Wednesday, 29 February 2012

China, Russia Slam West on Syria

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin slammed the West's "cynical" stance on Syria, staunchly defending Moscow's joint veto with China of two UN Security Council draft resolutions condemning Damascus for its deadly crackdown.

The Russian strongman accused the West of "lacking the patience to work out an adjusted and balanced" resolution that also required opposition forces to cease fire and withdraw from flashpoints such as the besieged central city of Homs.

"All that remained was to demand that the armed opposition do the same as the government -- namely, withdraw their fighting units and detachments from the cities," Putin wrote in the Moskovskiye Novosti daily.

"A refusal to do so was cynical." Beijing also attacked Clinton's criticism of its backing for Assad, with foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei saying China "cannot accept that at all," again criticising the international community for trying to "impose a so-called solution" on the Syrian people.

"China has been calling on the Syrian government and all parties in Syria to immediately and fully stop all acts of violence and launch a political dialogue process with no preconditions attached," Hong told a briefing.

The situation in Syria is developing. Moves toward a more open society will have to be reasonably gradual. The danger is that the country will descend into anarchy- like Iraq - and that many tens of thousands of people will be killed. This is more likely to happen if there is armed outside intervention from the Western powers. A full scale civil war, that intensifies internal divisions, is a real danger.

Already it appears some opposition forces are being supported militarily through the Turkish border. A political solution, one that protects the critics of Assad without risking the extermination of these peaceful opposition forces, must be attempted. Once things get out of control, the majority of people, who prefer non-violent outcomes, will become victims of the fighting.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, February 29th, 2012.]

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