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Jun 16, 2024

Pedersen's Three Failures

In this excellent issue from Syria in Transition, Malek al-Abdeh and Lars Hauch argue that Geir Pedersen, UN Special Envoy for Syria, has made three main mistakes:

• Failure with the Constitutional Committee: Pedersen did not halt the process when regime representatives acted in bad faith leading to a loss of momentum and control, especially after relying on Russia for facilitation.

• Ineffectiveness of the step-for-step process: His approach of trading Western concessions for minor regime changes failed due to Assad's non-engagement and over-reliance on Russian support.

• Missed humanitarian opportunities: Pedersen did not engage sufficiently with humanitarian efforts, notably during the 2023 earthquake response and early recovery, losing potential leverage to assert political leadership.

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