Posts Tagged ‘Press release’

Security Council adopts Resolution 2059 extending mandate of UNSMIS for 30 days (with text); fighting and risks intensify—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #67 (July 20)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The U.N. Security Council adopted a draft resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany on Friday morning, July 20, 2012, extending the term of the UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days. The resolution provided, further, that this extension should not be renewed unless the Secretary General reports and the Security Council confirms “the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence by all sides sufficient to allow UNSMIS to implement its mandate.”

See

“Security Council resolution 2059 on UNSMIS,” UN REPORT, July 20, 2012.

“Security Council Renews Mandate of Syria Observer Mission for 30 Days, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2059 (2012),” U.N. Security Council Press Release (Doc. SC/10718), July 20, 2012.

The resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote. The full text of resolution 2059 (2012) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Commending the efforts of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS),

1. Decides to renew the mandate of UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days, taking into consideration the Secretary-General’s recommendations to reconfigure the Mission, and taking into consideration the operational implications of the increasingly dangerous security situation in Syria;

2. Calls upon the parties to assure the safety of UNSMIS personnel without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities;

3. Expresses its willingness to renew the mandate of UNSMIS thereafter only in the event that the Secretary-General reports and the Security Council confirms the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence by all sides sufficient to allow UNSMIS to implement its mandate;

“4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution within 15 days;

“5. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Significantly, the United States was not a co-sponsor of the resolution, in view of the fact that it initially opposed an extension for UNSMIS.

It is simply not credible to argue that the mere continuation of an unarmed observer mission in the midst of these threats and spiraling violence can or will fundamentally change anything. Everyone in this room knows that. The United States has not and will not pin its policy on an unarmed observer mission that is deployed in the midst of such widespread violence and that cannot even count on the most minimal support of this Security Council. Instead, we will intensify our work with a diverse range of partners outside the Security Council to bring pressure to bear on the Assad regime and to deliver assistance to those in need. The Security Council has failed utterly in its most important task on its agenda this year. This is another dark day in Turtle Bay.

One can only hope that one day, before too many thousands more die, that Russia and China will stop protecting Assad and allow this Council to play its proper role at the center of the international response to the crisis in Syria.

–Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At a Security Council Session on Syria, July 19, 2012.

Pakistan, in collaboration with Russia, had sponsored a competing draft resolution for the extension of UNSMIS for 45 days, with no conditions.

Analysis

This weeks’ negotiations and votes at the United Nations represented highly significant developments.

The sponsors and supporters of draft resolution S/2012/538, vetoed by China and Russia on July 19, made very significant progress in spelling out the conditions that will be necessary for the Security Council to act effectively in Syria in the future. The adoption of Resolution 2058 today, with stringent conditions for any future renewal of UNSMIS, demonstrates their resolve not to continue passively as Kofi Annan creates endless illusions regarding “agreements” which have no teeth and no consequences for violating their provisions. In this sense, the Kofi Annan-Russia-Syria game of endless delay while atrocities continue, is over.

The focus of attention will now shift to the actions of nations outside the famework of the Security Council. This is a highly positive development, and represents the only way the kind of real pressure that can stop al-Assad can be organized and brought to bear on the ground.

At some point in the future, when Russia and China realize that by their vetoes they have marginalized themselves from the efforts of the civilized nations of the world to bring the atrocities in Syria to a halt, and to manage the transition that will follow al-Assad’s inevitable departure, the Security Council may play a constructive role.

Vladimir Putin, who increasingly seems to emulate the foreign policy brilliance of Leonid Brezhnev, has dictated a Russian policy on Syria for which in the end Russia will pay dearly.

Russia, as a result of its bull-headed obstinacy in the Security Council proceedings on Syria, has lost something of inestimable value: the trust and goodwill of the American political leadership class.

There are signs that not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now understands the necessity of tougher action toward Russia, but that even Barack Obama is beginning to awake from his dream and illusion of a “reset” of U.S. relations with Russia. His meeting with Putin in Los Cabos, Mexico on the sidelines of the G-20 summit may also have helped in this regard.

