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5-Feb-12 World View: Bitter Recriminations Follow Russia/China Veto of Syria Resolution

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Hundreds of thousands in Moscow in pro- and anti-Putin rallies
  • U.S. accepts all of Taliban’s six pre-conditions for talks
  • Russia and China veto Arab League resolution on Syria
  • Bitter recriminations follow Russia/China veto of Syria resolution
  • France plans ‘Friends of Syria’ group
  • Iraq’s currency trade flourishes, supplying dollars to Iran and Syria

Hundreds of thousands in Moscow in pro- and anti-Putin rallies


Anti-Putin march in Moscow on Saturday
Anti-Putin march in Moscow on Saturday

It’s now widely believed by observers that December’s elections for the lower house of Russia’s parliament were highly fraudulent, and even so provided just a bare victory for Vladimir Putin’s party. The result has been something new — rising anti-Putin protests. Tens of thousands of protesters took part in an anti-Putin march on Saturday, yelling “Russia without Putin!” and “Putin is a thief!” At the other end of Moscow was another large rally, this one in favor of Putin, urging an end to “the Orange Revolution” a reference to the uprisings that saw regime change in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia almost a decade ago. One Putin supporter said, “We say no to the destruction of Russia! Let’s take out the Orange trash!” Ria Nostovi

U.S. accepts all of Taliban’s six pre-conditions for talks

Anxious for a peace deal that allows the withdrawal of American troops, the U.S. has agreed to six Taliban pre-conditions for the talks: The conditions are: (1) The talks would not be held in any neighboring country of Afghanistan; (2) the talks will not be held in any country allied with Nato; (3) the talks will be held in the country that has not been hostile to Taliban during the last 10 years; (4) no ceasefire will be demanded before, during or after the talks; (5) Taliban will not accept any condition contrary to Sharia; (6) whenever desired, the Taliban will disassociate from the talks. Qatar was chosen for the talks because it met that Taliban’s pre-conditions. Taliban sources say that the agenda of their talks with the US comprised three points: (1) Five important Taliban held at Guantanamo may be released and a swap may be held between the prisoners of allies and Taliban. (2) There shall be no ceasefire, and (3) All allied forces shall leave Afghanistan. The News (Pakistan)

Russia and China veto Arab League resolution on Syria


U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in U.N. Security Council on Saturday (Reuters)
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in U.N. Security Council on Saturday (Reuters)

The past 24 hours have been one of the bloodiest of Syria’s war, with government forces launching massive artillery barrages on unarmed civilians and their homes, killing hundreds in one day. That was the backdrop against which thirteen of the fifteen members of the U.N. Security Council voted in favor of the Arab League sponsored resolution calling for Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad to resign. However, the resolution failed because of vetoes by Russia and China. CS Monitor

Bitter recriminations follow Russia/China veto of Syria resolution

U.N. Security Council members used strong language following Russia’s and China’s veto of the U.N. Security Council resolution of the Arab League sponsored resolution on Syria:

  • U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice: “The United States is disgusted that a couple of members of this council continue to prevent us from fulfilling our sole purpose here — addressing an ever-deepening crisis in Syria and a growing threat to regional peace and security. … This intransigence is even more shameful when you consider that at least one of these members continues to deliver weapons to ( Syrian President Bashar al-Assad).”
  • British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant: “The United Kingdom is appalled by the decision of Russia and China to veto an otherwise consensus resolution. … Those who blocked council action today must ask themselves how many more deaths they will be prepared to tolerate.”
  • Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin: “Some influential members of the international community, unfortunately — including those sitting around this table — from the very beginning of the Syrian process have been undermining the opportunity for political settlement, calling for regime change, pushing the opposition toward power, and not stopping at provocation and feeding on methods of struggle.”
  • French Ambassador Gerard Araud: “History will judge harshly those who have prevented the council from lending support to the efforts of the Arab League in order to carry out its plan. In so doing it, they have without scruple aligned themselves with a regime which is massacring its people.”
  • Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong: “China maintains that under the current circumstances, to put undue pressure on the Syria government will not help resolve the Syrian issue.”

CNN

France plans ‘Friends of Syria’ group

The regime of Bashar al-Assad almost appeared to be mocking the Security Council deliberations by substantially escalating the bloody slaughter of unarmed civilians, apparently full of confidence that no body count was so great that it would prevent Russia and China from vetoing the resolution. Ironically, Russia’s veto of the weakened resolution may backfire, since it violates the “Kick the Can Theory” that I proposed last year, that says that all decisions should kick the can down the road. The resolution has been so weakened during negotiations that it meant nothing, and Russia could have kicked the can down the road by abstaining. Now that it’s been vetoed, it’s far more likely that the West will join the Arab League in taking some kind of unilateral action. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday after the U.N. vote:

“France is not giving up. It is consulting with its Arab and European partners to create a ‘Friends of the Syrian People Group’ with the goal of giving international support to implement the Arab League transition plan.”

The nature of the Arab League “transition plan” remains to be seen, but it seems certain that it will go farther than the weakened resolution would have allowed. Reuters

Iraq’s currency trade flourishes, supplying dollars to Iran and Syria

Western economic sanctions on Syria and Iran are causing sharp currency devaluations for Iran’s rials and Syria’s pounds. Dollars are still heavily used in Iraq, and Iraq’s money changing shops are emerging as an important source of dollars for both Syria and Iran, as importers and travelers become desperate to obtain hard currency. However, some money changers are refusing to accept rials or pounds, for fear of being saddled with large amounts of the currencies just before fresh devaluations. Reuters

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