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UN’s Syria Veto: UN is the Problem, not Russia

The Obama administration's misplaced ire.

by
Shoshana Bryen

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February 10, 2012 - 9:20 am
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Obama administration officials were absolutely venomous after the Russian (and Chinese) veto of the UN Security Council resolution draft on Syria. “Disgusting,” said U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. Secretary of State Clinton called it a “travesty.”

Their revulsion was misplaced — the Russians did was what they said they would do; they defended their ally with a veto. The problem here isn’t Russia.

Consider the document upon which Amb. Rice and Sec. Clinton appear to believe the fate of the Syrian people hinged. There were sixteen clauses in the draft resolution:

  • Clauses 1 and 3 condemn violence.
  • 2, 5, and 11 make demands of the Syrian government, including a demand that it dissolve itself.
  • 4 and 12 demand respect for human rights.
  • 6 calls for an “inclusive” political process.
  • 7, 8, 9, and 10 demand restoration of the Arab League mission under rules favorable to the League and unfavorable to the Syrian government.
  • 13 and 14 praise the UN Secretary General.
  • 15 calls for a 21-day review of the prior clauses.
  • 16 announces that the Security Council will “remain seized” of the matter.

Well, that makes that clear. Certainly had the Russians and Chinese not vetoed the draft, Bashar Assad, having murdered thousands, wounded and tortured tens of thousands, and imprisoned and “disappeared” thousands more of his own people, would have read it and said, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that?”

If there is a travesty, it is in thinking the Security Council can prevent humanitarian disasters in the face of governments intent upon unleashing them. What is revolting is that the Obama dministration believed “demands” by UN diplomats “seized of the matter” would stop Assad from using all means at his disposal to remain in power, when from his point of view the alternative is the massacre of himself, his family, and his Alawite cohorts at the hands of the majority Sunni population.

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