Vetoes leave Syria headed for a bloody stalemate
A picture of Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad sprayed with red paint lies next to a Russian flag about to be set on fire by protesters outside the Russian embassy in Beirut on February 5.
February 6th, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Vetoes leave Syria headed for a bloody stalemate

Editor's note: Randa Slim is a research fellow at the New America Foundation, a think tank that looks for innovative solutions along the ideological spectrum, and a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington. She has conducted research on the Syrian opposition and has been a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development Programme and other organizations. The views expressed in this article are her own.

By Randa Slim - Special to CNN

The double veto cast by Russia and China at the United Nations Security Council on Saturday represents a clarifying moment in the Syrian uprisings.

At the 2012 Munich Security Conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted, "We don't know what the endgame will be until we start the game." Well, fasten your seatbelt - the game over Syria has started.

The Syrian conflict is no longer just about a brutal dictator repressing peaceful protesters who are demanding what every Arab desires: dignity, freedom, and an opportunity at a decent life. The Syrian revolution is now the fault line in Middle Eastern politics, through which U.S.-Russian competition, the U.S.-Iran conflict, the Iran-Saudi regional rivalry, and the Shiite-Sunni ages-old conflict will play out.

Randa Slim

The double veto has dealt a heavy blow to the political endgame outlined by the Arab League proposal: an orderly transfer of power from the president to his deputy, formation of a unity transition cabinet to oversee the writing of a new constitution, and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections.

To start with, this endgame had a minimal chance of success. Giving up power peacefully is not an Assad family tradition. Both father, the late Hafez Assad, and son, Bashar al-Assad, have shown their willingness to use any violent means at their disposal to quell internal dissent. This was the case in Hama in 1982 when Hafez Assad sent his military, including warplanes, to crush an Islamist uprising, killing an estimated 10,000 people and razing one-third of the city buildings. In Homs, Hama, Idlib, Daraa, and numerous other Syrian cities, the son is now living up to his father's murderous legacy.

What the protesters and activists on the ground will take from the double veto is one lesson: Down with politics - this is a military fight, and it is ours to win.

Read on here.

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Topics: Syria

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    The uprising in Syria is indeed "the fault line in Middle Eastern politics" in which many proxies are involved: the U.S.,Russia, Iran and Saudi-Arabia. Bashar's brutality revives also the ancient conflict between the Sunni and Shia population in the Arab World. conflict, Had Ahmadinejad not said that Israel should be 'wiped off the map'. Israel could be an oasis in the region.

    February 6, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • AJAX

      "wipe Israel off the map" is a mistranslation. "Wipe off the map" is an American idiomatic expression that would not mean the same thing in Persian. Iran is not the only country with strained ties (or no ties) with Israel in the region either, so I disagree that the conflict between Israel and its neighbors could be summed up as statements made by Iranian leadership about Israel.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:16 am | Reply
  2. Reality

    It is only a matter of time. america is not gonna stand by while this happens. everyone hates america until we're needed. i'm sure america won't even get a thank you once we've helped the syrians rid the world of assad.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
  3. ram

    The root of the problem is simple. When China and Russia signed on to protect the people of Libya, the americans, with the assistance of their cronies, pushed the envelope to interpret protect the people means according to american interpretation..take out Khadaffy. This was not the intention of the two most respectable Security Council members and they found themselves helpless to stop the ass-licking Sarkosy from showing the former colony who is boss. This led to a great amount of mistrust between the 3+2..and that distrust is the result of China and Russia having to think logically and without giving the cat the job to be the watchman and protector of the milk. America and the west have abused the rest of the world and this is the result...but Russia and China can bring about peace. However, they will be sabotaged by the west and the world is taking note.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:03 am | Reply
  4. icons collection

    I apologise, but, in my opinion, you commit an error. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

    October 8, 2012 at 7:06 am | Reply

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