Further, the United States House of Representatives has adopted a draft law which would ban U.S. government business with Russia’s arms manufacturers. It will now be sent to the Senate. The significance of this development is very great: Russia has lost the goodwill and the trust of a large segment of the American population, including the Republican party. This is likely to have long-lasting and far-reaching repercussions, from throwing into doubt the repeal of the Johnson-Vanik amendment and the approval of permanent most-vavored-nation treatment status (now called PNTR status), to making it very difficult if not impossible to achieve ratification of any future START or other arms agreement between and Russia and the United States.

See

Kate Brannen, “Legislation Would Limit U.S. Business With Russian Arms Dealer,” Defense News, July 19, 2012.

Josh Rogin, “House votes to cut off Pentagon deals with Russian arms exporter,” Foreign Policy–The Cable, July 20, 2012.

The bill provides in part, “the Defense Department may not “enter into a contract, memorandum of understanding, or cooperative agreement with, make a grant to, or provide a loan or loan guarantee to Rosoboronexport.”

“House Passes Defense Bill With Nuclear Policy Restrictions,” NTI
Gobal Security Newswire (produced by the National Journal), July 20, 2012 (regarding attitude of Republicans and House).

In the Middle East itself, Russia’s short-sighted policies in Syria are likely to cause resentments that become crystallized into a template of anti-Russian feeling that could last for a generation or more. Not only are they likely to lose Syria as an ally, but also to find it increasingly difficult to exercise influence among the other Arab nations of the region.

China, too, will pay a price over the long term for having acted to block Security Council action on Syria. While it may calculate that its foreign assistance to Africa will win the favor of African states, to the extent necessary to extract the natural resources that it seeks, as the democratic revolution spreads throughout Africa China’s defense of the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity will be remembered. It will be remembered elsewhere as well.

To be sure, the fact that China is in a year of political transition during which the leadership of the country for the next 10 years will assume power may cause all of the leaders in China to exercise extreme caution. In this context, they may calculate that hiding behind Russia is the safest course, politically, within China. But just as the United States may pay a high price for an inept and non-responsive foreign policy, however “good” it may be judged in terms of the domestic political and electoral dynamic, China too is likely to pay a significant cost abroad for its obstruction of Security Council action.

Pakistan’s and South Africa’s Abtentions on July 19

The two countries that abstained on the draft resolution vetoed on July 19 deserve special mention. Pakistan’s abstention, wholly aside from its fatuous justification for its vote, signals even greater alienation from the U.S., and a willingness to cooperate with the Russians when the interests of the superpower and the former superpower collide. The collaboration with Moscow was quite evident in the draft resolution Pakistan sponsored for an extension of UNSMIS with no conditions, i.e., on Russian terms.

This development is worrisome, because together Pakistan and Russia could have a decisive influence over the way things go in Afghanistan. It is also troubling because Pakistan is still a democracy of sorts, with nuclear weapons, and its alignment with the League of Authoritarian States would cause very significant problems down the road.

As for South Africa, given its previous support for the February 4, 2012 draft resolution in the Security Council vetoed by China and Russia, what are we to make of its abstention on the vote on the draft resolution vetoed on July 19?

South African Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim has offered a not very persuasive defense of South Africa’s vote. Governments voting in the Security Council are sophisticated, and they do not approve or oppose a resolution of such great importance because some phrase or wording they proposed was rejected. The South Africans knew very well what was at stake in their vote on this resolution, and their abstention is deeply worrisome.

See Ebrahim Ebrahim, “Why SA abstained on UNSC Syria vote – Ebrahim Ebrahim, PoliticsWeb, July 20, 2012.

Significantly, it should be noted that at the time of the vote on July 19, South African President Jacob Zuma was in Beijing attending a conference of Chinese and African leaders at which China pledged some $20 billion of economic assistance to Africa over the next three years. Did Zuma abstain out of deference to his hosts, or is there more to it?

South Africa’s shift from supporting U.N. resolutions condemning the al-Assad regime to abstention in voting on the draft resolution of July 19 is a matter of great concern, both to countries supporting transitions to democracy and the rule of law in Africa and in general, and to the many countries in Africa which look to South Africa as a shining example–exemplified by Nelson Mandela–of the kind of democracy that Africans can achieve.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, current Home Affairs Minister and former foreign minister of South Africa (and also a former wife of president Jacob Zuma), has just been elected as the head of the Commission of the African Union, underlining the fact that South Africa’s influence is and will be felt far and wide on the continent.

