Stalemate at the UN While Syria Slaughter Continues

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Nearly 6000 Syrians have died during the 10-month revolt against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including hundreds of children. In one of the worst single day outbursts of violence, which occurred on February 3rd, the death toll from shelling by Syrian security forces in the city of Homs alone exceeded 200.

In the midst of the escalating violence, the United Nations Security Council met in a special Saturday session on February 4th to address the crisis in Syria. It failed to take any action after Russia and China vetoed a resolution expressing moral support for the beleaguered Syrian people and endorsing a plan put forward by the Arab League to help them move peacefully beyond Assad towards democracy. The Security Council let the Syrian people down as Assad’s killing machine continues to massacre innocent civilians.

Last week started out with much fanfare. The Arab League’s secretary general and the prime minister of Qatar addressed the Security Council in person on January 31st to present the Arab League’s plan and ask for the Security Council’s endorsement.

“The government killing machine continues effectively unabated,” said Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani. “The hope of the Syrian people is in your hands,” he added.

“Do not let the Syrian people down in its plight,” said the Arab League Secretary General Nabil el-Araby.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and several of her counterparts, including the foreign ministers of France and the United Kingdom, followed the presentation of the Arab League plan to the Security Council with their own supportive speeches.

In her stern address to the Council, Clinton harshly condemned the Syrian regime’s brutality against its citizens and urged full backing for the Arab League’s plan. “It is time for the international community to put aside our own differences and send a clear message of support to the people of Syria,” Clinton told the Council. “The alternative – spurning the Arab League, abandoning the Syrian people, emboldening the dictator – would compound this tragedy, and would mark a failure of our shared responsibility, and shake the credibility of the United Nations Security Council.”

Russia and China had vetoed a prior resolution last October concerning the violence in Syria.  Russia in particular has been running interference for its ally Assad, whose regime is a major customer for Russian weapons and has provided Russia with access to one of its ports.

Mindful of the fate of the prior resolution, which had been spearheaded by the West, Clinton reminded the Council that this time it was the Arab League taking the lead and asking the Council for its support:

So why is the Arab League here before this Security Council?  Because they are seeking the support of the international community for a negotiated, peaceful political solution to this crisis and a responsible, democratic transition in Syria.  And we all have a choice:  Stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé accused the Syrian regime of “crimes against humanity.” He added that the Arab League was offering the only viable plan to counter the violence and help facilitate a peaceful transition to democracy. “We have to take it,” Ambassador Juppé said.

However, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin made it clear in his own remarks on January 31st that Russia would oppose any Security Council resolution that attempted “to prescribe outcomes” for the Syrian regime.

In the days that followed these speeches, Morocco’s original draft resolution went through successive mark-ups that were circulated in an effort to reach a consensus among all the members of the Security Council. While China is reported to have proposed little during the informal discussions, Russia insisted upon and obtained a number of key concessions. Bringing Russia on board was the key to passage of the resolution. China, in this case, was viewed as joined at the hip with Russia and likely to follow whatever Russia ultimately decided to do.

The Arab League plan proposed specific steps to successfully transition to democracy. Under the plan, Syrian President Assad would first cede power to his vice president, followed by the formation of a national unity government with the opposition and ultimately a new constitution and new elections. The original text of the Security Council resolution laid out these same steps. However, by the end of the week, these steps were removed from the final draft of the resolution as a concession to Russia.

The original proposed resolution expressed the Security Council’s “grave concern at the continued transfer of weapons into Syria which fuels the violence” and called on the member states “to take necessary steps to prevent such flow of arms.”

The final draft removed any reference to weapons as a further concession to Russia.

The final draft also made clear that nothing in the resolution authorizes the use of any military force to accomplish its purpose.

Russia even managed to promote itself in the resolution as a partner with the Arab League in the search for a peaceful solution. The final resolution draft  noted specifically “the offer of the Russian Federation to host a meeting in Moscow, in consultation with the League of Arab States.”

Everything appeared to be on track by the end of last week to finally bring Russia on board, until Russia decided at the last moment to introduce some amendments with a few revisions to the resolution’s wording. That is where the United States, France, the United Kingdom and others on the Council drew a line in the sand. They decided that Russia had gone too far in trying to weaken the resolution’s text. Precious time was being wasted while civilians were dying in Syria.

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  • The Infidel

    Did anyone actualy think that russia and china would back sanctions against a regime that uses exactly the same tactics as they do against their own people? Besides instability next to an ally of the west is as they see it in their best interests, it keeps the capatalist pigs occupied and distracted from them.

  • kafir4life

    So long as muslims kill muslims, leave them be for goodness sake. They're just being muslim the way that the top muslim mohamat the pedophile invented the thing.

  • Flipside

    What is sick about you, Joseph, is that you don't care one bit about the people in Syria that you write this sob story about. When Mossad tried to instigate the Syrian "rebellion" ten years ago and it failed, you were probably stroking to it.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Syria has demonstrated the nature of Muslim countries. If they sonthis to their own people how will they treat others?

