Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria 18 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 6 years ago

(I'm going to start making 'important' stories from Syria and elsewhere in different topics. The megathread I think has served its purpose)

This is the second such major attempt at a vote, though it was once again unable to pass due to the Russian and Chinese veto on the board. They justify this by pointing out the resolution does not do anything about other groups causing violence in Syria besides the government.

BBC News - West deplores Syria draft UN veto by Russia and China

Spoiler: Show

West deplores Syria draft UN veto by Russia and China

Western nations have deplored the vetoing by Russia and China of a UN resolution condemning the crackdown in Syria on anti-government protests.

The US said the veto was "shameful", while Britain said it "lets the Syrian people down". France also condemned the block at the UN Security Council.

Russia and China said the proposed draft was "unbalanced".

The document was rejected just hours after activists accused Syrian troops of killing at least 55 people in Homs.

A BBC correspondent who entered the Syrian city with rebels after the vote says gun and shell fire can be heard there. 'Disgusted'

The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, described the veto on Saturday as "shameful".

It showed, she said, how Russia and China aimed to "sell out the Syrian people and shield a craven tyrant".

"Any further bloodshed that flows will be on their hands," Ms Rice added.

She later wrote on Twitter: "Disgusted that Russia and China prevented the UN Security Council from fuliflling its sole purpose."

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said the approach by Moscow and Beijing "lets the Syrian people down, and will only encourage President (Bashar) Assad's brutal regime to increase the killing".

In Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement that he "strongly deplores" the veto.

But he added that his country would not give up seeking a solution. "The Syrian tragedy must stop," he said.

Mohammed Loulichki, Morocco's ambassador to the UN and the sole Arab member of the current council, voiced "great regret and disappointment" that Moscow and Beijing had struck it down.

The Arab draft resolution, supported by all 13 other members of the Security Council, had adopted an Arab League call for a "Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system".

However, Russia said it singled out the government of President Assad, and did not contain measures against armed opposition groups.

Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said the draft had lacked balance.

"Some influential members of the international community unfortunately... have been undermining the opportunity for political settlement, calling for a regime change, pushing the oppositionists to power," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to have talks with Mr Assad in Damascus on Tuesday.

Beijing's ambassador to the UN, Li Baodong, said the resolution would have been counter-productive.

"China maintains that, under the current circumstances, to put undue emphasis on pressuring the Syrian government... or impose any solution will not help resolve the Syrian issue," he said.

Pro-Assad residents in the Syrian capital Damascus welcomed the Sino-Russian stance.

"I believe there are more important issues for the Security Council to take care of... such as the starvation in Somalia, and Gaza," one told BBC News.

"Isn't there anything else apart from us for the Security Council to deal with?"

'Hysterical campaign'

Early accounts of the casualties in Homs on Saturday talked of as many as 200 deaths, but one of the main activist groups later revised its confirmed toll down to 55.

Fighting in Homs has continued into the evening, the BBC's Paul Woods reports from a rooftop in a suburb of the city.

Our correspondent and his cameraman heard a lot of heavy machine-gun fire and unexplained explosions when they entered the city during the afternoon, travelling with activists who were carrying supplies of fresh blood to treat casualties.

Homs appeared to have come under a "pretty relentless" bombardment on Friday, our correspondent adds, and parts of the city which oppose the regime have been cut off.

Homs was one of the first cities to join anti-Assad protests, and became one of the focal points of dissent after government forces fired on crowds in April last year. Many army defectors have sought refuge in the city.

State media dismissed the Homs casualty reports as a "hysterical campaign of incitement" by armed gangs designed to influence the UN.

International media outlets are restricted in Syria, making it difficult to verify the claims of either side.

Tunisia moved to sever relations with the Assad government following the Homs violence.

Activists have been attacking Syrian embassies around the world in response to the violence in Homs.

Syria has been gripped by nationwide protests against Mr Assad's government for almost a year, in a struggle that has claimed at least 5,400 lives, according to the UN.

It's during times like this that it's interesting to see how different media perceive events in Syria. Russia Today for example has a different 'angle' on it, explaining the reasons for the veto where in the above it was brushed over.