See
Aaron Maasho, “Dlamini-Zuma elected to head AU Commission, The Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg), July 16, 2012.

Institute for Security Studies (Tshwane/Pretoria), “Africa: The Implications of Dr Dlamini-Zuma’s Election As Head of the African Union Commission,” AllAfrica, July 18, 2012.

Paradoxically, one of the first questions Dr. Dlamini-Zuma will have to address, will be the position of the African Union in requesting (or not) U.N. Security Council intervention in Mali to help stabilize the country after an out-break of civil war there. What the South African vote of abstention on July 19 says about the Mali question, if anything, is of great importance.

More broadly, whether South Africa aligns with democratic movements and reformers stuggling for the rule of law will, over time, have a very large impact on events on the continent, both outside and within South Africa itself.

In Syria the fighting intensifies, as do the risks in the region

Meanwhile, back on the ground in Syria, it was reported that over 300 people were killed on Friday, July 20.

See Albert Aji and Zeina Karam (AP), “Syria Conflict: Deadliest Day Of Fighting Since Start Of Uprising,” Huffington Post, July 20, 2012 (updated 8:34 p.m. EDT).

Events are moving quickly, and the crisis in Syria is not getting better. The United States is, however belatedly, now examining military options for protecting the chemical weapons in al-Assad’s control in the event he uses them or his control over them breaks down, as well as how to deal with the possibility that Israel might undertake attacks against chemical weapons facilities.

See David Axe, “Syria’s Ballistic Missile Arsenal Looms As Assad Regime Buckles,” Wired, July 19, 2012 (4:12 p.m.).

Jennifer Rubin, “What was Obama waiting for in Syria?” The Washington Post, July 19, 2012 (” Right Turn” column).
By Jennifer Rubin

With the issue of Iran’s development of a nuclear weapons capability in drift, and earlier threats by Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites before their window of inevitability closed, the question of Syria lies at the heart of the cauldron of interests that are now engaged in the Middle East. Presidents Obama and Putin would do well to reread Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August on the events in 1914 that accidentally set off World War I. In a recent column, David Ignatius has made the same point.

See David Ignatius, Can diplomacy succeed with Iran and Syria?” Washington Post, July 11, 2012.

It is time for President Obama and the key members of his team, including in particular cabinet secretaries, to pay close attention, day by day, to what is going on in Syria and the region. He has been slow to appreciate the significance of developments in the past, or we would never have reached this point. He must now support those who can understand the requirements of the critical situations we face and act decisively to achieve clear and coherent objectives. Paying attention, and making sure others pay full attention, is one task he cannot delegate, whatever the demands of the electoral cycle.

The Trenchant Observer

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Draft Security Council Resolution S/2012/538 vetoed by Russia and China (text of resolution and video link)—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #66 (July 19)

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Draft Resolution S/2012/538 on Syria, sponsored by France, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States, was put to a vote this morning in the U.N. Security Council. The text of the draft resolution is found here.

The draft resolution received 11 affirmative votes, two negative votes (Russia and China), and two abstentions (Pakistan and South Africa).

Because of the Russian and Chinese vetos, the resolution was not adopted.

Those voting in favor of the resolution included the following countries:

Azerbaijan
Colombia
France*
Germany
Guatemala
India
Morocco
Portugal
Togo
United Kingdom*
United States*

*Permanent Member

See the press release on the meeting and vote, and the video of the 6810th meeting of the Security Council, including the vote on the draft resolution and statements by Security Council members explaining their votes, at the links below:

“Security Council Fails to Adopt Draft Resolution on Syria That Would Have Threatened Sanctions, Due to Negative Votes of China, Russian Federation,” U.N. Press Release (Doc. SC/10714), July 19, 2012.

“The situation in the Middle East (Syria) – Security Council, 6810th meeting,” UN Webcast, July 19, 2012 (video of meeting).

