Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Ousting Syria's Assad: Can UN get Russia on board?

UN envoy on Syria Kofi Annan unveiled a new plan to get all five permanent Security Council members to back the ouster of Bashar al-Assad. Russia has begun to hint that it may consider it.

By Staff writer / June 7, 2012

UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan addresses the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday, during a meeting on the situation in Syria.

Allison Joyce/Reuters



Getting Russia to throw in the towel on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been the key to halting Syria’s violence and avoiding a costly and unpredictable civil war ever since Syria descended into conflict more than 15 months ago, many regional experts say.

Skip to next paragraph

On Thursday the United Nations envoy on Syria and former Secretary General Kofi Annan unveiled to the UN Security Council a proposal to overcome the stumbling block of Russian support for President Assad by putting all five permanent Security Council members at the head of a plan to replace an exiled Assad with newly elected leaders and a new Syrian constitution.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and France, which have favored Assad’s ouster, and Russia and China, which have not, would finally be on the same page on Syria at the head of a “contact group” of these world powers and regional countries.

But Russia's willingness to go along with Mr. Annan's plan, analysts say, depends on whether or not it believes that its interests in Syria, its last toehold in the Middle East, can be preserved despite Assad’s departure.

Annan discussed his plan at a closed-door session of the Security Council just hours after he told the UN General Assembly that the alternative to the world community very shortly coming together on a peace plan was “all-out civil war.”

"If things do not change, the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence, and even all-out civil war," Annan told the General Assembly. "All Syrians will lose."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also told the General Assembly that UN monitors in Syria were shot at as they tried to make their way to a village reported to have suffered the most recent in a string of massacres Wednesday. Mr. Ban said none of the monitors was injured, but he said they were also unable to reach their destination, a rural village called Mazraat al-Qubair.


Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!