Russia, China veto UN Security Council resolution on Syria — RT

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Russia and China have vetoed the latest UN Security Council resolution on the ongoing violence in Syria because it leaves out sanctions on the opposition alongside those on the Assad government, and leaves out Russian proposals.

Moscow says it had no other option but use its veto right, claiming the draft didn't realistically reflect the situation in Syria, and a result could have sent an unbalanced signal to all sides of the conflict.

“The Russian delegation was forced to vote against this draft resolution. We seriously regret this outcome of our joint work,” stated Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

Russia and China were the only voting members to oppose the draft. And as permanent members of the UNSC, they had the option to use veto power to block the draft's passage.

Beijing and Moscow have both taken issue with the draft's vague wording, which they say leaves the door open for possible international military intervention in Syria and creates a picture of the current situation that favors opposition forces over the Assad government.

American Ambassador Susan Rice told the Security Council following the vote that the US was “disgusted” at Russia and China’s decision to go against the resolution. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also warned that more blood would be shed in Syria if a resolution was not reached soon.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that resolution's Western co-sponsors had not included key proposals such as isolating the Syrian opposition from violent extremist groups or a call to arms for other states to use their influence to prevent such alliances

“Unfortunately, some of our colleagues choose to make rather bizarre interpretations of the Russian proposals,” the Russian UN Ambassador said.

Churkin said the Russian delegation has been accused of rewriting the Arab League texts adopted months ago in the Security Council.

“Indeed, they were adopted months ago and since that time the situation has evolved,” he said, pointing out that Syrian rebels used previous withdrawals of the Syrian troops to their benefit, occupying cities during cease-fires.

“There is no rule that the Security Council should repeat verbatim all resolutions adopted by the original organizations. They are neither Koran nor Bible, and we can express our own views on texts adopted month ago.”

Russia and China reminded others that it was not their place to intervene in another country's domestic affairs.

The news follows days of heated political debate in the UNSC, with many members supporting a Western-backed draft calling for foreign nations to put an end to what some called the “Syrian killing machine.” And in a statement to the UN, US President Barack Obama urged the international community to protect the Syrian people from “abhorrent brutality.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told an audience at the Munich Security Conference that there are too few demands being placed on Syria's armed opposition, and that the resolution could affect the outcome of political dialogue between the conflicting sides. Lavrov is set to visit the Syrian capital next Tuesday to conduct talks with President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Syria Tribune editor Ali Mohamad told RT that he doesn't believe the Western backers of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria "are working for the best interests of the Syrian people.”

Mohamad says “there was a very good chance this week to find a draft that could satisfy all sides – but it was not supported by Western countries.”

”The Arab league initiative, supported by the Security Council, wants to portray an image where the problem is between Assad and the Syrian people, but this is not the reality.”

Instead, Mohamad says, the problem lies between opposing parts of Syrian society – and has nothing to do with Assad's removal.

The vote came after the latest reports of government crackdowns on the western city of Homs on Friday in which an estimated 200 hundred people were killed, with eyewitness testimony of tanks and heavy artillery. The Syrian government denied involvement, dismissing the claims as an attempt to drum up international support for the draft resolution.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#2 6 years ago

Looks like another case of permanent security council members using their veto powers to protect their own interests and disregard the job the UN was created for.

At about the same time the resolution was vetoed Syrian forces attacked Homs and killed several hundred citizens.

It is time to reform the UN security council. Get rid of the veto power and give more states a permanent seat in the security council based on the nature of their government.




emonkies

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#3 6 years ago

I was waiting to see if anyone would post about this.

Syria has accused the activists of the killings and has said they are staged to make the Government look bad. Syria has gone so far as to accuse Israel and the Western Powers of being behind the unrest and the killings.

I think Russia is trying to find a peaceful solution that does not include regime change that may cost it its naval base in Syria and its multi million dollar weapons contracts.

I think we are all aware of the freighter with undeclared weapons that was detained IIRC in Cyprus and released after promising not to sail to Syria. Of course the ship sailed to Syria anyways.

