Posts Tagged ‘Militärische Intervention’

U.N. Security Council meets at request of Ukraine—with links to press statements following meetings

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

At the request of Ukraine, the U.N. Security Council met on Friday evening (February 28) and Saturday afternoon (March 1) to discuss Russian military intervention in that country.

For the U.N. Press lease regarding the March 1 meeting, see U.N. Security Council, Press Release, “UKRAINE, IN EMERGENCY MEETING, CALLS ON SECURITY COUNCIL TO STOP MILITARY INTERVENTION BY RUSSIAN FEDERATION, U.N. Doc. SC/11302, 1 March 2014.

Webcast videos of statements made by Representatives and UN officials following the Security Council meetings on the Ukraine on February 28 and March 1 can be be found here.

The Trenchant Observer

Russia seizes Crimea by force, threatens larger invasion of Ukraine: Putin gambles with Russia’s future in the powder keg of Europe

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Developing

Latest developments

For an excellent overview of the situation in the Ukraine by the New York Times, see

Alison Shale and David M. herszenhorn, “Kremlin Clears Way for Force in Ukraine; Separatist Split Feared,” New York Times, March 1, 2014.

For a particuly insightful report, which places the most recent events in Crimea in perspective, see

Julia Smirnova (Simferopol), Das Protokoll von Putins feindlicher Übernahme; Als Russlands President Putin das Parlament um Truppen für eine Invasion auf der Krim bat, hatte sein Militär die Halbinsel längst unter Kontrolle. Die Moskauer Truppen kamen auf dem Schleichweg,” Die Welt, 1. Marz 2014 (19:22 Uhr).

Der Spiegel provides an overview of the latest developments in the Ukraine crisis, including the “blank check” given Putin by the upper house of parliament to use military force in the Ukraine. Speculation abounds as to wherher Russian militar action will be limited to the Crimea, or also reach into other areas of the eastern Ukraine.

Benjamin Bidder (Moskau) “Putins Aufmarschpläne: Operation Protektorat Krim; Moskaus Militär-Beschluss gibt Putin freie Hand für eine Intervention auf der Krim; Kreml-Hardliner fordern sogar Vorstöße nach Donezk und Charkow; Doch Russlands Präsident hat wohl andere Pläne: Wahrscheinlich will er eher ein Protektorat – und nicht die vollständige Abtrennung der Halbinsel von der Ukraine,” Der Spiegel, 1. März 2014 (20:37 Uhr).

See also:

“Krim-Krise: Ukraine versetzt Militär in Alarmbereitschaft; Wird die Krim-Krise zum Krim-Krieg? Das russische Parlament gibt Präsident Putin grünes Licht für einen Militäreinsatz auf der ukrainischen Halbinsel; Ukraines Präsidentschaftskandidat Klitschko ruft die Ukraine zur “Generalmobilmachung” auf; Der Westen ist entsetzt; Der Nachrichtenüberblick,” Der Spiegel, 1. März 2014 (19:49 Uhr).

Important commentary includes the following:

Maxim Kireev (Moskau/Kommentar),”Einmarsch beim Brudervolk; Putin will auf der Krim den russischen Einfluss um jeden Preis verteidigen; Der Westen steht vor vollendeten Tatsachen und muss realisieren: Russland ist kein Partner, Die Zeit, 1. März 2014 (19:11 Uhr).

Stefan Kornelius (Kommentar), “Krise auf der Krim: Putin nimmt sich, was er will; Der russische Präsident ist zum Militäreinsatz entschlossen; Er hat auf der Krim schon Fakten geschaffen, bevor er das Mandat zum Einmarsch bekommen hat; So setzt Putin alles aufs Spiel, um ein bestimmtes Ziel zu erreichen,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, 1. März 2014 (14:52).

Analysis

With these developments, an extremely dangerous situation has arisen in Europe involving nuclear superpowers — which calls to mind the atmosphere in August, 1914. Putin’s military intervention in the Ukraine may be driven by anger and hot-headedness, or cold-blooded calculation, but it has also been based on detailed planning done months in advance.

It will change inevitably the nature of relations between Russia and the West. The only questions are how long it will take Western leaders to wake up to the new realities, what they will do in response, and when they will act.

