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Posts Tagged ‘Syria Crisis’

Russia, China Veto Syria Resolution From UN Security Council

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 20, 2012

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 (Reuters) – Russia and China vetoed  a U.N. Security Council resolution on Thursday that threatened  Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not halt violence  against an uprising, thwarting Western hopes for tough action as  the crisis in Syria escalates.

It was the third time that Russia, a key ally of the Syrian  government, and China have used their veto power to block U.N.  Security Council resolutions designed to put pressure on Syrian  President Bashar al-Assad and halt the violence in a 16-month  conflict that has killed thousands of people.

As efforts to forge a diplomatic solution appeared to  collapse, Syrian rebels clashed with forces loyal to Assad in  Damascus, a day after the killing of three close allies of the  president led to fresh warnings that the situation was spinning  out of control.

The vetoed resolution, which would have extended a U.N.  observer mission in Syria for 45 days, received 11 votes in  favor, while South Africa and Pakistan abstained.

International mediator Kofi Annan, who had sought a tough  resolution to save his disintegrating peace plan, voiced  disappointment, saying the council had failed “to take the  strong and concerted action he had urged and hoped for.”

Russia, which had proposed its own alternative resolution  without the sanctions threat, said it did not now plan to bring  that measure to a vote, leaving the future of the monitoring  mission hanging in the balance less than two days before its  U.N. mandate expires.

Britain proposed a resolution to extend the monitoring  mission for 30 days and hoped to put it to a vote on Thursday,  diplomats said, but it remained unclear how much backing this  new measure might win.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice,  described the twin vetoes as “dangerous and deplorable” and said  the Security Council had “failed utterly.”

“The United States has not, and will not, pin its policy on  an unarmed observer mission that is deployed in the midst of  such widespread violence and that cannot even count on the most  minimal support of this Security Council,” Rice said.

“Instead, we will intensify our work with a diverse range of  partners outside the Security Council to bring pressure to bear  on the Assad regime and to deliver assistance to those in need.”

The United States has been instrumental in forming the   “Friends of Syria” group, which includes a wide range of Western  and Arab countries, that has sought to increase pressure on  Damascus and encourage more unity among Syria’s fractured  opposition. Read the rest of this entry »

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SYRIAN DEFENSE MINISTER KILLED IN SUICIDE ATTACK

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 18, 2012

AP  |  By  Share on Google+

Dawoud Rajha

By BASSEM MROUE and ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press

BEIRUT — A suicide bomber struck the National Security building in the Syrian capital Wednesday, killing the defense minister and wounding the interior minister in a brazen attack on the seat of government power, state-run TV said.

Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, 65, a former army general, is the most senior government official to be killed in the Syrian civil war as rebels battle to oust President Bashar Assad. Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar was in stable condition, state-run TV said.

Although it was unclear who was behind the attack, the high-level assassination could signal a turning point in the 16-month conflict as the violence becomes increasingly chaotic.

The capital also has seen four straight days of clashes pitting government troops against rebels – an unprecedented challenge to government rule in the tightly controlled capital.

Rajha was the most senior Christian government official in Syria. Assad appointed him to the post last year. His death will resonate with Syria’s minority Christian population, who make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population and have generally stood by the regime.

Christians say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people, and they are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Muslim groups.

Wednesday’s attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. State-run TV said some of the officials were seriously wounded. Read the rest of this entry »

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Annan: Russia, West agree on transition government for Syria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 1, 2012

The Syrian crisis is to be resolved by a transition government consisting of the current authorities and opposition leaders. The proposal was announced by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan after talks in Geneva.

The unity government should be formed on the basis of “mutual consent” said Annan. The Syrian-led transition should take place within a fixed period of time and the envoy hopes this may happen by the end of the year.

Annan, announcing the official communiqué of the international meeting in Geneva, called on the Syrian regime and opposition groups to re-commit to a ceasefire and to start implementing his six-point peace plan immediately, without waiting for the other side.

The plan urges the sides in the Syrian conflict to cooperate with UN observers, allow humanitarian aid delivery, release detainees and grant journalists access to the country. The right to peaceful demonstrations must also be respected, stressed Annan.

Prior to the conference, Annan had proposed a plan for a unity government in Syria excluding political figures that would compromise the country’s stability and effectively calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow refused to back such a condition and also made sure the plan brokered in Geneva would not require Assad to step down.

