Since our childhood in Lebanon, we have called Syria “the throbbing heart of the Arabs.” The international conference on aid to Syrian refugees, which met today in Kuwait, received an initial contribution of $1.5 billion. This demonstrates the spontaneous and touching international response, which included not only that amount but many more commitments from before.
Lakhdar Brahimi, in his report to the Security Council two days ago, described the humanitarian situation in very poignant terms. Daily reports about massacres taking place throughout Syria depict a bleeding country. This challenge makes us all feel Syria's pain — and must embolden the Security Council to unite and stop both the bloodshed and the erosion of its credibility.
Either the regime must seriously open up and suspend all attacks instantly, and the opposition compose a unified, clear, strategic response to Brahimi's proposal, or the ongoing polarization will lead to more anarchy and render future efforts to solve the Syrian crisis futile. The Security Council must take instant, unanimous measures to consolidate a ceasefire and enforce a transitional authority. Syria must avoid brinksmanship over the possibility of fragmentation.
Syria is too integral to the Arab collective memory — and to the Arab future and destiny. That is why the bleeding in Syria has to stop now.
Clovis Maksoud is a former ambassador and permanent observer of the League of Arab States at the United Nations and its chief representative in the United States for more than 10 years.