The Trenchant Observer
(Der Scharfsinniger Beobachter)
(l’Observateur Incisif)
(El Observador Incisivo)

Russia seizes Crimea through use of military force

Friday, February 28th, 2014

While Obama and his administration appear unable to think quickly on their feet and to understand what is going on as Russia seizes control of the Crimea by military force, independent observers with a keen eye can figure out what is happening and the significance of events.

See, for example,

(1) Luke Harding, “Crimean coup is payback by Putin for Ukraine’s revolution; After what Moscow regards as the western-backed takeover of Kiev, the Kremlin’s choreography has been impressive,” The Guardian, February 28, 2014.

(2) “Krim-Regierungschef bittet Russland um Hilfe; Der prorussische Regierungschef hat sich zum Oberbefehlshaber des Militärs und der Polizei erklärt. Er bittet Russland um Unterstützung; Der Kreml will die Bitte prüfen,” Die Zeit, 1. März 2014 (9:39 Uhr).

Little room for doubt exists that a coup orchestrated and carried out by the Russians has taken place. The new president of the regional assembly, elected under the gaze of men with automatic weapons who had seized the regional parliament building, made the following statements, according to Die Zeit:

Angesichts der angespannten Lage auf der ukrainischen Halbinsel Krim hat der Regierungschef der autonomen Teilrepublik Russland Unterstützung gebeten. “Aus Verantwortung für das Leben und die Sicherheit der Bürger bitte ich den russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin um Hilfe bei der Sicherung von Frieden und Ruhe auf dem Gebiet der Krim”, sagte Sergej Axjonow in einer von örtlichen Medien verbreiteten und im russischen Fernsehen ausgestrahlten Botschaft.

Axjonow sagte zudem, er habe die Befehlsgewalt über alle Militäreinheiten sowie für die Polizei und Sicherheitskräfte auf der Halbinsel übernommen. Alle Kommandeure sollten sich seiner Befehlsgewalt fügen oder ihre Posten verlassen.…Aksjonow, der am Donnerstag vom Krim-Parlament zum Regierungschef ernannt worden war, ist der Chef der größten pro-russischen Partei auf der Halbinsel.

What has occurred is a seizure of control of the Crimea by the Russians, in what might be termed a Blitzputsch, a kind of a lightning military coup d’etat (here by a foreign power) that is over before anyone knows what is going on.

Now the charade of Russian citizens in the Crimea requesting military intervention to protect Russian citizens is being played out, as we write. This is a well-orchestrated act that was aleady foretold by Dmitri Medvedev when he claimed Russians lives and safety were being threatened earlier this week, on February 24.

See

(1) “Konflikt in der Ukraine: Krim-Regierung ruft Putin um Hilfe an,” Der Spiegel, March 1, 2014 (8:40).

Die Regierung der Krim geht überraschend einen großen Schritt Richtung Russland: Der Premier der Halbinsel Sergej Aksjonow bittet den Kreml um Unterstützung “bei der Friedenssicherung” in der Region. Er übernahm zudem die Kontrolle über Flotte, Polizei und Innenministerium.

(2) “Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev claims direct threat to Russian citizens, laying basis for Russian military intervention in Ukraine,” The Trenchant Observer, February 24, 2014.

(3) Pilar Bonet, “El nuevo líder de Crimea pide ayuda a Putin para restablecer la paz,” El Pais, 28 Febrero 2014 (23:57 CET).

–Un portavoz del Kremlin responde que no ignorarán la petición de la región ucrania prorrusa
–El jefe del Gobierno pone bajo su control “temporal” todas las instituciones armadas de Crimea
–Obama advierte a Rusia de que intervenir en Ucrania tendrá “costes”
–La tensión en Crimea crece tras la ocupación militar de dos aeropuertos
–Kiev teme un estallido de las tensiones entre comunidades

Now we will see if Obama and the Europeans have the guts, the commitment and the resources to stand up to the mighty King of the Caucasus and his well-honed propaganda machine.

Among the first responses to “Putin’s coup” that should be implemented are the following:

1) Expulsion of Russia from the Group of Eight;

2) Repeal of most-favored-nation status for Russia by the U.S.

