Pathetic excuses for inaction on Syria (NEW YORK POST OP-ED) AMIR TAHERI 06/09/12)
NEW YORK POST
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While Bashar al-Assad’s henchmen continue daily massacres, the debate
on Syria is being pushed onto three wrong trajectories.
The first is the assertion that Western democracies can’t move
against Assad because Russia and China block action with their vetoes
at the UN Security Council.
The second is the so-called peace plan named after former UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan. “We are all united in support of the
Annan plan,” President Obama asserts.
The third, and more recent, distraction consists of the “expert”
opinion that Western democracies have no interest to see Assad
brought down only to see him replaced by an even more brutal and anti-
West Islamist regime.
Yes, Russia and to a lesser extent China have played a devious hand
on Syria in the name of Realpolitik. In fact, I have little doubt
that, far from securing their national interests, Russia and China
will end up as losers over Syria.
That, however, is their business. What matters to us is that we
shouldn’t let the Russian/Chinese veto freeze us out of all action in
support of the Syrian people.
It’s just one factor in a complex situation. It means the United
Nations is unable to act as an organization;it doesn’t mean that UN
members are also denied the right to act, either individually or
through coalitions of the willing.
The history of the past six decades, since the UN was born, is full
of instances of individual members acting on their own to topple
regimes responsible for intolerable situations.
Vietnam intervened in Cambodia to end the Khmer Rouge’s reign of
terror; Tanzania sent its army to Uganda to topple Idi Amin and his
cannibalistic cabal. US intervention in Grenada stopped a terrorist
regime in its tracks; French intervention in Ivory Coast and British
intervention in Sierra Leone ended conflicts that had claimed
thousands of lives.
Coalitions of the willing, led by the United States, intervened to
end the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to enable Kosovo to become
independent and to change the regime in Serbia. And in 2003 a US-led
coalition liberated Iraq by overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
Russia and China have themselves intervened outside the UN framework.
Moscow had no qualms about ignoring the UN when it sent Soviet tanks
to crush popular uprisings in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Nor
when it invaded China and annexed large chunks of Chinese territory
along the Usuri River. More recently, Russia wasn’t bothered about
the Security Council when it invaded Georgia to annex South Ossetia
As for China, it didn’t think of the UN charter when it invaded India
to snatch away a large swath of Ladkah. More recently, China has
shown little concern for international law with a new aggressive
policy aimed at snatching atolls and islands that belong to its
The fake Russian-Chinese concern for international law shouldn’t be a
veto on a key aspect of US foreign policy. If America and its allies
conclude that they should act on Syria, they should do so regardless
of what Russia and China might say. (And if the US & Co. opt against
action, they shouldn’t blame the Russian/Chinese veto for their own
The Annan peace plan, of course, was doomed from the start. It was
built on the false assumption that the Assad regime, a rogue state
that for half a century had sponsored terrorism, wanted a peaceful
The claim that Western intervention could produce another Islamist
and anti-West regime is equally hard to sustain. There are Islamists
among the Syrian opposition. But should legitimate concerns about
Islamism persuade us to do nothing to stop Assad’s killing machine?
In any case, the most virulent Islamist forces opposed to America and
the West in general happen to be allies of Assad. They include the
Khomeinist regime in Tehran and its Hezbollah terror network in
The United States should take the lead in putting together a
coalition of the willing o help the Syrian people achieve regime
change. Syria can be saved. And it must. (Copyright 2012 NYP
Holdings, Inc. 06/09/12)
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