Annan's resignation puts pressure on Russia, China

Though arduous and time-consuming, it remains diplomatically necessary to keep the ball rolling. Standing by idly and simply waiting will not unlock  the impasse at the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Annan's resignation plays an important role in approving the U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning the Security Council for failing to stop the violence in Syria. Although legally non-binding, it is symbolic importance should not be underestimated. It adds further pressure on Russia and China for incessantly stonewalling.

When assuming his role as mediator for Syria, Mr. Annan inherited a poisoned chalice. There were already 10,000 dead. The conflict was effectively beyond the point of no return for a peaceful resolution. Upon his resignation, the body count has nearly doubled to 20,000.

Mr. Annan's efforts did yield some important dividends. It bought precious time for the opposition to  develop greater coherence, although more militarily than politically.

Furthermore, some crucial short term cease-fires were achieved which saved lives and allowed many refugees time to reach safety.

Mr. Annan's efforts also played an important role in diplomatically exposing the Assad regime's intentions. Politically, they were already known all along.

The genocide in Rwanda was a blemish on Mr. Annan's career, and the U.N. as an institution, for which he apolopgized. However, his plan's failure to achieve peace in Syria was a worthwhile effort and important chapter in the unfolding diplomatic process in trying to end the violence in Syria, or at least to  ensure a durable cease-fire.

Vicenzino is director of the Global Strategy Project.