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Assad escapes for now
For the Assad government, it is a major reprieve, but time may run out

The Syrian Uprising, which was instigated by a paradigm shift in the classical pro-regime slogan from “God, Syria, Bashar, that is enough” to “God, Syria, Freedom, that is enough” in March 2011, has come at a colossal cost to the Syrian government. It has also divided the world into two poles. Polarised opposition by the BRICS nations with regard to UNSC’s resolution threatening military action & sanctions against Syria has spurred a fierce war of words.

When on March 17, 2011, the UNSC authorised the use of armed forces to protect Libyan civilians from violence initiated by their own government, that was a first in UNSC’s history. Subsequently, BRICS nations criticised the West for allowing NATO’s bombing campaign in Libya. Recently, France with the co-operation of Britain, Germany and Portugal drafted a similar resolution denouncing Syria’s crackdown (on anti-government protests), which the UN claims has killed more than 2700 people in the past few months. The resolution got nine supporting votes, but four countries – India, Brazil, Lebanon & South Africa – abstained while Russia and China vetoed the move as they want to protect Syria from a Libya-style intervention. That the Bashar al-Assad led Syrian government is non-democratic is not debated. What is being debated is the suspect intent of America and the Western world in targeting Syria rather than, say, Saudi Arabia, which has as bad a system of ruling autocracy.

Russia, in turn, has warned Assad of a “sad fate” unless he negotiates with the rebels and initiates reforms. Although Russia is hardly a country respectable enough in its own systems to issue advice, they do have a point. Assad may have escaped a UNSC sanction currently. But he has to necessarily take into account the growing concerns over human rights’ abuse by his personal armies. Well timed economic reforms can quieten even the most vitriolic opposition – Putin is the best example for that.


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