3) Re-establishment of the Johnson-Vanik amendment, which was reapealed when MFN status was granted to Russia in 2012.

4) Imposition of strong eonomic sanctions on Russia. If they block transit routes for America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, so be it.

5) If the Russians do not withdraw from the Crimea, agreement on early accession of the Ukraine to full NATO membership.

The point is that Putin will not yield to the persuasive logic of fancy words. Something much stronger, like actions that directly hurt Russia, must be used instead.

Europe, America and the other civilized nations in the world must now take firm action against Russia, in order to uphold and reaffirm the prohibition of the threat or use of force contained in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.

The Trenchant Observer

UKRAINE: Russia military intervention underway in Crimea, in flagrant violation of international law

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Developing

Background

“Ukraine: Russian military interventiom underway or likely, as Putin follows Hitler’s playbook in the Crimea,” The Trenchant Observer, February 27, 2014.

“U.S. should revoke MFN status and impose sanctions on Putin and Moscow if Russia intervenes in Ukraine,” The Trenchant Observer, February 25, 2014.

“Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev claims direct threat to Russian citizens, laying basis for Russian military intervention in Ukraine,” The Trenchant Observer, February 24, 2014.

Russia is currently carrying out a military intervention in the Crimea, in an open act of aggression against the territorial integrity and political independence of the Ukraine, thereby violating the bedrock principle prohibiting the threat or use of force contained in Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter.

The lies and subterfuges being employed by Vladimir Putin and Russia hark back to the lies and subterfuges of Adolf Hitler when he secured the annexation of the Sudetenland through the threat of military intervention, scheduled to occur a day after the infamous Munich Pact was signed on September 29-30, 1938.

Putin publicly calls for a de-escalation of tensions in the Crimea, as Russian helicopters cross into Ukraine and Russian troop transports land at airports secured by Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms. The president of the regional parliament is replaced by a Russian citizen following the seizure and occupation of the parliament building by similarly disguised Russian soldiers wearing military uniforms with no insignia. Meanwhile, Putin is conducting large-scale military exercises in western Russia including areas adjacent to the border with the Ukraine.

International law is absolutely clear in its prohibition of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country. This is a principle of jus cogens or mandatory law from which there can be no exception by way of agreement. Even if treaties between Ukraine and Russia granted Russia a right of military intervention, which they do not, their provisions would be void under the jus cogens principle contained in Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter.

The use of Russian military personnel who are in the Crimea pursuant to treaties between Ukraine and Russia does not authorize them to act outside of the specific terms of the treaties, and any such actions such as those currently underway constitute acts of aggression.

Russia cannot come to the assistance of Russians in the Crimea to protect them against illusory threats whch have no basis in reality, and when the only threats in the Crimea are those that are being made by the Russians themselves.

The Russians, under international law, cannot intervene militarily to restore order in the Crimea, especially when it is they who have disturbed and are disturbing law and order on the Crimean peninsula.

No seizure of the Crimea by Russian military forces will ever be recognized under international law. Putin might well recall the cases of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which were invaded by the Soviet Union in 1940 but were never recognized as part of the Soviet Union under international law.

The Russian threat is not likely to subside in a matter of days or weeks, absent Putin’s recognition that he has made a enormous geopolitical mistake and absent a decision by him to quickly back down. In Czecholslovakia, it will be recalled, the Soviet Union made a number of thrusts and feints over several months, before finally invading the country on August 20, 1968.

If Putin does not desist from his present couse of action, he will become the Leonid Brezhnev of our times. He should also bear in mind that actions such as military intervention in the Ukraine, whatever their short-term popularity in Russia, will only hasten the day that the Maidan comes to Red Square.

For information on the latest developments, see the following articles (list will be updated):

(1) “+++ Minutenprotokoll zur Krise in der Ukraine +++: Grenzposten verschanzen sich vor russischen Marinesoldaten,” Der Spiegel, 28. februar 2014 (12:59 Uhr).

Äußerstt angespannte Lage am Freitag auf der Krim: Über Nacht haben unbekannte Bewaffnete zwei Flughäfen besetzt. Russische Militärhelikopter kreuzten die Grenze zur Ukraine – und Marinesoldaten umstellen einen ukrainischen Grenzposten. Die Ereignisse des Tages im Minutenprotokoll.

