Sunday, July 22, 2012

US's Hypocritical Annoyance with Russia over Syria

Rami Khouri writes at The Daily Star about the increasingly evident inexorability of Assad's demise in Syria.  Whether Syria can survive as a unitary state in the wake of that demise is, of course, a different matter altogether.  Katie Paul at Foreign Affairs has written of the coastal region around Tartus as a possible Alawite refuge;  but Josh Landis at his Syria Comment blog is of the view that a separate Alawi state carved out of Syria is not in the offing.  Meanwhile, Roula Khalaf at Financial Times notes the growing regional concern about the fallout from Syria's fall-apart.

But I'm especially struck by Khouri's harpooning of the US for its hypocrisy in the UN Security Council as regards Russia's veto of UN action against Assad:

Everything going on at the U.N. Security Council is now irrelevant, and has been for about a month, for the center of gravity of this political struggle shifted some time ago to military developments inside Syria. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s protestations against the Russian and Chinese vetoes of resolutions to pressure Syria are pathetic gibberish, given the much worse track record of the United States in vetoing resolutions that seek to force Israel to comply with international law and morality. The U.S. and Russia at the U.N. are acting like children, with their self-serving hypocrisy and selfishness. We just have to accept that the Security Council does not function when the superpowers shift into infantile mode, and talk nonsense. We should keep our gaze instead on more important things, like developments inside Syria.


This leads me to conclude that the bigger story that links Syria with the other Arab uprisings and recent Middle Eastern developments is that the will and actions of indigenous Arabs, Iranians and Turks will always have a greater impact than anything done by powers abroad. The striking inability of the Americans, Russians and their assorted allies to shape events in Syria follow similar serial failures in recent decades in their attempts to promote Arab-Israeli peace, democratic transformations, economic trajectories or other such strategic issues.


Only when local people across the Middle East took matters into their own hands did conditions change, and history resume. The sentiments of ordinary people such as those in Bab al-Hawa, Midan, Deir al-Zor and Deraa are far more significant that the pronouncements of the world’s powers. The sooner we learn this lesson, the better off we will all be.


The colonial era may finally be drawing to a close.


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