Signficantly, Pakistan and South Africa abstained in the vote. Pakistan fatuously justified its abstention saying it would not support the resolution because the other members had been unable to reach a consensus. Pakistan previously voted in favor of the February 4, 2012 draft resolution on Syria which was vetoed by Russia and China.

South Africa’s abstention, coming one day after the national celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday, reflected poorly on Jacob Zuma’s government and Mandela’s legacy in the struggle for freedom around the world. It is surprising, moreover, in view of South Africa’s vote in favor of the draft Security Council resolution vetoed by Russia and China on February 4, and its vote on February 16, 2012 in favor of General Assembly Resolution A/66/L.36 condemning Syria.

Do Pakistan and South Africa have secret thoughts of joining the League of Authoritarian States?

Attention in the Security Council now turns to the question of whether or not to extend UNSMIS for 30 days, without imposing any consequences on al-Assad for continuing his atrocities. The U.S. has stated that it is opposed to an extension.

In a very heartening development, the United States has now shifted its policy away from focusing on the illusory prospect of effective action by the Security Council given Russian and Chinese intransigence.

Regarding the issue of a temporary extension of UNSMIS, there is an argument to be made that, in view of present circumstances in Syria, it may be useful to have the UNSMIS arrangements in place to deal with whatever may happen in the future, particularly if the al-Assad regime starts to collapse.

On the other hand, two counter-arguments are persuasive. First, UNSMIS can perform no useful function in Syria under current conditions, and it is time to get the valiant members of the observation mission out of harm’s way before they are injured or killed in some Götterdämmerung spasm of the al-Assad regime.

The second counter-argument is that the presence of the UNSMIS observers reduces the pressure on Russia and China to adopt measures under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, while they form a kind of human shield against military action by outside powers. If and when it becomes possible for the observers to monitor a truce, a new authorization for UNSMIS under Chapter VII and with a much stronger mandate can be made.

The idea that the members of UNSMIS might mediate local ceasefires is fanciful, and appears to be but one more last-ditch effort by Kofi Annan to remain at the center of attention and to keep his mediation mission going. The UNSMIS observers are not trained mediators. Attempting to mediate, moreover, would expose them to even greater danger.

Kofi Annan has failed. His boondoggle of setting up a second Secretary General’s office in Geneva with 17 high-ranking diplomatic and other supporting staff should be ended at the earliest opportunity. He should be sent home, and removed from the center stage of efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis. For four months, he has absorbed the media attention of the world, acted to protect Russia’s interest in delay with no consequences for al-Assad, and constantly manipulatd expectations so as to keep his mediation mission going. He has achieved nothing. Absolutely nothing. Thousands have died as a result of the constant hopes, illusions and delays he has caused. He should now exit the stage.

On balance, the big advance that is possible today, in the light of the Russian and Chinese vetoes, is to shift the world’s attention away from the Security Council and Kofi Annan’s castles in the sky, and to pursue urgently other alternatives in preparation for al-Assad’s departure.

To produce such a shift in attention, Kofi Annan’s mission should be halted, or at least downgraded to something approaching the irrelevance that it has achieved on the ground. Allowing UNSMIS to lapse will help achieve this objective.

The Trenchant Observer

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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 use the “Search” Box or consult the information in the bottom right hand corner of the home page. The Articles on Syria page can also be found here. The Articles on Targeted Killings page can also be found here.

Security Council establishes observer mission (UNSMIS) with 300 officials to monitor implementation of Kofi Annan plan—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #28 (April 22)

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Adoption of Security Council Resolution 2043 (April 21, 2012)

On Saturday, April 21, the United Nations Security Council adopted by a unanimous vote Resolution 2043, which establishes for an initial period of 90 days a 300-person observer mission to monitor an end to violence in Syria and full implementation of Kofi Annan’s 6-point peace plan, as called for in Security Council Resolution 2042 adopted on April 14. See

U.N. Press Release SC/10618 (April 21) on Security Council Adoption of Resolution 2043 (April 21, 2012) establishing observer mission of 300 unarmed monitors to oversee compliance with an end to violence in Syria and full implementation of Kofi Annan’s 6-point peace plan. However, their mandate is to observe, not to protect.

