Russia And China Say Not So Fast

by lizard

A resolution to address the violence in Syria has failed, vetoed by Russia and China. My twitter feed is buzzing with outrage. Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton are buzzing with outrage. Russia and China are now complicit in whatever violence follows, they say.

And without any sense of irony, Susan Rice called Russia’s opposition to the resolution a “cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people.” (ahem, Bahrain?!)

All week, there has been wrangling over the language of the resolution. This is a direct consequence of the US and its western allies exploiting the UN resolution to establish a no-fly zone in Libya for the real motive of imposing regime change. This from the link:

The resolution referred to “targeted measures” – instead of sanctions – if the clampdown in Syria continued.

But Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that draft was based on “the philosophy of confrontation”.

He said the threat of an ultimatum of sanctions against the Syrian authorities was “unacceptable” and that the approach went “against the principle of a peaceful settlement of a crisis on the basis of a full Syrian national dialogue”.

He repeated Moscow’s concerns that a resolution could lead to a Libyan-style foreign military intervention in Syria and said pressure should also be put on the Syrian opposition movement to refrain from violence and disassociate itself from “extremists”.

But Mr Churkin added that Moscow would like the Syrian regime to be “quicker with implementing the promised changes”.

China’s UN ambassador Li Baodong said that Beijing opposed the idea of “interference in (Syria’s) internal affairs.”

He added that “sanction or threat of sanction does not help resolve the question of Syria” but “may further complicate the situation”.

Do Russia and China give a shit about dead Syrians? Of course not. But neither does the US. This is geopolitics, and the US is getting its my-way-or-the-highway attitude rebuffed because of past deceits.

It’s also incredibly difficult to determine what’s actually happening on the ground in Syria. Initial reports of 200 dead from last night’s attack are already being revised.

And the opposition to the Assad regime is NOT comprised of relatively non-violent civilians occupying some square. It’s an armed insurrection comprised of military defectors, who call themselves the Free Syria Army. This piece looks at how, in recent months, the Free Syria Army have turned to guerilla tactics against the regular army.

After more than ten months of a deadly crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria, members of the Free Syrian Army – out-armed and out-numbered by Syrian military forces – are now engaging in a classic military manoeuvre by drawing their enemy into urban areas they know well. In neighbourhoods where the population is on their side, fighting in the streets works to their advantage, as they can easily hide inside homes.

Yeah, civilians are going to be getting killed in Syria, just like they’re getting killed across the Middle East. Sometimes, when it serves US interests, those deaths get amplified, and sometimes they get conveniently omitted.

10 years ago Syria was declared to be part of the Axis of Evil by the Bush regime. That hasn’t changed.

And here’s something else that hasn’t changed: Geopolitics is a deadly game played by the leaders of Nations, and civilians are just pawns. In death, civilian body counts can be used as leverage to pressure certain outcomes. That’s what I think is happening here with this UN posturing, and that is what I find to be truly disgusting.

  1. ladybug

    Geopolitics, and petro-politics, in spades.

    I really hate to bring this up, but…..
    the 750-mile, (Maximum discharge: 10.3 billion cubic metres) Arab (natural) Gas Pipeline runs south-north through Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey from Arish, passing through Aqaba, Amman, El Rehab, Deir Ali, Damascus, Baniyas, Aleppo to Homs, Tripoli, (Kilis). Commissioned in 2003, it includes partners like EGAS, ENPPI, PETROGET, GASCO and SPC. SPC is partially owned by China Petrolium Co., and Stroytransgaz, a Gazprom subsidiary, is a Russian engineering construction company specializing in oil and gas pipeline construction. They built the Homs-Tripoli leg of this giant natural gas network and are building the Turkey link. This highly controversial link (not sure if it was completed on schedule in 2011) to Turkey gives Syria (and Europe) access to Iranian and Egyptian supplies.

    Attacks on this pipeline have been steady for years, increasing to an explosion every few months in 2011.

  2. lizard19

    here’s an article that came out in December from Philip Giraldi:

    NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. Turkish sources suggest that intervention would start with creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border and then be expanded. Aleppo, Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, would be the crown jewel targeted by liberation forces.

    Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.

    CIA analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. The Agency has refused to sign off on the claims. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.

    In the United States, many friends of Israel are on the Assad regime-change bandwagon, believing that a weakened Syria, divided by civil war, will present no threat to Tel Aviv. But they should think again, as these developments have a way of turning on their head. The best organized and funded opposition political movement in Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood.