(2) Julia Smirnova (Sewastopol), “‘Jetzt kämpfe ich auch gegen den Faschismus!’” Die Welt, 28. februar 2014 (17:09 Uhr).

In Sewastopol auf der Krim ist ein gewaltiges russisches Militärpotenzial versammelt. Es kam zu ersten Besetzungen durch ethnische Russen. Sie fühlen sich bedroht. Unsere Reporterin hat sie getroffen. Von Julia Smirnova, Sewastopol

(3) “Konflikt auf Halbinsel Krim: Ukraine protestiert gegen “Verletzung des Luftraums”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 28. Februar 2014 (21:11). [outstanding overview of latest developments]

+++ Angeblich mehr als 2000 russische Soldaten auf der Krim gelandet +++ Ukraine fordert Russland zur Einhaltung bilateraler Verträge auf +++ Gestürzter Präsident: Russland soll “Chaos und Terror” unterbinden, aber nicht militärisch eingreifen +++ UN-Sicherheitsrat tritt zusammen +++

.
In response to the Russian military intervention in the Crimea, President Obama went on TV at 6:00 p.m. EST to state that if Russia intervenes in Ukraine there will be “costs”. Coming from the weakest foreign policy leader of the U.S. since before World War II, those words are hardly likely to make Putin flinch.

“Costs” and consequences that can be initiated immediately, in the U.S. House and Senate, include drafting legislation that would repeal the most-favord-nation treatment given to Russia in 2012, and the drafting of legislation imposing stiff sanctions on Russia and high Russian officials responsible for the military intervention in the Ukraine.

Secondly, the EU can draft stiff sanctions legislation against Russia and Ruusian leaders.

Third, diplomats representing their countries at the U.N. can begin drafting a General Assembly resolution condemning Russia for its military intervention in Ukraine, and lobbying delegations from different countries for their support. To be sure, a Security Council resolution should be drafted and put to a vote. However, given the certainty that Russia will veto any such resolution (no reason not to put it to public discussion and a vote), it will be useful now to work on generating support for the General Assembly resolution, which should follow as soon ss possible following a Russian veto of the Security Council draft resolution.

The naivete of the Obama administration in dealing with Russia has been underlined in recent days by the inability of any officials as late as yesterday to imagine a Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Given the weakness and incompetence of Obama and his administration, we can only hope that countries like Poland, Germany and France can help Europe take the lead in resolving the current crisis. Financial support from the U.S. will in any event be required as part of any solution to the conflict.

While Obama shows disdain for international law through his actions and his inability to articulate its norms even in support of vital U.S. objectives abd interests, the situation is different in Europe. There, politicians are not afraid to say the words “international law”. Indeed, the entire EU is built on international law. Moreover, the prohibition against the threat or use of force was born from the horrors which followed the experience of the annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938 and the invasion of Poland in 1939.

What hangs in the balance with the Russian military intervention in the Ukraine, now, is nothing less than the prohibition of the threat or use of force contained in Article 2(4). To seek a resolution to the current crisis without building every argument on that central fact, would be to miss the entire point. To allow the Russian intervention to stand would be to open the doors to countless new conflicts and wars in the future.

The Trenchant Observer
(Der Scharfsinniger Beobachter)
(l’Observeur Incisif)
(El Observador Incisivo)

After G-8 “agreement on Syria”, the fighting continues—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #41 (May 23) REVISED

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

G-8 Camp David Final Communique: Statement on Syria

1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met at Camp David on May 18 and 19, 2012 to address major global economic and political challenges.

31. We remain appalled by the loss of life, humanitarian crisis, and serious and widespread human rights abuses in Syria. The Syrian government and all parties must immediately and fully adhere to commitments to implement the six-point plan of UN and Arab League Joint Special Envoy (JSE) Kofi Annan, including immediately ceasing all violence so as to enable a Syrian-led, inclusive political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system. We support the efforts of JSE Annan and look forward to seeing his evaluation, during his forthcoming report to the UN Security Council, of the prospects for beginning this political transition process in the near-term. Use of force endangering the lives of civilians must cease. We call on the Syrian government to grant safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to populations in need of assistance in accordance with international law. We welcome the deployment of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, and urge all parties, in particular the Syrian government, to fully cooperate with the mission. We strongly condemn recent terrorist attacks in Syria. We remain deeply concerned about the threat to regional peace and security and humanitarian despair caused by the crisis and remain resolved to consider further UN measures as appropriate.

