Saturday, 2 June 2012


William Hague (the UK Foreign Secretary) has said that he is not ruling anything out in relation the situation in Syria - anything save any action to protect the Syrian people - that is. The whole situation reminds me in many ways of the early months of Bosnia in the 1990's - where the West made many pious pronouncements about Human rights, arms embargo's etc, yet did little. If you are the ones being shelled by the a government that has been stockpiling arms for the best part of forty years then Hague's words will bring scant comfort.

The UN and the Arab League are failing to halt the killing, the UN is stuck between a rock and a hard place, as both Russia and China will veto any moves to actually act to save lives. The days are gone when Russia and China will step back from supporting and protecting their somewhat bloodstained Allies at the UN.

How many more Houla style massacres will we see before anything is done? Back in February, the European Parliament backed a resolution calling on Russia to stop arms sales to Syria and allow the UN Security Council to take the lead in resolving the crisis and has actively condemned the "brutal massacre" in Houla , and repeated calls for the Syrian government to implement the UN peace plan. Yet still the bodies pile up.

In many ways it is entirely natural for the few remaining Communist dictatorships like Cuba and the Peoples Republic of China (itself a brutal repressive dictatorship) to side with the Syrian Government. Cuban repression is well documented and the PRC's behaviour towards dissidents and ethnic minorities (and the peoples of Tibet and East Turkestan to name but two) within its own border is a matter of record. China has other concerns and anxieties, spreading democracy definitely is not among them, and stability at any price may be a key factor here along with arms sales.

Yet Syria also has some fair weather friends who should know better, including Cuba, Venezuela, South Africa, Brazil and India (who have abstained on Syria related UN resolutions) who remain silent along with the old traditional ‘left’. There is some irony here in that some of the states supporting the Syrian dictatorship were themselves involved in liberation struggles, they might once had a degree of sympathy for the Syrian people who are laying down their lives for freedom and liberty or perhaps they are stuck in the vice like grip of the past or merely enjoying the trappings of power.

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