  3. lizard19

    also, the german blogger I follow, b, is always worth checking out. he’s talking about Libyan fighters dying in Syria, sourcing this tweet.

    in the comment thread, someone asked him about the possibility of blowback. this is b’s answer:

    Revolutionary situations, if it comes to that in Syria, are not controllable. Assad may well win (my guess) and be stronger after it. Other folks may win. Some we do not yet expect. Who knows how they will react towards Israel? The insurgency may “spill”. Jordan is especially in danger but so is Turkey. Turkey has some 3+ million Alewis – how will the react when the MB or Salafists threaten to take over Syria? What will they do if Assad calls on them for help?

    If Assad is really endangered Hizbullah will get involved. Those guys have shown that they know how to fight.

    The aim of Israel is a weakened Syria busy with itself. They may achieve the weakened part. The busy with itself will be an illusion. Anyone new who wants to rule Syria will need some national credit which will come from re-wining the Golan heights. Assad may go for that as may anyone else if he really gets kicked out.

    There are so many things that could get “wrong” with this that some of them are very likely to occur. None of them in Israel’s favor.

  4. “And the opposition to the Assad regime is NOT comprised of relatively non-violent civilians occupying some square.”

    Just because the opposition is armed doesn’t mean it is any less legitimate than the movements that occurred in Egypt or Tunisia. Sometimes, violence is a perfectly acceptable reaction.

    • lizard19

      what if foreign money and training are being used to fuel the opposition? what if foreign fighters from, let’s say, Libya, are being used to destabilize the Assad regime? would that effect the legitimacy of the opposition in your eyes, CFS?

      “Sometimes, violence is a perfectly acceptable reaction.”

      yeah, that’s what Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden said. also, the black bloc anarchists who are fucking shit up for OWS. they all think violence is a perfectly acceptable reaction to the violence of the state, and the state loves it, because it justifies even more violent crackdowns of domestic dissent.

      it should be pretty clear that violence leads to more violence, and the violence in Syria is escalating toward a civil war. any heavy-handed intervention by the west will only make things worse.

      • Carfreestupidity

        What if foreign money and training are being used to prop-up a repressive regime and arm them with the tools of violence and reppression? The Middle East is an incestuous construct of the Europeans, every country there meddles in the affairs of others and every political movement, revolution, govt has had outside support. No one “wins” power in the Middle East without support from outside powers. Not saying its right, but it’s reality.

        Are u suggesting that all acts of violence are completely unacceptable? Even in defense? No society survives without violence, just look at Tibet.

        • lizard19

          the propaganda we get, here in the states, hardly ever acknowledges how western meddling (or Israeli) is aimed at destabilizing regimes—and not to promote “democracy”, but western hegemony. Russia and China aren’t the only ones with bloody hands, imho.

          you, CFS, are much more informed than your average American; most folks don’t have the time, resources, or inclination to search out alternative points of view when it comes to foreign policy. even those who do are often reluctant to see the US as anything other than the shining city on the hill trying to spread our lovely system of “democracy” to those heathen nations.

          as to your other inquiry, no, I don’t see all acts of violence as completely unacceptable. but most acts of violence simply perpetuate more violence. I may sympathize with the tactics of the Earth Liberation Front, for example, but I also see how their targeted acts of destruction play into the hands of those who would brand them as terrorists, and some day in the not so distant future, blow them up with a predator drone strike.

          • Jack ruby

            The ELF is going to get blown up by predator drone strikes? Is this going to be done by Skynet or will the humans still be in charge?

            • lizard19

              you’re right, it’s pretty crazy to imagine US citizens getting killed without due process for being terrorists.

  5. Jack ruby

    Was our revolutionary war illegitimate because we received support from the French? Don’t forget what you’re celebrating on the fourth of July, that a bunch of rich slave owning aristocratic white men didn’t want to pay there taxes.

  6. jackruby

    Its not crazy but it is fallacious to claim that the case of Al Alawaki is going to lead to the ELF being vaporized by drones on US soil in the not so distant future. So yeah i guess it is a little crazy.

    • lizard19

      honestly Jack, if I had told you three years ago that Obama would be responsible for the targeted assassinations of 3 US citizens, you would have called me crazy too. well…

      • jackruby

        Nah…not if you would have referred strictly to examples of the type which actually happened. Ive never really been under any illusions about Obama and the nature of the national security state but the ELF example on US soil is a bridge too far. Now if we are talking about a running man gameshow thats a different matter.

  7. Jack ruby

    I haven’t read the novels, have seen total recal and bladerunner of course.

  8. Ingemar Johansson

    Some one should check Alfred Nobel’s grave site.

    See if he spun out of it.

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