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While Syrian dictator Bashar Assad kills his people, the U.S. is reduced to asking Russia for help (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL) 05/30/12) Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/syrian-dictator-bashar-assad-kills-people-u-s-reduced-russia-article-1.1086344
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While Syrian children are being buried in mass graves, some of them alongside their mothers and fathers, the United States is gently coaxing Russia to help remove its close friend and ally Bashar Assad from power.
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But Russia bristles that Assad might wind up in a cage, like Egypt’s fallen dictator Hosni Mubarak.
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Russia has commercial and political interests to protect through inaction while ungodly slaughter unfolds.
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Over the weekend came reports that in the town of Houla, some 108 people, almost half of them boys and girls, were mowed down. Entire families were killed in their homes.
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A small number were done in by army ammunition; most, it seems, were systematically stabbed or shot at close range, almost surely by pro- Assad militias. (Reports are spotty from a country that has essentially banished reporters.)
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The massacre elevated the brutality of Assad’s war on his own people to a grotesque level and thrust the bloodshed before the world’s conscience. In an orgy of empty symbolism, Western nations responded with the entirely ineffectual step of ejecting Syrian diplomats.
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So what?
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Before news of the massacre, Tuesday was to be the day when a six- point ceasefire plan developed by UN special envoy Kofi Annan — already an international joke — might get back on track.
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So there stood Annan, pleading for “bold steps now — not tomorrow, now — to create momentum for the implementation of the plan.” His plan, it is now clear, is the equivalent of kindly asking a crocodile to loosen its jaw.
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The Syrian dictator responds not to the UN or to what Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg brilliantly characterized as a “brutal blast of adverbs” from the Obama administration.
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Assad, if he will listen to anyone, might listen to Russia — to President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. They have made clear to President Obama that they are committed to going easy on the head of their client state.
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And so Obama, a man with supposedly legendary skills of persuasion, is relegated, according to The New York Times, to lobbying Putin and Medvedev to pressure Assad into surrendering power in the way that the former president of Yemen left office to end strife.
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The strategy even has its own name: the Yemenskii Variant. According to The Times, Obama hopes to discuss it with Putin in person, oh, well, next month. What’s the rush? (© Copyright 2012 NYDailyNews.com. 05/30/12)
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