Skip to main content

Hope for Syria?

Lakhdar Brahimi’s decision to stay on as UN envoy for Syria may offer a glimmer of hope for diplomacy in Syria, writes Clovis Maksoud.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby (L) listens to U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi speak during a news conference at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer  (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3F5HL

The international community’s Syria involvement has taken a new turn after Lakhdar Brahimi’s decision to stay on as UN envoy, revealing a paradox between the diplomatic and on the ground situations amid the background of an increasingly desperate humanitarian crisis.

Brahimi was persuaded not to resign by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, signaling that hope in Syria is attainable. The fact that he acquiesced to the secretary-general’s appeal shows that he has concluded that while complex, a diplomatic and political solution outweighs the possibility of further escalation of the bloodletting, despite the evidence to the contrary over the past few days. The ease with which Brahimi was persuaded reflects the glimpse of hope that the understanding between Russia and the United States — through their respective foreign ministers, John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov — might this time bring forth reconciliation in Syria that has eluded the international community for more than two years. From the beginning, Brahimi has relied on an authentic understanding between the United States and Russia for the success of his mission.

The paradox is that while the diplomatic side seems to be inching toward a solution, the situation on the ground is escalating and appears to become more intractable by the day. These events around the country have dimmed but not extinguished the hope of reconciliation.

A growing awareness has developed on the global scene that this conflict is no longer confined to Syria. It is increasingly leaving the whole region more vulnerable to conflict. Therefore, the international community has to take the opportunity to staunch the bleeding, especially given the growing humanitarian crisis and the potential destabilization in surrounding countries. The growing anxiety about this conflict is that — if it is not resolved soon — it might draw in more regional players.

The humanitarian element, both inside Syria and in neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan, has brought into focus the urgent necessity of more humanitarian aid. And the hope of political reconciliation should be accompanied by serious investment in rebuilding the infrastructure of Syria as a united state to promote the healing process. The coming days and weeks must reinvigorate our hopes. At this moment, we should recommit ourselves to the primacy of hope and what it entails.

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.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial