Tightening noose around Syria’s Assad
THE FARCE that the United Nations (UN) Security Council has become was painfully obvious last week during the vote on the resolution concerning Syria.
Without exception, all five permanent members use this forum to promote their political interest rather than peace and security.
Syria is currently experiencing unprecedented violence and the army has responded with military might against its citizens, mostly unarmed. This kind of butchery should not be accommodated by reasonable people.
The draft resolution condemning Syria for the crackdown on anti-government protests was basically a muted version of earlier versions. Still, it couldn’t see the light of day with the double veto from China and Russia saving the day for President Bashar al-Assad for the time being.
Unlike the resolution on Libya, this was watered down to dispel any political connotation that could have hinted at regime change or military intervention or even transfer of power to a deputy or the opposition in the shadows.
With such a big compromise, the Western powers were quite hopeful of a verdict against Assad. The eventual veto resulted in a flood of rather undiplomatic slursand criticism among the members of the Security Council.
It bears mentioning that Syria is the Arab world’s only pro-Iran state, and China, and particularly Russia, are playing roulette here. Both have been known to crack down ruthlessly on protesters, with trouble now brewing in Russia against Vladimir Putin running for president again.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Damascus this week could determine the future turn of events in Syria, ultimately impacting security concerns for the Middle East and the world at large.
This veto conundrum, however, may not last for long as the United States and Britain have shown in the past that they could bypass the UN and take matters into their own hands as was the case with Iraq.
Might could, however, be right as United States Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, says China and Russia are running the risk of suffering the same sort of international isolation as Syria’s Assad because of their decision to block a Security Council vote embracing an Arab League solution for the Syrian crisis.
Rice said in a nationally broadcast interview Sunday she believed both Moscow and Beijing “will come to regret” their votes last Saturday against the Arab League-sponsored resolution aimed at moving Assad in the direction of a peaceful transition to democracy in his violence-wracked country.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also said that the failed vote in the Security Council was a “travesty” and that the US would continue to step up pressure for Assad to step aside.
A plan seems to be coalescing as, by yesterday, the US had announced that it was withdrawing its ambassador to Syria and closing its embassy.
The noose is tightening around Assad.