The text of Security Council Resolution 2043 (April 21, 2012) is contained in the press statement cited above, and may be found here.

Regarding the April 14 resolution and its adoption, see

The provisional oral record of the April 14 meeting at which the Security Council adopted Resolution 2042 (U.N. Doc. S/PV.6751) is found here.

The official text of Security Council Resolution 2042 (April 14, 2012) (S/RES/2042 (2012) is found here.

The April 21 resolution came two and a half months and thousands of lives after Russia and China vetoed a resolution with similar objectives on February 4, 2012.

The provisional oral record of the February 4, 2012 Security Council meeting (U.N. Doc. S/PV.6711) is found here.

The February 4, 2012 draft resolution (U.N. Doc. S/2012/77) approved by 13 members but vetoed by Russia and China (13-2-0) is found here.

A Euphemism to End All Euphemisms

In a euphemism to end all euphemisms, the Security Council stated the following in the Resolution’s preambular clauses:

Noting the Syrian government’s commitment on 25 March 2012 to implement the six-point proposal of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and to implement urgently and visibly its commitments, as it agreed to do in its communication to the Envoy of 1 April 2012, to (a) cease troop movements towards population centres, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centres, and (c) begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres, and to implement these in their entirety by no later than 10 April 2012, and noting also the Syrian opposition’s expressed commitment to respect the cessation of violence, provided the government does so,

Expressing concern over ongoing violence and reports of casualties which have escalated again in recent days, following the Envoy’s assessment of 12 April 2012 that the parties appeared to be observing a cessation of fire and that the Syrian government had started to implement its commitments, and noting that the cessation of armed violence in all its forms is therefore clearly incomplete,…”

Well, I guess that is one way to describe the utter perfidy of Bashar al-Assad and the ongoing and wanton commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Syrian government since April 1, and even since the cesefire deadline of April 10.

But in diplomacy and international politics, words count. They count because if we don’t listen to what we are saying, we enter into an Orwellian world in which nothing makes sense and words have lost their meaning.

Let’s read the words again, slowly:

“and noting that the cessation of armed violence in all its forms is therefore clearly incomplete,…(emphasis added)

“Clearly incomplete?”  This is Orwellian language at its greatest heights. It should come as no surprise that it comes from the Russians, who have unparalled experience in the field of propaganda in general, and Orwellian language in particular.  Resolution 2043 was in fact based on the Russian draft.

The euphemism itself is utterly revealing–lighting up the countryside like lightning flashes on a dark and rainy evening, or military flares in night combat.

It illuminates in sharp relief the stark difference between “diplomatic reality” and “diplomatic time”, on the one hand, and the devastating real-world reality represented by the ongoing commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by al-Assad, in real time, on the other.

In the this real-world reality, such crimes have tragic consequences not only for the individual human beings who are killed and wounded, but also for their immediate and extended families. They also have serious moral consequences for the feckless spectators who are in a position to act to halt the atrocities, but do nothing effective to do so.

Individual human lives count.

If we ever lose our belief that this is true, we will be lost, and the horrors of the first half of the 20th century will become not only historical memories, but also future prophecies.

The United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS)

In its key operative provisions, Resolution 243 provides:

“The Security Council

5. Decides to establish for an initial period of 90 days a United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) under the command of a Chief Military Observer, comprising an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers as well as an appropriate civilian component as required by the Mission to fulfil its mandate,

“6. Decides also that the mandate of the Mission shall be to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties and to monitor and support the full implementation of the Envoy’s six-point proposal;

“8. Calls upon the Syrian government to ensure the effective operation of UNSMIS by: facilitating the expeditious and unhindered deployment of its personnel and capabilities as required to fulfil its mandate; ensuring its full, unimpeded, and immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfil its mandate, underlining in this regard the need for the Syrian government and the United Nations to agree rapidly on appropriate air transportation assets for UNSMIS; allowing its unobstructed communications; and allowing it to freely and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with UNSMIS;

“9. Calls upon the parties to guarantee the safety of UNSMIS personnel without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities;

“11. Reiterates its call for the Syrian authorities to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in accordance with international law and guiding principles of humanitarian assistance and calls upon all parties in Syria, in particular the Syrian authorities, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance;

The Resolution also calls for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to report to the security Council on implementation of the resolution every 15 days.