Syria also just signed a $550 million dollar deal to buy 36 YaK-130 twin engine advanced trainers. This in itself isnt a problem til you figure in the COIN equipment and weapons sold with the trainers to turn them into light attack aircraft.

China is Syria's third largest importer and the western terminus of the new Silk Road.

US will never support UN Security Council veto change as it would endanger the US's support of Israel.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#4 6 years ago

Attacks on Homs have continued, it has been reported that Assad is using rocket artillery against the city.

Obama said that it was important to resolve the conflict without outside military intervention, which seems to be an euphemism for "we'll sit this one out".




Pethegreat VIP Member

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#5 6 years ago

I think Russia is trying to find a peaceful solution that does not include regime change that may cost it its naval base in Syria and its multi million dollar weapons contracts.

I think we are all aware of the freighter with undeclared weapons that was detained IIRC in Cyprus and released after promising not to sail to Syria. Of course the ship sailed to Syria anyways.

Syria also just signed a $550 million dollar deal to buy 36 YaK-130 twin engine advanced trainers. This in itself isnt a problem til you figure in the COIN equipment and weapons sold with the trainers to turn them into light attack aircraft.

China is Syria's third largest importer and the western terminus of the new Silk Road.

US will never support UN Security Council veto change as it would endanger the US's support of Israel.

I wish the US could make money propping up bad governments like Russia and China do. Instead we give our money to these bad governments.

Obama said that it was important to resolve the conflict without outside military intervention, which seems to be an euphemism for "we'll sit this one out".

As much as I want Assad to be gone, the US needs to sit this one out. Other nations can provide support to the rebel groups that are forming over there.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#6 6 years ago

When Russia offered its military bases to the West for use against Afghanistan, they got nothing out of it. I don't believe we even sent the terrorists from the camps they wanted liquidised to them. When the US coalition went to war with Iraq, without a security council resolution it was more costly than if they'd had more people on board and the price of oil went up, and Russia benefited.

Why would they align their interests with ours now? They've benefited from harming us, and we've not treated them as partners in the past.

The view of the West on security issues seems to be, "You'll take it however we give it, and you'll like it." I don't see that you can continue doing business on those terms with anyone - least of all another power.




Commissar MercZ

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#7 6 years ago

MrFancypants;5608179Attacks on Homs have continued, it has been reported that Assad is using rocket artillery against the city.

Obama said that it was important to resolve the conflict without outside military intervention, which seems to be an euphemism for "we'll sit this one out".[/QUOTE]

The same thing was said about Libya, IIRC. They were pretty stirgent at first that supporting the NTC would be enough, then later once NATO was brought in as 'civilian protection', the administration was adamant about 'no US boots on the ground'.

What they say in public might be different in reality. For sure the US (and others) are probably making connections with the Syrian National Council and the Free Syria Army.

[QUOTE=Nemmerle;5608279]

Why would they align their interests with ours now? They've benefited from harming us, and we've not treated them as partners in the past.

That's true. Russia and China both have their own interests that don't necessarily line up with the US and vice versa. US has its own share of strongmen it supports in a manner like the Russians and Chinese have been with Syria. Just depends on regional point sheet balance. Like Anhulasc said above with regards to the UN Sec Veto, any changes would harm its own use of the veto with Israel.

US has nevertheless been very displeased with it. Media here in particular has taken the news very strongly, with the 'undemocratic' nature of Russia and China highlighted against the liberal democracies of the west. US has decided to go ahead and suspend its embassy operations, pretty much cementing what had already been informally done.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#8 6 years ago

Nemmerle;5608279When Russia offered its military bases to the West for use against Afghanistan, they got nothing out of it. I don't believe we even sent the terrorists from the camps they wanted liquidised to them. When the US coalition went to war with Iraq, without a security council resolution it was more costly than if they'd had more people on board and the price of oil went up, and Russia benefited.

Why would they align their interests with ours now? They've benefited from harming us, and we've not treated them as partners in the past.

