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)
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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
But Russia bristles that Assad might wind up in a cage, like Egypt’s
fallen dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Russia has commercial and political interests to protect through
inaction while ungodly slaughter unfolds.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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