Double veto from Russia, China sink Syrian sanctions
Syrian security forces continue their ruthless onslaught of unarmed civilians
Two opposing forces appear to be at work in the conflict: a government bent on crushing the uprising by force and an opposition that, if not increasing in numbers, appeared to be growing even more determined.
The veto is almost sure to encourage the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which carried out the assault on the city of Homs on the Security Council had planned to vote. The event also marked the anniversary of its crackdown in 1982 on another Syrian city, Hama, by Assad's father, Hafez, in which at least 10,000 people were killed in one of the bloodiest episodes in modern Arab history.
"It's quite clear - this is a license to do more of the same and worse," Peter Harling, an expert on Syria at the International Crisis Group says. "The regime will take it for granted that it can escalate further. We're entering a new phase that will be far more violent still than what we've seen now."
The Security Council voted 13 to 2 in favor of a resolution backing an Arab League peace plan for Syria. Passage of the resolution was blocked by Russia and China. They say it's a potential violation of Syria's sovereignty. The support of those countries has proved crucial in bolstering the Syrian government's confidence, despite an isolation far greater since the Assad family seized power more than four decades ago.
Predictions are bleak about what is ahead in a conflict that the United Nations says has claimed more than 5,000 lives. Two opposing forces appear to be at work in the conflict: a government bent on crushing the uprising by force and an opposition that, if not increasing in numbers, appeared to be growing even more determined.
"What more do we need to know to act decisively in the Security Council?" Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at a news conference in Munich. "To block this resolution is to bear responsibility for the horrors that are occurring on the ground in Syria."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov replied, "What's the end game?" Clinton replied: "The end game in the absence of us acting together as the international community, I fear, is civil war."
The attack in Homs, where Syrian opposition leaders said more than 200 people were killed, drew outrage from around the world and intensified pressure on the Security Council to act.
U.S. President Obama denounced "the Syrian government's unspeakable assault against the people of Homs," saying in a statement that Mr. Assad "has no right to lead Syria, and has lost all legitimacy with his people and the international community." He accused Syria of having "murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children."
The French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, said, "The massacre in Homs is a crime against humanity, and those responsible will have to answer for it."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, Homs, veto, China, Russia, sanctions
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