–Camp David Declaration, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, May 19, 2012.

For quotes from President Obama at the G-8 summit relating to Syria, Russian statements affirming their position had been adopted, and commentary, see

The Trenchant Observer, “Obama clueless on Syria? G-8 endorses UN 6-point peace plan—Obama’s Debacle in Syria—Update #39 (May 21),” May 21, 2012.

Latest New Reports and Opinion

Syrian forces have resumed their attack on Rastan. AFP reports,

Soldiers were trying to overrun Rastan for the second time in 10 days, with shells crashing into the town at the rate of “one a minute” at one stage, according to the Britain-based watchdog.

An activist told AFP that Free Syrian Army fighters were defending Rastan’s entrances but that “regime forces are being strengthened with new deployments,” including from the elite Republican Guard.

“Electricity has been cut off in Rastan, and water tanks have been shelled,” said activist Abu Rawan. “There is also a severe lack of food because the market is closed and we can’t bring food in from nearby villages.”

Hours later, the activist said the army assault eased when a team of UN observers entered Rastan.

“The situation is calm now because the UN monitors have arrived” having heard the shelling, Abu Rawan told AFP, adding, however, “God protect us when they leave.”

On May 14, 23 soldiers were killed in a failed assault on the town, which straddles the main highway linking the capital to the north and where rebels regrouped from the battered city of Homs.

More than 12,600 people have been killed in the bloodshed, nearly 1,500 of them since a UN-backed truce took effect April 12, according to Observatory figures.

–AFP, “Syria assails rebel town, admits sanctions hurting,” The Daily Star, May 23, 2012 (09:52 PM).

On Tuesday, May 22, in al-Busaira, Syrian police forces fired into a crowd of several hundred people who had gathered to meet with the U.N. monitors, as the latter looked on. According to opposition reports, at least two people were killed.

Unter den Augen von UNO-Beobachtern sollen syrische Polizisten in eine Menschenmenge geschossen und zwei Personen getötet haben. Ein Vertreter der Opposition berichtete am Dienstag, in al-Busaira in der ost-syrischen Provinz Deir al-Zor seien Hunderte begeisterte Menschen aus ihren Häusern gestürmt, um die UNO-Beobachter zu begrüßen. “Binnen Minutenfrist gerieten sie ins Feuer”, sagte der Sprecher der überwiegend aus Deserteuren gebildeten Freien Syrischen Armee (FSA). Andere Informanten aus der Opposition sagten, die Regierungstruppen hätten mit Flugabwehrraketen in die Stadt geschossen.

–”Syrien: Bürger vor Augen von UN-Beobachtern getötet?; Syrische Sicherheitskräfte sollen in eine Menschenmenge geschossen haben, die die UNO-Beobachter begrüßen wollte,” Die Presse (Die Presse.com / Wien), 22 Mai 2012.

On Monday, May 21, some 38 people were killed in the fighting in Syria, according to opposition sources. These included 22 soldiers, 11 rebels, and 5 civilians.

“Fast 40 Menschen sterben bei Gefechten; Seit Mitte April herrscht in Syrien Waffenstillstand, doch die Gewalt bricht immer wieder aus: Am Montag wurden erneut viele Menschen getötet, Kriegsgerät soll zerstört worden sein. Uno-Generalsekretär Ban sieht die internationalen Friedensbemühungen an einem “kritischen Punkt”, Der Spiegel, 21 Mai 2012.

For an incisive overview of the current situation, stressing the need for urgent action including potentially military action, see Itamar Rabinovich, “The Anarchy Factor in Syria,” ISN Blog (ETH, Zurich), 23 May 2012.

Analysis

The theoretical U.N. ceasefire “agreed to” as part of the Security Council’s 6-point peace plan was never observed by al-Assad. It seems now that the rebels have resumed their attacks in earnest. Meanwhile, a third element–linked to al-Qaeda–appears to have entered the fray.