  • maria

    Exactly right. Killing is in their blood. Where is muslims there is murders, death. Koran is the book of hatred and call to kill all infidels. Muslims sunny hate shiit'es and v.v. All together they hate all the world and first of all Jews because they are too successful, too talented. Muslims are supremasists and can not comprehend why they are so much behind of western civilization including of course Israel. Muslims kill their own children as "honor killing". Non of other religion like Islam, cult of hatred and murder.

  • Texasron

    Russia and China need to accept the blame for those killed in Syria. Their reluctance to prohibit the killing shows them to be just as bad as Assad.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Russia and China are two bloody countries to whom human life means nothing more than canon fodder to keep the existing power hungry regimes in control and to expand that control when opportunity permits.

    As for the UN, it once again proves its utter worthlessness. It is decades past the time for its dismemberment and reconstitution minus all non democratic countries and the Muslim Mafia.


  • Nakba1948

    The slaughter in Syria is abhorrent, and the Assad regime should pay dearly for it. But where were all of you righteous souls when the Israelis committed a similar massacre in Gaza in 2008-2009 under the same false pretense of "defense against terrorism"? Your hollow sentiments aren't fooling anyone. As so many of you express so regularly, Arab/Muslim life is cheap to you. And whatever nasty generalizations you plan to unveil, all life, including Jewish life, is precious to me, and I criticize anyone who takes innocent life, whether it's Syria, Israel, Hamas, Iran or al-Qaeda.

    • Maher

      Pali-arabs were allready confronted to an Assad style foe. It was Hussein of Jordan. Remember the Black September and his 50,000 casualties? The Arab world is a huge cloaca, Nakba for ever…

  • maria

    Again lie and facts distortion from muslim "nakba". Israel defended themself and his own citizens including Israel Arabs. So called invented "palestinians' who is really Arab comming to Jewish historical Palestine (Israel and Judea) when Jews began built Israel were always able only hate and kill Jews who gave them work and the same time blame them. Israel after 1967 war victory built universities and schools for Arabs of Palestine (in Gaza as well) but "palestinians turned them to arms warehouses. in 2008-2009 "brave" "palestinians" shielded themselves by women and children. Disgusting animals but not people. So stop your disgusting propaganda. We know real facts.

  • maria

    Arabs/Muslims life is not chip to us it is chip for them and for you as well. Muslims mother celebrate their own childer "shahid"s death if they kill in terract Jews or Christians or any "unbelievers". You have nothing exept to blame anyone in your own fate and that is why all your countries despite of great deal of oil money such a miserable, poor and dirty. People are illiterate. You still live in 7 century but don't want to admit that it is your "culture" not allowed you to rise. You came to our countries and to Israel (Muslims from Sudan, Eritrea, etc) but not we non-muslims came to your countries. No thanks to any of country who accepted you loosers and haters .

  • ObamaYoMoma

    a responsible, democratic transition in Syria.

    Curious…where has there ever been a responsible democratic transition in the Islamic world? All the Islamic world has to do to dupe gullible leftist kafirs is say the magic word, democracy, and the US and the West will be eating right out of their hands.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not an Assad apologist and I would like to see one of Iran's proxies eliminated, but at the same time I don't suffer from any delusions of Syria ever becoming a bastion of freedom and democracy in the Islamic world.

    Of course, I can see where the Arab league is coming from, as they desperately want to get Syria out from under Iran's orbit and they would like to finagle the USA and the West to do it for them like a useful idiot if possible.

    The best thing for us to do for the time being is to forget about Assad and instead concentrate on eradicating the ruling Mullahs in Iran and destroying their nuclear weapons program, which will make Assad very vulnerable in Syria at the same time.

    However, if Assad gets ousted and the Sunnis take over, don't assume that they will be friendly to the USA or that they will create a democracy, because I can assure you that there never will be a democracy created in Syria and that like all Islamic countries in the world, they will also be our eternal enemies. The only question I have is whether or not they will be our overt enemy like Iran is today or our covert enemy like the Saudis and the Gulf States. I'm betting it is the latter.

    And we all have a choice:  Stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there.

    Uhm…I know this may sound strange to uninitiated ears, but Muslim on Muslim violence in the Dar al Islam is a good thing for us in the Dar al Harb and a bad thing for Muslims in the Dar al Islam. As all Muslims are our eternal enemies, and no I don't distinguish between so-called radicals and so-called moderates, because they are both non-existent false PC multicultural myths. There are only mainstream orthodox Muslims and any other absurd classifications are only false dichotomies.

    Under the plan, Syrian President Assad would first cede power to his vice president, followed by the formation of a national unity government with the opposition and ultimately a new constitution and new elections

    Yeah right, the Arab league is anxious to make such a proposal, because they know any democracy can easily be usurped when the time is right. Not to mention that Assad will fight to the death.