described as a "terrible day" would be a very slow day in Syria now. Yet the opposition is growing.

But here's the REAL danger - if members of the opposition did cooperate with Kofi Annan and ink a deal with the Assad regime, the protests would not stop, the insurgent fighters would not stop. However, they would be backed into a corner, without a political process to help them out, and without international support.

To see what happens when an enraged portion of the populous loses their political power, one need only look East, to Iraq.

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