Reply to Hasssan Hassan

Hassan's reasons for backing the UN mission are spurious.

The UN Mission cannot build international consensus. It is too limited to provide consensus-building success. Its failure won't be consensus-building either: failure is expected and therefore can't have any great effect on prevailing attitudes.

The UN mission also cannot document the régime's violations - at least not the important ones. It does not witness massacres; it witnesses their aftermath. The aftermath, as we've seen, is fodder for disputes, and is just as well documented by journalists. As for the lesser violations, such as forces deployed in violation of the agreements, the régime defends these by claiming the deployments were needed to counter opposition violations, including alleged atrocities. Moreover it's unclear why the documentation of violations matters. No sanctions are attached to violations and, given the UN stalemate, none can follow.

The lack of a plan B is no reason for backing the mission either. There is no point in looking to the UN for plans. The UN is deadlocked. Support for a mission that has brought contempt on itself has no chance of breaking this deadlock.

Prolonging the mission will also not help to 'build momentum for the peaceful aspect of the Syrian revolution'. The mission does nothing to deter the repression that makes an exclusively peaceful strategy suicidal. The momentum for peaceful protests is on the contrary sustained by the efforts of the FSA to protect demonstrators, something the UN mission cannot and will not do.

Finally the UN mission has no tendency to encourage more to join the revolution. Since the mission has no effect on the course of events, it does not enter into anyone's calculations about which side to join.

In short, there is no case for supporting Annan's plan.