Yesterday, for the third time in the past 16 months the Russians vetoed (followed by the Chinese) a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution focused on condemning the atrocities in Syria. The veto however, was in essence, irrelevant as international discourse continues to be disconnected from the aspirations of the revolution and trails the fast moving realities on the ground.
Impact of Previous Vetoes
The first two vetoes were crucial in ensuring Russian strategic interests are maintained on the diplomatic front – namely deflecting any condemnation of Assad crimes, ensuring any monitoring mission was toothless in nature and to secure Russia’s seat at the forefront of the diplomatic table.
They were also critical blows to any international effort to monitor and ‘manage’ Assad’s brutal response to the uprising, only to embolden the regime’s brutalities, and clarify to the Syrian people that the UN structures could not be utilized as a means to hasten the fall of the regime, or at the very least alleviate any suffering.
Yesterday’s vetoed resolution would have only extended the impotent observer mission (300 unarmed monitors in a country of 25 million and part of Annan’s failed 6-point peace plan) and added UN economic sanctions under UN’s Chapter 7, Article 41 – note, not Article 42 which was used previously in the Libyan example which allows for ‘all possible means’ to intervene.
UN sanctions, can only be implemented if there is the political and military will to enforce it. This does not exist in this case – those against the regime (US, EU etc.) already have targeted sanctions, those supporting the regime (Russia, China etc.) are already delivering heavy military aid, oil etc…
Furthermore, the discussions in the UNSC discount the realities of the major FSA operations conducted this week in the ‘Battle for Damascus’ and high-profile assassinations against Assad’s inner circle yesterday. The FSA advances against the Assad regime have even been condemned by many in the diplomatic arena from the UN Secretary General and Kofi Annan to British Foreign Secretary William Hague who stated:
“This incident, which we condemn, confirms the urgent need for a chapter VII resolution of the UN Security Council on Syria…The situation in Syria is clearly deteriorating. All the members of the UN Security Council have a responsibility to put their weight behind the enforcement of joint special envoy Kofi Annan’s plan to end the violence…We call on all parties to refrain from violence and for the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities.”
While the UNSC unanimously extended the observer mission for another 30 days today the diplomatic scurrying, posturing and theater creates the illusion that anything meaningful could come out of the diplomatic process – in essence attempting to push the revolutionary aspirations to the side to wait for the outcome.
This has had a distracting effect in the past, however Syrians have learned that their freedom will be fought and won purely on their own – the promises of aid from the International community have not been fulfilled and weapons have not been delivered. Note that the FSA still uses light arms and materials secured inside Syria or smuggled in an adhoc fashion from bordering countries, paid for by Syrian expat communities or individuals in the Gulf and across the Muslim world.
Even last Friday July 13th, to clearly articulate the disgust with the International diplomatic efforts, the day of protest was named “Friday of the Removal of Annan”.
Let the Resolutions Die
The revolution still requires financial support from the outside – whether for arms or aid – this is needed to accelerate the downfall of the regime, and provide basic care for the masses of humanity suffering from the regime onslaught. However it is clear that the focus should be through channels outside the Security Council and international diplomatic theaters.
The revolution has continued to grow, succeed and thrive despite regime brutality and international inaction – while Syrians have been slaughtered the international community has encouraged dialogue with the regime. When Syrians asked for weapons to protect themselves against regime brutality the international community lectured them about civil disobedience.
It is about time we discard the UNSC until further notice, and let the revolution take it natural course, free from the delusion of diplomatic distractions.