Syria and the UN

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nimblecivet's picture

Ban-Ki Moon's tone in addressing the Annan regime may be as stern as it is in order to allay fears that the UN resolution is not strong enough a tool, having been drafted by the ally of Syria Russia as well as European powers. The resolution does not include a trigger for sanctions. The US ambassador is threatening sanctions and continues to characterize the Syrian government as the aggressor. The Syrian government maintains its right to keep order but says that it is complying with the terms of the resolution and even welcomes the role of the UN. The rebels are now calling for outside assistance and have staged rallies to continue their insistence that Assad be removed from power. It is now the US that is threatening to veto at the UN, after the 90 day period of the current resolution.


Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian's picture
I am going to "grand stand"

I am going to "grand stand" for a moment...



I took action against the bombing of Syria.

I have NEVER met a "Syrian" or anyone of "Syrian" dissent.

I KNOW that CNN and our own U.S. Government have taken part in psy op applications of warfare against a society of peoples that have NO ill intent against ME or have I against THEM.

I will now accept "good will" pats on the back for taking actions against war mongering from all of you so called progressives.

Now, now... get in line... don't be rude... everyone will have their equal opportunity to praise Fletcher!

Thank you.


See... I actually "did" something against this atrocity.  I KNOW that it will happen, but the FACT that it has bought some time for some people to save their lives is of GREAT comfort to me!  I KNOW that I did a GOOD deed!

That's ALL you can do folks... "HOPE" that a "slip" doesn't become a "slide".

The "BEST THAT YOU CAN DO" is the best that you can do.

nimblecivet's picture
Whatever you did, writing a

Whatever you did, writing a letter or whatever, I applaud you for it. "Tag, you're it.", right?

It may be that Libya will be better off yet without Gaddhafi. Or Iraq without Hussein. But we cannot bomb the Middle East into "democracy." We should have the moral clarity to see that. Now Jacques Chirac who has to court far-right anti-immigrants to stay in the running during the French elections wants to create "humanitarian corridors." Well, I'm not necessarilly averse to providing arms to rebels who need to protect themselves. I know there have been terrorist incidents but I don't think that characterizes the whole movement. What's been started cannot be reversed. Assad will have to go eventually, sooner or later. Its in everybody's best interests to ensure that it is a peaceful transition and that human rights are respected by all parties. No?

Have you read "The Left at War" by Be'rube' where he talks about the split in the left over interventionism and attempts to lay down principles of action and analysis? I just started it. I don't think its an insurmountable difficulty to do so. I have given you my tentative opinion about how to achieve a balanced perspective from the US's standpoint. We may be an evil empire, but allowing a certain latitude of action if we the people are able to control our government may nevertheless have good results and be principled in nature. Or is this the dreaded so-called "situational ethics" rearing its ugly head? What do you think?

nimblecivet's picture
As the cease-fire is

As the cease-fire is threatened and the blame game emerges, a new development:,0,6059287.story

While the announcement of this group is greeted with skepticism, the leader of it claims that is has support inside Syria where it counts. Note that he insists that Syria not again be under "minority rule" as he states would be the case with the current coterie of political factions favored by the west. Note also his ties to Saudi Arabia as a businessman.

nimblecivet's picture
Predictably, violence

Predictably, violence continues in Syria, including terrorist attacks. There is little or no information about who exactly is behind these attacks. Is it possible to speculate that certain factions of radical muslims tied to extremist networks are independantly responsible? I'm just guessing, but this seems more likely than that factions within the official Syrian opposition are responsible. Certainly the Free Syrian Army and the "government-in-exile" harbor factions wary of the cease fire and see removing Assad as the greatest priority. However, terrorist tactics are more likely to be used by those who have no desire to maintain relationships with any faction of the outside world.

As for the cold-war era remnants of diplomatic relationships, a new development is that China has been purchasing Iranian oil via Russian banks. The gulf states which have been most constently friendly to US interests have taken diplomatic measures to further isolate the Assad regime. Is it possible that what has happened in Libya and Syria is a further development of the US invasion of Iraq insofar as that event requires ongoing diplomatic concessions to the gulf states on the part of the US due to the fact that the US invalidated Iraq's debt?

I'm not sure about that theory because while the United Arab Emirates and Algeria forgave Iraqi debt (along with the Paris club), the issue of Iraq's debt to Saudi Arabia appears to be tangled in diplomacy over Kuwait. Also, Egypt became the symbol of the "Arab Spring" after Algeria, but Egypt has moved away from the international community in that it has turned a cold shoulder to the IMF and also institutions such as the Carter Center which Egypt says violate Egyptian soveirgnty. So certainly it would be foolish to interpret everything as a CIA plot of some sort to open up the Middle East to neoliberal banking cartels servicing their favored clientele in the region and reworking the political map of the region to replace obsolete or unfriendly regimes (from the perspective of the U.S. and allies) with neoliberal stooges.