Kofi Annan also said that foreign ministers who took part in the conference in Geneva would make up a regular working group on the Syrian crisis. A new round of Syria talks may take place in Moscow, suggest diplomatic sources.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012 (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012 (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud) Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria Crisis: UN Security Council Agrees On Statement Backing Annan Peace Plan

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 21, 2012

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The previously divided U.N. Security Council sent a strong and united message to the Syrian government and opposition on Wednesday to immediately implement proposals by international envoy Kofi Annan to end the yearlong bloodshed.

A nonbinding statement approved by the 15 council members and read at a formal meeting spells out Annan’s proposals which include a cease-fire first by the Syrian government, a daily two-hour halt to fighting to evacuate the injured and provide humanitarian aid, and inclusive Syrian-led political talks “to address the legitimate concerns of the Syrian people.”

In a bid to win support from Russia and China, which have twice vetoed European and U.S.-backed resolutions condemning President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on protesters, France watered down the statement to eliminate possible consideration of “further measures” which could include sanctions or military action. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria’s Armed Opposition No Threat To Regime, Says U.S., Which Plans To Provide Nonlethal Aid to Civilians

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 15, 2012

WASHINGTON — On the one-year anniversary of the uprisings in Syria, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the armed resistance is not able to mount a credible military threat to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. intelligence officials told The Huffington Post.

The powerful, Russian-armed Syrian army remains firmly in control behind the Assad regime, senior intelligence officials say.

That assessment underlies the Obama administration’s reluctance to become more actively involved in the uprising against Assad that began on March 15, 2011. After a year of sporadic and inconclusive violence against the regime, the White House has flatly ruled out providing arms to the opposition and instead is focusing on coordinating international pressure against the Assad regime and providing humanitarian relief.

The White House has authorized providing medical supplies and nonlethal equipment to civilian Syrian groups that would transport the supplies, according to a source close to the administration’s deliberations on Syria.

But the failure of the armed opposition to take advantage of defections from the Syrian armed forces or coordinate its actions into a meaningful security challenge of the regime appears to leave the United States and other critics of the regime without a long-term strategy for ousting Assad. By contrast, in Libya last year, a relatively well-organized and armed opposition eventually drew Western military support, and the country’s strongman, Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed last fall. Read the rest of this entry »

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John McCain Calls For U.S.-Led Airstrikes On Syria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 5, 2012

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday knocked the Obama administration for being too passive in its response to Syrian violence and called for U.S.-led airstrikes on President Bashar al-Assad’s military forces.

“The time has come for a new policy,” McCain said during remarks on the Senate floor. “The United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad’s forces. To be clear: This will require the United States to suppress enemy air defenses in at least part of the country.”

McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the goal of airstrikes should be to create safe havens in the country for opposition forces to plan their own political and military attacks against Assad. The benefit of the United States leading the military effort, he said, is that it would allow the U.S. to better empower Syrian groups that support U.S. interests to move toward a democratic transition.

“If we stand on the sidelines, others will try to pick winners, and this will not always be to our liking or in our interest,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria Crisis: Arab Nations Reportedly Consider Arming Opposition

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 14, 2012

By Erika Solomon and Angus MacSwan

BEIRUT Feb 14 (Reuters) – Government forces and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad clashed in cities and countryside across Syria on Tuesday and Arab officials confirmed that regional governments would be ready to arm the resistance if the bloodshed did not cease.

The western city of Homs, heart of the uprising against Assad’s 11-year-rule, suffered a bombardment of pro-opposition neighbourhoods for the 11th day running.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 20 people killed across Syria on Tuesday, including opposition supporters, civilians, and five government soldiers shot in clashes with rebel fighters in Qalaat al-Madyaq town in restive Hama area.

With Assad seemingly oblivious to international condemnation of his campaign to crush the revolt, Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia prepared for a new resolution at the United Nations in the next few days which would support a peace plan forged at a meeting in Cairo on Sunday.

But Arab League diplomats said that arming the opposition forces was now officially an option.

A resolution passed at the meeting urged Arabs to “provide all kinds of political and material support” to the opposition.

