The UN, which had been considering a resolution that demanded Syrian President Bashar Assad resign, was watered down after Arab countries found that they couldn’t muster more than 100 votes in support of their resolution, which would indicate the resolution lacked strong support, as there are 193 members of the UN.
The clash in the UN pits countries which support the rebels, such as Saudi Arabia, which wrote the resolution, Egypt and Bahrain, against supporters of the Assad regime such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Algeria, Argentina and other Latin American countries.
The original draft requested harsher sanctions on the Syrian government, but that was elided from the resolution. The new draft no longer asks other nations to place sanctions on Syria.
Russia and China have repeatedly vetoed proposals harsh on Syria in the Security Council, and the current resolution noted that, “deploring the Security Council failure” to act. The resolution is an attempt to circumvent the Security Council. Even with the watered-down language, however, the resolution specifies that the Syrian army must stop its shelling and helicopter attacks and leave the battlefield. It also issues a warning to Assad, who has threatened to use chemical weapons, that he “refrain from using, or transferring to non-State actors, any chemical and biological weapons, or any related material.”
So, although the UN won’t force Assad out, it will cut his legs out from under him by threatening his army. Of course, with Russia and China blocking the way, the UN’s act will be, as usual, ineffectual.
But then, that’s what the UN is for.