The situation is no longer “spinning out of control”. It is out of control. Whether the U.S., Europe and the Arab countries can act quickly enough to stem the tide is an open question.

Judging from the statements at the G-8 summit at Camp David, these key countries are still asleep. Whether there is more than meets the eye, beneath the surface, remains to be seen.

Publicly, the G-8 and NATO are obviously not paying attention and working hard to come up with new solutions. Such solutions would probably involve the credible threat or actual use of military force.

The Trenchant Observer

observer@trenchantobserver.com
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For links to other articles by The Trenchant Observer, click on the title at the top of this page to go to the home page, and then consult the information in the bottom right hand corner of the home page. The Articles on Syria page can also be found here.

U.N. says peace plan “on track” as up to 43 people killed on Friday—Obama’s debacle in Syria — Update #34 (May 4)

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Points 4, 5 and 6 of the UN Peace Plan

Kofi Annan’s 6-point peace plan for Syria, adopted by the Security Council in its Presidential Statement of March 21 and endorsed further by Resolutions 2042 and 2043 adopted by the Security Council on April 14 and April 21, established in points 4, 5, and 6 the following:

“To this aim, the Security Council fully supports the initial six-point proposal submitted to the Syrian authorities, as outlined by the Envoy to the Security Council on 16 March 2012, to:

(4) intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organizing access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;

(5) ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;

(6) respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.”

These elements were part of the package that the Secuirty Council, however unwisely, signed on to. None has been implemented, or even begun to be implemented, since March 21.

Al-Assad’s actions have utterly violated the intent and letter of point 6, with brutal represssion, as described in the latest news articles cited below.

Latest News Reports and Opinion
[developing story--will update]

“Syrian forces fire on protesters as Aleppo rages,” The Daily Star (Beirut), May 05, 2012 (01:35 AM).

“43 people killed in Syria as U.N. envoy says peace plan ‘on track’
Friday, 04 May 2012,” Al-Arabiya News, May 4, 2012

Zeina Karam, “Protests in Syria’s Aleppo after university raid,” The Daily Star (Beirut), May 4, 2012 (08:34 AM; Last updated: May 04, 2012 05:21 PM).

Martin Chulov (Beirut), “Syrian forces executing and burning residents of Idlib, Amnesty says; Report gathers harrowing testimony of victims and families caught in purge of northern city by regime troops and loyalists,” The Guardian, May 4, 2012.

Donatella Rovera, “Inside Syria’s crackdown: ‘I found my boys burning in the street’; Amnesty International reports the harrowing testimonies of the people of Idlib and nearby villages terrorised by regime forces,” The Guardian, May 4, 2012.

“A peace plan for Syria brokered by UN envoy Kofi Annan is on track despite reports of violations of the ceasefire, his spokesman has claimed,” The Telegraph, May 4, 2012.

Jochen Bittner, “9.000 Tote, 200.000 Obdachlose, 40.000 Flüchtlinge – mit seiner Strategie der Zerstörung und Unterdrückung gewinnt Diktator Assad Boden,” Die Zeit, 4 Mai 2012.

Analysis

There can be little doubt at this point, given his spokesman’s statement that the 6-point peace plan is “on track”, that Kofi Annan is carrying water for the Russians and is in fact enabling al-Assad to continue the commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other grave violations of fundamental human rights against the Syrian people.

The only alternative explanation would be that he has become utterly delusional.

In either case, he should be removed from his job immediately, and the 6-point peace plan should be aborted in view of its absolute failure to secure compliance with any of its provisions.

If the U.N. monitors are to remain in Syria, they need a new and forceful mandate from the Security Council. The negotiations for a transition in Syria should be led by outside members of the international community, possibly acting through the Security Council. Any idea of a “Syrian-led” process of negotiations–which means a process controlled by al-Assad, should be jettisoned at once.

In the meantime, states with the capabilities to do so should accelerate their planning and the movement of military assets to the region so as to be in a position to intervene in Syria militarily to stop the killing, on short notice, with or without Security Council authorization.

The Trenchant Observer

observer@trenchantobserver.com
www.twitter.com/trenchantobserv

For links to other articles by The Trenchant Observer, click on the title at the top of this page to go to the home page, and then consult the information in the bottom right hand corner of the home page. The Articles on Syria page can also be found here.

