Thursday, June 09, 2011

Russia Backs Assad While Syrian Regimes Continues Brutal Crackdown

Russia is once again on the wrong side of history as it plans on blocking anything harsher than a weakly worded statement against Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad.
"Russia is against any UN Security Council resolution on Syria," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told journalists at a briefing in Moscow.

"We do not believe the Syrian issue is a subject for consideration by the Security Council, let alone the adoption of some kind of resolution," Lukashevich said.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal have floated a new draft resolution condemning Syria as the United States and its allies seek to raise the pressure on President Bashar Assad's government to end its violent crackdown on protesters.

Lukashevich stopped short of saying Russia would use its veto power as a permanent UN Security Council member to doom any Syria resolution if it comes to a vote.

Some diplomats have said they thought Moscow could be persuaded to abstain, as it did in a March vote on the resolution that authorized military intervention in Libya.
A newly liberated Syria would be less likely to rely upon Russia for its military and long range strategic interests, so Russia is looking out for its own pocketbook interests rather than for the human rights of Syrians oppressed by Assad's brutal regime that keeps racking up the butcher's bill.

At the same time, the IAEA is about to hand down its own report about Syria's covert nuclear program. That report would include recommendations to the Security Council for action against the regime's nuclear program (including the covert nuclear facility bombed by Israel in 2007). Throw in the ongoing investigation of Syria's involvement in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and there's more than sufficient reason for the Security Council to act against Assad, but Russia will do what it can to water down the response.

For those concerned about Assad's ongoing crackdown, one has to hope that the diplomats from France, Britain, Portugal and Germany among others, are able to convince Russia to abstain rather than an outright veto that would thwart any action.

Meanwhile, Syrians continue fleeing to Turkey to avoid what they fear would be a massacre of civilians following the incident in Jisr Al-Shugur where Syrian officials claim 120 Syrian security and police were killed by armed opponents. Convoys of tanks led by Assad's brother are reportedly heading towards the town.

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