Stalemate at the UN While Syria Slaughter Continues

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As she entered the chamber for the special Saturday February 4th meeting of the Security Council, the U.S. United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters that Russia’s amendments were “unacceptable.” She and her colleagues from France and the United Kingdom insisted that, regardless of what Russia would do, the Security Council must vote without delay on the final draft version of the resolution proposed by Morocco and sponsored by sixteen other member states, including several other Arab countries and Turkey. That resolution would not include the Russian amendments.

Ironically, as noted above, the final version of the draft resolution already contained many of the concessions that Russia had demanded, which were far more significant than its last-minute amendments that Rice and her colleagues found so objectionable.

More specifically, the Russian amendments added language calling “for all sections of the Syrian opposition to dissociate themselves from armed groups engaged in acts of violence and urges member-states and all those in a position to do so to use their influence to prevent continued violence by such groups.” Assad would be expected to pull out his military forces from the cities and towns “in conjunction with the end of attacks by armed groups.” The resolution would still say that the Council “[F]ully supports…the League of Arab States’ 22 January 2012 decision to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system.” However, the Russian amendments would replace “in accordance with the timetable set out by the League of Arab States” with the words “takes into account” the Arab League timeline.

The Russians were continuing to move the goalposts and evidently trying to delay action on a final resolution through seemingly trivial amendments. But, in the end, all that really mattered was passage of a resolution – any resolution – that expressed the international community’s strong moral support for the Syrian people and endorsement of the Arab League’s constructive role in trying to lead a regional diplomatic solution. Nothing in the Russian amendments would have materially undermined that objective. The UN has no further part to play other than to provide purely humanitarian assistance. International military intervention on the Libyan model is out of the question, as it should be. Economic sanctions, to the extent they have any real effect, are something that individual countries and regional groups can implement on their own, without any UN imprimatur.

The Obama administration could have accepted Russia’s amendments on the condition that Russia would agree (along with China) to an immediate vote on Saturday without a veto, as a demonstration that the world community was not turning a blind eye while Syrian civilians continued to be slaughtered on the very day that the Security Council was meeting. There was no guarantee that Russian and China would have gone along, but it was a gamble worth taking to keep the resolution alive.

Instead, after more than an hour of informal consultations among the Security Council members that included Russia and China, no agreement on the Russian amendments was reached. Led by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, a decision was made to push for a vote on the resolution immediately without Russia’s amendments. The Obama administration elected to act tough at the wrong time over trivial wording changes.

Predictably, Russia and China vetoed the resolution and it was thereby defeated, even though thirteen members of the Council voted in favor of the resolution.

Susan Rice exclaimed with righteous indignation how “disgusted” the United States was that two members of the Council were willing to “sell out the Syrian people.” She emphasized in her statement to the Council following the vote that the vetoed resolution had taken care of all of the principal concerns raised by its opponents. The resolution, she pointed out, expressly ruled out any contemplation of international military force. Moreover, there was no mention in the resolution of economic sanctions or any arms embargo.

Nevertheless, Rice said, Russia and China prevented the Council from providing international backing for the Arab League’s peace plan to bring about an end to the violence in Syria and facilitate concrete steps towards a democratic process designed by the Syrian people themselves.

Rice blasted what she called Russia’s “wrecking amendments.”  Referring to Russia and China, she warned that “any further bloodshed will be on their hands.”

Rice vastly overstated her case by not seeing the forest for the trees. Russia’s amendments were annoying speed bumps, but hardly constituted “wrecking” roadblocks.  Any further bloodshed will continue to be on Assad’s hands, with or without a Security Council resolution.

All the United Nations could have done was to shine with laser-like focus the world’s condemnation upon Assad’s shameful brutality. Passage of a Security Council resolution, even with Russia’s amendments, would have accomplished that singular purpose. Instead, the failure to pass any resolution at all, despite the urgent pleas of the Arab League, brought further shame on the United Nations itself and gave further lie to the Obama administration’s supposed “reset” of American relations with Russia.

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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.