On the other hand, competition between Western interests include those of European powers who also hold veto power in the UN and have major interests in these former colonies. Ironically, the influence of countries such as France and Italy may be to take advantage of the Arab Spring for the purposes of securing economic ties with the new regimes which are mutually beneficial to those newly in power in Libya, etc. and these European nations but are so at the expense of the IMF funded by powers such as Germany and the US.

Karolina's picture
nimblecivet wrote:So

nimblecivet wrote:
So certainly it would be foolish to interpret everything as a CIA plot of some sort to open up the Middle East to neoliberal banking cartels servicing their favored clientele in the region and reworking the political map of the region to replace obsolete or unfriendly regimes (from the perspective of the U.S. and allies) with neoliberal stooges.

On the other hand, competition between Western interests include those of European powers who also hold veto power in the UN and have major interests in these former colonies. Ironically, the influence of countries such as France and Italy may be to take advantage of the Arab Spring for the purposes of securing economic ties with the new regimes which are mutually beneficial to those newly in power in Libya, etc. and these European nations but are so at the expense of the IMF funded by powers such as Germany and the US....

....and Britain.

nimblecivet's picture
I saw this article in the

I saw this article in the Washington Post:

and went looking for a different source to confirm the story and read this one out of the list that came up after searching Yahoo! for "Eager Lion":

The WP says that the aim of the excercises is to control stockpiles of chemical weapons. This makes sense. While pundits debate whether the rebels should be armed by outside sources, which I think there is a strong case for as I believe the Syrian military/police initiated the violence in quelling protests, the US/NATO/etc. military establishment/alliance will not allow the security of the Syrian state to fall into the hands of rebels. The WW4 report does not mention any focus on chemical weapons, merely stating the official Jordanian line that the excercises' timing is "coincidental" to the ongoing strife in Syria.

Clearly the responsible factions of the rebels, especially those in exile in France, etc., have a responsibility to come to a truce with the Assad regime. As bad as the Assad regime is, I don't think the rebels want the course of events to be determined by terrorists.

The WP article claims that Al Queda operatives have come to Syria from Iraq to take advantage of the chaos. Whether or not this is true, clearly terrorists are involved in the failure of the UN brokered cease-fire and those terrorists are likely to be almost entirely comprised of radical muslim extremists hoping to create a regional power vacuum which they believe they will be able to fill ("Allah willing"). Certainly there may be other interests, for example private interests, western or arab (Gulf States), involved in the corruption of military aid to the rebels by outside factions who are responsible for the terrorist attacks the type of which have been the signature of certain obscure factions present in the region. They too have a stake in spreading chaos in the hopes of seeing their interests prevail.

Let's hope those operating above-board will act to resolve the situation soon in a way that brings stability to the Syrian people and the opportunity to persue peaceful protest and democratic reform.

nimblecivet's picture    "Syria's New Jihadis: Meet the Terrorist Group That's Ruining the Revolution," by Aaron Y. Zelin, 5/22/12

To the radical muslims sectarian differences do not merely pronounce themselves in cultural differences between ethnic groups, they are part of a super-millenial conflict over the rightful heirs of political power. Safe to say that none of the terrorists have bothered to trace their own lineage back to the eighth century I would guess.

Of course the terrorists employ the rhetorical tactic of "all's fair" by pointing out the atrocities of the Assad regime (ironically, for lack of a better word, the building bombed in the most recent high-profile attack was first used to torture and interrogate (suspected) Israeli spies). The article points out that these factions are minute in scale compared within the demographic scale of anti-regime factions, and consist mostly of immigrants.

This raises some questions about whether the Assad regime is willing to put the blame for ongoing violence on these factions or whether the regime will make the claim that the Free Syrian Army is in collaboration with them. It may be a moot point insofar as the bulk of the fighting is between the regime and the rebels. If a process of dialogue between the regime and the FSA emerges, expect terrorist attacks to be focused on the UN. The UN was one of the first targets in Iraq, although I don't recall the Bush administration kicking up much of a fuss about that. 

nimblecivet's picture
Here, Ribal Assad, speaking

Here, Ribal Assad, speaking from London where he has lived since he fled from Syria with his father after a failed coup attempt, lays blame at the feet of both Saudi Arabia and Turkey for the West's support of the Syrian National Council.

Ribal Assad wrote:

My agenda is not as simple as overthrowing a corrupt regime or supporting the most vocal and violent elements of the oppositions. My agenda is real democracy.


They (the Syrian National Council) have chosen a moderate leader to hide this but radical Islamists have entered the fold backed by insidious elements in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This is the reason that Damascus and Aleppo have not yet risen, they are afraid they will be replacing the regime with something worse.


