Monday, February 06, 2012



On the 31 January 2012 the 6710th meeting of the UN Security Council considered the report of the Arab League’s fact-finding mission into the crisis in Syria (UN Doc. S/2012/71). In introducing the report Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and Chairman of the current session of the Arab League Council stated categorically that,

“The Syrian regime is promoting the idea of a hidden agenda harboured by certain States against it. That idea is untrue and belies the position of the international community concerning the events in Syria resulting from the Government’s policy. Many thousands of people have died and many detainees languish in prisons. The Government killing machine continues effectively unabated.”

In response, in condemning the Arab League’s submission of a report on a fellow member (albeit suspended since 12 November 2011) of the League to the Security Council, a body which in his opinion has ‘imposed hundreds of vetoes against Arab causes” the Syrian Arab Republic’s ambassador Mr Ja’afari stated,

“The Syrian people, who gave the world its first alphabet, are more familiar with the scent of jasmine than with the smell of blood in Damascus.”

In Damascus yes, but perhaps not in Homs!

Earlier this year the UN Security Council, in a Statement issued by the President on the 19 January 2012 (UN Doc.S/PRST/2012/1) reiterated its call,

“on all parties to armed conflict to comply with the obligations applicable to them under international humanitarian law and to take all required steps to protect civilians and recalls in this regard Resolution 1894”

In pursuit of this objective, where Syria was concerned, a resolution formulated by Morocco to urgently address the escalating crisis was vetoed by both Russia and China at the Security Council meeting on the 4 February 2012.

The Russian Federation ambassador VITALY CHURKIN said that, the bloodshed and violence in Syria must be ended immediately, adding that his country was taking direct action and planned to hold a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad on 7 February. While the Russian Federation was committed to finding a solution to the crisis, some influential members of the international community had been undermining the possibility of a peaceful settlement by advocating a change of regime. The draft resolution voted down today sought to send an “unbalanced” message to Syria, he said, adding that it did not accurately reflect the situation there. No proposal had been made to end attacks by armed groups, or their association with extremists, he said, adding that his delegation had, therefore, voted against the text.

This vacillation by Russia has only served to accelerate the Syrian regime’s ‘killing machine’ determination to eradicate all pockets of resistance in Homs. By the time of the meeting with the Russians many hundreds, maybe thousands will have been sacrificed so that Damascus can come up smelling of Jasmine.

China’s representative LI BAODONG at the meeting of the 4 February also called for an immediate end to all violence in Syria and asked for the respect of the Syrian people for a reform process that was in their own interest. China supported the Arab League’s “good office” efforts to restore stability in Syria, he said, adding that the international community should provide “constructive assistance” to achieve that goal. However, the country’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected, he emphasized but that China would continue to work with the international community towards an appropriate end to the crisis.

What the hell does an ‘appropriate end' mean in Chinese terms?

An 'Appropriate End' in China!

(A Note on the first picture above: Outside in the car-park on the day I took this picture in the lobby of a hotel in Damascus the rally cars of the al-Thani team from Qatar were being readied for the Syrian Rally.)

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