This would allow arms transfers, they confirmed to Reuters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria Crisis: Bombs Hit Security Headquarters In Aleppo

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 10, 2012

BEIRUT — Two explosions struck security compounds in Aleppo on Friday, killing 28 people, state media reported, the first significant violence in a major city that has largely stood by Syrian President Bashar Assad in the 11-month-old uprising against his rule.

The blasts come as escalating violence between regime forces and an increasingly militarized opposition has raised fears the conflict is spiraling toward civil war.

A Syrian offensive aimed at crushing rebels in the battered city of Homs continued Friday, with soldiers who have been bombarding the city for the past six days making their first ground move to seize one of the most restive neighborhoods.

State TV blamed “terrorists” for the blasts in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and said they were proof the government is facing a violent enemy. Anti-Assad activists accused the regime of setting off Friday’s blasts to discredit the opposition and avert protests that had been planned in the northern city on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Asma Assad, Wife Of Bashar Assad, Speaks Out

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 7, 2012

In a rare public statement, Bashar Assad’s wife has sent an email to the Times for publication. Her message is clear; the Syrian first lady stands firmly beside her husband as the country teeters toward the brink of civil war.

“The President is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the First Lady supports him in that role,” the email stated, according to AFP.

Asma Assad largely has remained quiet since the start of the protests in Syria in March 2011. Thestatement sent from her office reportedly said that“the First Lady’s very busy agenda is still focused on supporting the various charities she has long been involved with and rural development as well as supporting the President as needed.”

Asma Assad grew up in Acton, West London, theDaily Mail reports. She graduated from King’s College London and worked for Deutsche Bank as an analyst in hedge-fund management before marrying Bashar Assad in 2000.

Asma Assad’s family are Sunni Muslims from Homs, the city that has been heavily targeted by security forces in the past months.

Nesrine Malik, a commentator for The Guardian who calls Asma Assad “one of a breed of educated westernised Arab first wives” who “default unquestioningly to their fathers and husbands,” noted the poor timing of the first lady’s comments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria UN Resolution: Russia, China Veto UN Resolution

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 5, 2012


VETO system itself not good as it is making powerful countries unnecessar­ily more powerful like dictator:

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Russia and China joined forces in a double veto on Saturday to knock down a Western-Arab U.N. Security Council resolution backing an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.

The other 13 council members voted in favor of the resolution, which would have said that the council “fully supports” the Arab League plan aimed at ending 11 months of bloodshed as Syria has sought to crush an anti-Assad uprising.

Mohammed Loulichki, the U.N. ambassador of Morocco, the sole Arab member of the 15-nation council, voiced his “great regret and disappointment” that Moscow and Beijing struck down the resolution.

Dropping the usual diplomatic courtesies, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said she was “disgusted” by the Russian and Chinese veto, adding that “any further bloodshed that flows will be on their (Russia’s and China’s) hands.”

French Ambassador Gerard Araud told the council, “It is a sad day for this council, a sad day for all Syrians, and a sad day for democracy.” He said Moscow and Beijing were now “complicit in the policy of repression” of Damascus. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria Crisis: Russia Will Not Stop Arms Sales To Assad Regime

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 2, 2012

BEIRUT (AP) – Russia will not stop selling arms to Syria, a top defense official said Thursday, as Moscow stands by its longtime ally despite mounting international condemnation over the Syrian regime’s bloody crackdown on a 10-month-old uprising.

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said his country is not violating any international obligations by selling weapons to Damascus.

“As of today there are no restrictions on our delivery of weapons,” he told journalists in Russia, according to the country’s state news agencies. “We must fulfill our obligations and this is what we are doing.”

Moscow has been one of Syria’s most powerful allies -€” along with Iran – as Syria tries to crush the revolt against President Bashar Assad. The U.N. estimates that more than 5,400 people have been killed in the government crackdown.

Moscow’s stance is motivated in part by its strategic and defense ties, including weapons sales, with Syria. But Russia also rejects what it sees as a a world order dominated by the U.S. Last month, Russia reportedly signed a $550-million deal to sell combat jets to Syria.

U.N. ambassadors this week are trying to overcome Russia’s opposition to a draft resolution at the Security Council calling for Assad to surrender power. Moscow says it would veto the draft because it believes it opens the way for eventual international military action.

Wiam Wahhab, a pro-Syrian Lebanese politician, met Tuesday with Assad in Damascus. Read the rest of this entry »

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