Monday, February 06, 2012

UN resolution on Syria

While the fighting in Syria continues to get more bloody, with hundreds killed each day in Homs alone, the Russians and Chinese vetoed the UN Security Council resolution on Syria. The US representative to the UN, Ambassador Susan Rice, said the US was "disgusted" by this veto. What the Russians and Chinese objected to most in this resolution is that it called for Pres. Bashar Assad to leave office. The Western allies would not themselves have called for this is the Arab League itself had not done so and asked them to support his removal in the SC resolution. The West's contention is that Assad has lost all credible legitimacy after his forces have killed so many civilians, now numbered at ca. 6,000 deaths in 10 months, with thousands injured, arrested and/or missing.

The Russians and Chinese in their vote show the lack of concern for the deaths of civilians characteristic of Russian and Chinese policies, even though Russia is no longer Communist. But, old habits die hard. At least in the Russian case they are trying to protect their assets, since Russia's only Mediterranean port is in Latakia, Syria. They know that if Assad falls then they are likely to lose this and any other contracts for arms that they had with the Assad regime. In fact Russia is still delivering arms to Syria while the uprising is ongoing. In China's case, their support for Assad is more difficult to understand, but they are motivated by an anti-Western, pro-incumbent policy. They are afraid that the removal of dictators sets a bad precedent, and their own people might get the same idea and they do not want unrest at home. So they will support any bloody dictator over any popular uprising.

As far as Israel is concerned, it is not our resposibility to take any position on Syria. Only that since Syria under Assad is an ally of Iran, it would be better for Israel, the region and the world if the Assad regime falls. However, what eventually happens in Syria will probably not be to our liking anyway. As for now they are removed from the immediate concern of what happens if Israel should need to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities.


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