With al-Assad defiant, freeze on UNSMIS, military action required—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Upadate #29 (April 24)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

In view of Bashar al-Assad’s (entirely foreseeable) refusal to comply with the provisions of Security Council Resolution 2042 (April 14, 2012) and Resolution 2043 (April 21, 2012), what is to be done?

The entire Kofi Annan 6-point peace plan was built on a flawed concept of negotiating with a war criminal while he continued to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other grave violations of fundamental human rights, on a very wide scale. The Devil’s Bargain that was sought was the Dictator’s cessation (or reduction) in the commission of these crimes in exchange for non-intervention by outside powers and a “Syrian-led” process of negotiations between the government and the opposition which would lead to, as its only logical outcome, the Dictator remaining in power. The flawed concept put all of the cards in al-Assad’s hands, and those of his Russian backers.

Security Council Resolution 2043, creating the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), was based on a continuation of the flawed 6-point peace plan, and the further assumption that the introduction of 300 unarmed U.N. observers in Syria, with a mandate to observe but not to protect the civilian population, would somehow bring the violence to a halt.

Instead of introducing peace observers after a truce had taken hold, Annan and the Security Council decided to try to use the U.N. observers to force al-Assad to halt the killing.  The Security Council and Annan continued to delude themselves by giving credence, even the slightest credence, to the commitments on paper which al-Assad and his officials signed.

Caught up in the process of getting permission from al-Assad for this or that–the latest being an agreement on the status of the observers and their mission, members of the Security Council mistook paper progress for real progress on the ground, as fresh assaults on cities and towns continued.

What is to be done?

Al-Assad and the Russians and the Chinese appear to have calculated that the 6-point peace plan of Kofi Annan and the establishment of a U.N. observer mission would provide a shield for the al-Assad regime against any foreign military intervention to halt the killing–i.e., the wanton commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

So far, their calculation appears to have been accurate.

What should the West, the Arab countries, and the civilized world do now?

They can wait for 90 days as al-Assad plays games with the U.N. observers, while continuing his atrocities. That is the course of inertia, and what is likely to occur absent strong leadership from some quarter.

That leadership should come from Barack Obama and the United States, but we have observed for a very long time Obama’s lack of resolve in confronting either al-Assad or Vladimir Putin and the Russians. He appears fixated on electoral politics, even at the cost of the national interest, and in addition seems to have a character which abhors confrontation of any kind.

Recommendations

1. Given Syria’s defiance on the ground with the provisions of Security Council Resolutions 2042 and 2043, the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) should immediately be placed in lock-down status until Bashar al-Assad complies with the cessation of hostilities provisions of Resolutions 2042 and 2043.

These unarmed U.N. observers should not be placed in the middle of an ongoing armed conflict, much as the Dutch U.N. peacekeepers were dispatched to Srebrenice without the mandate and means to defend the population of the city against the commission of genocide.

Additional members of UNSMIS should not be deployed to Syria until the conditions detailed above have been met.

2. Great Britain, the United States and France should take the lead in preparing a draft U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of “all necessary measures” to protect the civilian population of Syria against crimes against humanity, and to halt the commission of war crimes against armed insurgents by the Syrian regime.

The text of the draft resolution prepared by these civilized nations should be made public, and placed on the agenda of the Security Council for debate.

After a short but appropriate time for negotiation of a consensus with the Russians and the Chinese, the resolution should be put to a vote.

If the reolution is vetoed by Russia or China or both, nations in a position to do so should then use military force to stop al-Assad and the commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes by his forces. Such action would be consistent with international law.  The legal justifications have been set forth in earlier articles by the Observer.

3. The United States and other countries in a position to do so should, under  the direction of a small and integrated military coordination committee, immediately move to deploy their military assets to the region of Syria so that they may be placed into action on short notice.

A second U.S. aircraft carrier is already in the Persian Gulf.  Additional measures should be taken on an extremely urgent basis.

This is what should be done.  For history.  For stability in the Middle East, and beyond. For our own conception of who we are. For humanity.  Pour l’humanité.

The Trenchant Observer

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