Following adoption of the resolution by a unanimous vote, a number of ambassadors spoke regarding the resolution and the situation in Syria. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice stated the following (according to the summary of her remarks provided in the press statement):

SUSAN RICE (United States) said she was sober about the risks, given the Assad regime’s long record of basic disregard for humanity. Deployment of 300 or even 3,000 observers could not stop the Assad regime from its murderous acts. Only extensive external pressure could bring an end to them. The Syrian Government said it had welcomed observers on the ground, as they would be impartial. Even more so, the Syrian people expected and deserved that the Council stand behind today’s resolution and impose consequences, if the Syrian regime failed to honour its commitments. The regime had unleashed yet another wave of horrific violence against its own people. The use of shelling and heavy weaponry, particularly in Homs, had reached levels that surpassed those registered before the ceasefire. The status of thousands of detainees remained clear. There had been little progress on the issue of humanitarian access. An estimated 1 million civilians were still in urgent need of humanitarian aid. The Council had called on the Syrian Government to take concrete action. The United States’ patience was exhausted.

“Let me be plain. No one should assume that the United States will agree to resume this mission at the end of 90 days if there is not a cessation of violence, full freedom of movement for United Nations personnel and considerable progress on the ground,” she said. Absent that “then we must all conclude that this mission has run its course”. She expressed gratitude for the work of the monitors for embarking on this unprecedented and risky mission. They were going to be responsible for security and would be deployed in the midst of protestors desperate for protection that observers were not mandated to provide. That would give rise to expectations that they were not prepared to meet. All experiences in United Nations peacekeeping over the past six decades showed that there must be a peace to keep. The Syrian opposition said that they wanted the United Nations and hoped that it would have a restraining effect on the Syrian Government, enabling them to act and speak freely. If that did not happen, then the regime must be held accountable. The United States strongly supported full implementation of the six-point plan. “Let there be no doubt. We, our allies, and others in this body are planning for those actions that will be required by all of us if the Assad regime persists in the slaughter of the Syrian people,” she said.

Rice points to a central flaw in the peace monitor scheme.  The monitors cannot stop the atrocities, or even protect people who are being subjected to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The resolution, in effect, sets up a Srebrenice-like situation, where U.N. forces are present, but have no way to protect the population they are sent to observe.

Now Bashar al-Assad may have another month or two, or longer, to play games with the U.N. Observer Mission, while his army and state security officials continue to hunt down opponents to the regime.  Russia is obviously quite happy with this arrangement.  Putin eats Obama’s lunch, again.

The Observer certainly hopes that this does not prove to be the case. But we must all keep our eyes wide open, and focused on what is taking place on the ground. There is a history with al-Assad here, and there are lessons to be learned from this history.

Will Bashar Al-Assad Have to be Taken Down Like a Mad Dog?

With reports of continued fighting on April 23, the thought occurs that it may be that al-Assad will have to be taken down like a mad dog.

See Syria accused of hiding tanks from UN observers
Loveday Morris (Beirut), The Independent, 23 April 2012.

If there is ever a moment when the West and the Arab countries and the international community decide to act to stop al-Assad, they certainly have the means to do so.  The United States, for example, has an armory of cruise missiles which could give Bashar and Maher al-Assad a real wake-up call, on short order.  These steps could be taken without committing to an open-ended military engagement. The U.S. also possesses drones and special forces units, which if ever authorized to do so, could make Bashar al-Assad’s life very complicated indeed.

The legal arguments that would support military intervention in Syria in the absence of Security Council authorization would also appear to justify going after the command and control facilities and assets that are directing the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.

See The Trenchant Observer, “Humanitarian Intervention in Syria Without Security Council Authorization—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #24 (April 8),” April 8, 2012, and articles cited therein.

Perhaps it could become so complicated that, if al-Assad wants to avoid Moammar Qadaffi’s fate, he would be well advised to exit the scene now, on the best terms he can get.  They will surely be much harsher in the future.

The Trenchant Observer

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

For links to other articles by The Trenchant Observer on this topic, and others, 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.