On April 21, the Security
Council unanimously adopted a Russian/EU resolution. It calls for deploying
up to 300 unarmed military Syrian observers for three months.
Russia pushed hard for compromise language. An initial US urged EU draft
was one-sided. A provision Moscow rejected involved invoking Article
41 of the UN Charter. It states:
"The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use
of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and
it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures."
"These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations
and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of
communication, severance of diplomatic relations."
It's a short leap to Article 42, stating:
"Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in
Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may
take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to
maintain or restore international peace and security."
"Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations
by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations."
Explicit language is excluded, but implies war. Washington's itching
for another one.
Resolution 2043 isn't perfect. It falls short of full even-handedness.
Provision 2 "(c)alls upon the Syrian government to implement visibly
its commitments in their entirety, as it agreed to do in the Preliminary
Understanding and as stipulated in resolution 2042 (2012), to (a) cease
troop movements towards population centres, (b) cease all use of heavy
weapons in such centres, (c) complete pullback of military concentrations
in and around population centres, as well as to withdraw its troops
and heavy weapons from population centres to their barracks or temporary
deployment places to facilitate a sustained cessation of violence."
Omitted is Assad's obligation to protect civilians. No responsible leader
would leave them defenseless. Insurgent violence continues. He justifiably
vows to respond.
Provision 3 "(c)alls upon all parties in Syria, including the opposition,
immediately to cease all armed violence in all its forms."
Note the difference between provision 2 and 3 language. The former is
hardline and detailed. The latter seems almost an afterthought.
It excludes Turkey providing border area safe havens. Free Syrian Army
insurgents use them to stage cross-border attacks. They return to launch
new ones. Daily, the process repeats.
Provision 8 burdens Assad with full implementation responsibility.
It calls on him "to ensure the effective operation of UNSMIS by: facilitating
the expeditious and unhindered deployment of its personnel and capabilities
as required to fulfil its mandate; ensuring its full, unimpeded, and
immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfil its
mandate, underlining in this regard the need for the Syrian government
and the United Nations to agree rapidly on appropriate air transportation
assets for UNSMIS; allowing its unobstructed communications; and allowing
it to freely and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria
without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with
Provision 9 merely calls on "the parties to guarantee the safety of
UNSMIS personnel without prejudice to its freedom," but places "the
primary responsibility" on Assad.
He's committed to comply with all provisions, but can't control insurgent
behavior. Only Washington, key NATO partners, and regional allies can
do it. They could end violence today and provide no need for monitors.
They refuse because regime change plans depend on it. With or without
monitors, expect it to continue.
It makes Provision 14 more worrisome. Like SC Resolution 2042 authorizing
deployment of an advance military observer team, it mandates consideration
of unspecified "further steps as appropriate." Doing so could provide
wiggle room for war.
Therein lies the problem. On April 19, the Christian Science Monitor
headlined, "Leon Panetta: US military planning for greater role in Syria
In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, he said Pentagon
officials are "reviewing and planning for a range of additional measures
that may be necessary to protect the Syrian people."
Libya's model is considered a potential intervention template. He suggested
employing similar steps in Syria. More must be done, he stressed. "Make
no mistake," he added. (O)ne way or another, this regime ultimately
will meet its end."
Syrian National Council (SNC) and Free Syrian Army members openly urge
Western intervention. On April 21, an SNC statement said:
"We call anew on the U.N. Security Council to act with all urgency to
intervene militarily to bring an end to the crimes committed by the
bloody regime against the unarmed Syrian people."
On April 19, Free Syrian Army leaders urged military intervention with
or without UN authorization.
On April 20, Today's Zaman headlined, "Clinton urges tougher UN pressure
on Syria," saying:
Among other steps, she called for implementing UN Charter's Chapter
7: "Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace,
and Acts of Aggression."
Specifically, she wants tougher sanctions, an arms embargo, and other
unspecified measures on Assad. She stopped short of endorsing military
intervention, but suggested it, saying:
"We have to keep Assad off balance by leaving (all) options on the table."
Secretary-General Ban K-moon implied support, saying:
"Despite the government's agreement to cease all violence, we still
see deeply troubling evidence that it continues. The past few days,
in particular, have brought reports of renewed and escalating violence,
including the shelling of civilian areas, grave abuses by government
forces and attacks by armed groups."
Assad gets blamed for insurgency violence. It continues daily. Monitors
won't change things. Of concern is who'll choose them? Will they be
independent or mostly pro-Western? Will their reports be even-handed
or what Washington wants to hear?
Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himmische heads them. Morocco's part of the Arab
League anti-Assad coalition. Its monarchy replicates Bahrain's. King
Mohammed VI likely endorsed Himmische's appointment. How much say he
has over other monitors remains to be seen, but his voice will be loudest.
Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi headed the December/February
observer team until Arab League officials suspended operations. Al-Dabi's
candor caused the pullout. He contested a Western-generated insurgency.
His assessments weren't what Washington wanted to hear.
Himmische likely assures no repeat. Monitors may be compromised before
arriving. One-sided reports may follow.
Pressure will increase for tougher measures. Expect Western intervention
to follow with or without UN authorization. Pretexts are easy to arrange.
Any number of scenarios are possible. Invoking NATO Charter Articles
4 or 5 are possible.
Article 4 calls for members to "consult together whenever, in the opinion
of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or
security of any" is threatened.
Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one
or more members, an attack against all, and calls for collective self-defense.
Turkey threatened to invoke it. Hillary Clinton suggested Article 4.
War draws closer. Monitors may be an intermediary step. Washington and
key ally plans may be in place.
Whether Russia and/or China contest remains unknown. They have vital
reasons for doing so. The worst ahead is possible. As developments unfold,
future articles will asses them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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