It was Turkey who chose the SNC which is really the Muslim Brotherhood. When they held in Ankara a meeting of the opposition, they called only the Islamists, and disregarded all other groups. It's because Turkey is lead by an Islamist party. No-one in Syria believes them. If you want to have a real meeting, do it in London or Berlin. Not Ankara.

the article's author wrote:

He believes that the only solution is for the western countries to back the democratic opposition groups and insist on negotiations with the regime. He insists that if free elections are held in Syria, the Islamists will not take control as in Egypt and Tunisia.

Whether or not the agendas of Saudi Arabia and Turkey are strictly anti-democratic, Ribal's analysis is laudable in that it preserves the long-term goal of Syria remaining under control of Syrians. Ribal claims that "Islamist" elements are not prevalent among Syrians. While that may imply that there is little risk of them entering a power vacuum left by destabilizing Syria, proxy war which also involves China and Russia would surely be detrimental to the ability of Syrians to form their own interim government.

nimblecivet's picture

Syria denies Houla killings, UN condemns attack
By BEN HUBBARD and EDITH M. LEDERER | Associated Press 5/28/12


At this point it is largely moot whether or not the rebels have engaged in fighting. To the extent that Syrian rebels, in denouncing the massacre related in the above article or otherwise, have made a call for outside support, those contemplating the ethics of such an action cannot blame the rebels for employing the same tactics that the revolutionaries of the American Revolution used against the British. We may have hoped that a peace process would quell the violence, but there seems to be no avoiding the fact that only the Syrian military has had control of the weapons used in the massacre. I'm not saying that some sort of "conspiracy theory" is not possible- it always is- but the idea that this massacre was in some sense staged by forces outside the Syrian military, or by rogue elements within it, is a stretch.

Note that the massacre followed clashes with protesters following protests, so it is not merely an escalation of fighting but an ongoing struggle over freedom of speech and assembly. Would protesters deliberately provoke such an attack? Not likely. Would outside agents provoke confrontations with Syrian military forces (who the Syrian government claims were in their baracks)? Possibly, but how could they know that the Syrian military would commit a massacre? How could they rely on the idea that the Assad regime or factions within it (for whom, according some observers, this is a life or death struggle where Assad cannot afford to loose their loyalty by engaging in dialogue) would act in a way which would increase the likelihood of outside assistance to the rebels? Not a plausable scenario, so the Assad regime is trying to buy time by arguing that the reports are fabrications and that it will offer its own version of events to Annan and the rest of the U.N..  A massacre is always purely the responsibility of those who commit it and those that did so in Houla are obviously acting out of the belief that they can break the spirit of the rebels. In the end, such actions lessen the chance that terrorists will ever be brought to justice. 

If it is decided that outside support is warranted at the request of the rebel leadership, then this support should come in the form of overwhelming force- but not of the same type used in the massacre. Unfortunately, we live in a different world than the one of the Lincoln Brigade.

nimblecivet's picture
Russia has parsed its words,

Russia has parsed its words, and some see the so-called "Salvadoran option for Syria" behind the massacre. The latter is a theory which was also applied to Iraq, that Negroponte and ambassador Ford are behind covert operations to create conflict and manufacture consent for further US involvement. The Free Syrian Army has stated that it can independently take control of chemical weapons stockpiles. Ehud Barak as well as Mitt Romney are calling for further intervention by the US and the international community, and Iran has made online statements affirming its presence there but later removed those claims from the website to which they were posted.

To my knowledge, no evidence in the form of aerial photographs etc. have been offered by the US or UN. Its impossible to say whether the US is somehow behind the massacre, but of course its entirely believable. The effort to overthrow Assad is primarily, from the perspective of those pushing for an attack on Iran, a proxy war with Iran. How much interest Iran has in maintaining its networks with Hezbollah I would imaging is being weighed by them against the prospect of their activities being used as a justification by the US or Israel for bombing them. Also, it is not a given that Iran has a high stake in being involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict and much has changed in that Egypt may have a strong moderate-Islamist faction in power.
Syrian Foreign Ministry to UNSC: Militants Committed Massacres with Cold Blood
Syrian army rebels will secure chemical weapons following Assad’s fall: report
"THE SALVADOR OPTION FOR SYRIA": US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate "Opposition Forces"

nimblecivet's picture

The ineffectual nature of the UN as it currently operates is revealed by recent events. The UN cannot even "monitor" events closely enough to validate any particular version of events. The smartest thing the Assad regime can do right now is to invite Russian and/or Chinese forces to assist in stabilizing the country. That may even be a good option for the rebels if they don't want to be seen as proxy fighters for the West.

nimblecivet's picture


U.N. investigators and survivors have blamed pro-regime gunmen for at least some of the carnage in Houla, a collection of poor farming villages in central Homs province, saying men in civilian clothes gunned down people in the streets and stabbed women and children in their homes. The Syrian government denied its troops were behind the killings and blamed "armed terrorists."


The U.N.'s human rights office said most of the victims were shot execution-style at close range, with fewer than 20 people cut down by regime shelling.

Also see,