The view of the West on security issues seems to be, "You'll take it however we give it, and you'll like it." I don't see that you can continue doing business on those terms with anyone - least of all another power.[/QUOTE] There are some reasons why it would make sense for Russia to align its interests. Many NATO members also happen to be important trade parterns of Russia. Russia's economy is weak and depends to a large degree on the export of natural resources. The change in Russian political climate already contributed to a change in Germany's energy policy. Russia aligning its interests with China is a bit of a gamble: it is very unlikely that a constellation of democracies will declare war on you if you behave. But China is a single autocratic state with a large population bordering the least densely populated regions of Russia. China also has a very ambitious military buildup program, including a space program which is probably not about finding out whether there is life on Mars.

I don't think anyone expects Russia to suddenly care about the actions of Assad's regime, given how they have acted in the past few years. But why would we just let them continue on that path? If they want to play big power and antagonize the west then throw some stones in their way.

[QUOTE=Commissar MercZ;5608297]The same thing was said about Libya, IIRC. They were pretty stirgent at first that supporting the NTC would be enough, then later once NATO was brought in as 'civilian protection', the administration was adamant about 'no US boots on the ground'.

What they say in public might be different in reality. For sure the US (and others) are probably making connections with the Syrian National Council and the Free Syria Army.

Good point. I doubt that another western nation will take lead on this like France did with Libya. But a bit of covert support with money or weapons is not so unlikely.




emonkies

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#9 6 years ago

IMHO the Western powers will try to proxy through Middle East Allies such as Jordan and Turkey to put pressure on Syria.

There are rumors that Iran has sent some of their elite Republican Guard troops to help with the internal dissent. Seems Syrian Army is having large numbers of defections, most who seem to be fleeing to Turkey and Turkey from what I have read has allowed a large numbers of refugees in.

I have also read of incidents where Syrian forces fired into Turkey at fleeing refugees which Turkey was not at all happy with.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#10 6 years ago

MrFancypants;5608437There are some reasons why it would make sense for Russia to align its interests. Many NATO members also happen to be important trade parterns of Russia. Russia's economy is weak and depends to a large degree on the export of natural resources. The change in Russian political climate already contributed to a change in Germany's energy policy. Russia aligning its interests with China is a bit of a gamble: it is very unlikely that a constellation of democracies will declare war on you if you behave. But China is a single autocratic state with a large population bordering the least densely populated regions of Russia. China also has a very ambitious military buildup program, including a space program which is probably not about finding out whether there is life on Mars.

I don't think anyone expects Russia to suddenly care about the actions of Assad's regime, given how they have acted in the past few years. But why would we just let them continue on that path? If they want to play big power and antagonize the west then throw some stones in their way.

It's not practical for Russia to align their interests with the West. After the use of their military bases against Afghanistan, they asked when they'd be invited to join NATO. That was their price, that was the test to see whether they'd be treated as partners or not. And they were told, in no uncertain terms, that countries weren't invited to join NATO - they asked. The Russians' response basically boiled down to the idea that they didn't want to wait in line with a bunch of small countries that didn't really matter. Which is fair enough - if they're going to be treated like some little country why would they play ball?

Then America decided to unilaterally withdraw from the ABM treaty in order to pursue its new missile system.

China isn't a nice country - but they're trustworthy in a way that the West is not. There's a single unified government you can sit down and deal with. If you want to cooperate with the West, you have to cooperate with people who have, conflicting, interests. That is, after all, why the West does very little. China will stab you in the back the minute it's convenient for them - but at the very least you can make a reasonably well informed guess as to when it will be convenient to them.

So you share a border with them - big deal. What are they going to do? Invade? You've both got nukes.

#

Russia's economy today is vastly superior to its position at the turn of the century - when they couldn't even pay pensions or basic amenities. At the turn of the century they were bailed out, fairly regularly, by the oligarchs; who essentially owned the government. Since Putin pulled the oligarchs in, they're one of the few countries with a budget surplus - and they exercise a fair amount of power over the west through their energy exports. And even if the West ceases to do business with them, (which I don't see as practical for any country that doesn't embrace nuclear power,) it's not as if China won't buy.




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