General Assembly Condemns Syria as Regime Bombards Homs Again

The world condemned the Syria regime’s brutal crackdown on its own people at the UN General Assembly on Thursday. What would be the response of the ruling Baath Party? We didn’t have to wait long to find out.

On Friday morning, the Syrian armed forces subjected Baba Amr in Homs to one of the fiercest bombardments yet in the 14-day-old regime attempt to take back control of the rebellious city. Some observers allege that at the same time the regime’s hold on the north of the country has weakened. Revolutionaries appear also to have taken control of much of the city of Idlib.

At the UN, the Arab League presented a Saudi Arabian-crafted statement on Syria to the General Assembly. It condemned the state’s crackdown, which has cost thousands of civilian lives Of 193 nations, 137 voted in favor the resolution condemning the ruling Baath regime. Only 12 opposed, including Russia, China, Iran and Latin American friends of Iran, including Venezuela and Ecuador. (Venezuela is pledged to deliver oil to Syria at a time that it is facing economic sanctions and boycotts in other quarters.). The rest of the nations were absent or abstained.

The General Assembly vote was pursued by the Arab League out of knowledge that Russia and China would veto any strong censure at the level of the Security Council, as happened recently. Russia and China have trade interests in Baathist Syria, and also dislike the very idea of outside interference when putting down a popular revolt.

Unfortunately, the UNGA vote has no direct legal consequences. Unlike the UNSC, it cannot authorize the use of forces. It cannot refer cases to the International Criminal Court. The vote is symbolic more than anything else, and the Syrian opposition used it to advantage in video made after the resolution.

The world body’s vote came a day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pledged a February 26 vote in a referendum on a new constitution that would end Syria’s one-party state. Much of the opposition has decided to boycott the polls, believing that the whole thing is a stunt.

Aljazeera English reports:

Meanwhile, on Thursday Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Anthony Shadid died in Syria of an asthma attack. He had sneaked in from Lebanon to find out more about the military wing of the opposition. Lebanese-American Shadid made his mark with his belief in the dignity of the Arab citizen, his searching and humane intelligence, and his knowledge of Arabic, gained initially as a student in university Arabic classes. He set a high bar indeed for younger journalists who will come after him.

15 Responses

  1. Losing Mr. Shadid at such a young age is a great loss for all of us who care about the Middle East. He must have suffered an awful death.

  2. And now we’re being told that maybe the whole Syria-Lebanon “neighborhood” might be headed for an India-Pakistan-Bangladeshish dissolution, along religious-identity lines.

    Well, the stage is certainly set, all those weapons having been introduced, for fun and profit, all those politicians and entrepreneurs playing on the fault lines of faith.

    And per our US security spokespersons, we are being “informed” that various of the provocational attacks and incidents have an “al Quaeda-in-Iraqish” flavor to them.

    Any speculation, other than the kind that’s going on in oil pricing and other commodity-necessities, on where this is headed? Any anodyne(s) for the human condition, as expressed in all that futility?

    • And per our US security spokespersons, we are being “informed” that various of the provocational attacks and incidents have an “al Quaeda-in-Iraqish” flavor to them.

      Professor Cole has written about his himself. Tell me, is he one of these “US security spokespersons” you mention?

      Here’s a crazy thought: maybe, rather than being “informed,” you’re actually being informed.

    • I find you pessimism and Chomkyite conspiracy theories out of touch with reality. Yes, American foreign policy made some big mistakes….Iran with Mossadegh, Vietnam, Chile with Allende. However you overlook all the improvements that have occurred in the post-World War II world under American influend.
      Start with the Marshall Plan, which put Western Europe on its feet, including France which is most certainly NOT an American puppet or client state.
      Then go to the fall of the right-wing, anti-Communist dictatorships in Greece, Spain and Portugal in the 1970’s. According to the Chomskyite conspiracy theory, the US should have done everything to prevent those pro-American regimes from falling.
      Next we go to Latin America in the 1980’s. Most of the countries there started the decade as right-wing military dictatorships. By the end of the decade IIRC everyone of those regimes had been replaced by civilian, more-or-less democratic regimes…and all this in America’s “back yard” as defined by the Monroe Doctrine. Today there are gov’ts not friendly to the US in power in Venezuela and Bolivia.
      In the 1990’s we see the PEACEFUL fall of the Soviet bloc and the introduction of democracy to most of the countries there. This came after decades of NATO remaining on the guard, maintaining the peace, under American political and military leadership.
      The world is a better place than it was 50 years ago, democracy is more established than ever and there is less tolerance for massive violations of human rights, although they do continue. Sure it is not perfect, but no human construction is…but mankind can and must keep working to make things better, one step at a time.
      Do you really think the anarchistic world you seem to advocate would be more peaceful? If there isn’t going to a Pax Americana, what will there be? Who would deal with international troublemakers (and there will always be the danger of new ones arising)?.

      • Fella, it sure seems to me like “the US” is one of those international troublemakers you are worried about.

        I don’t read Chomsky, or Trotsky either. It just seems to me that following what might, MIGHT, by the indications from the Prague Spring to the Arab Spring to the Occupy Whateveritis, a chance of developing a new set of organizing principles, a new maybe “spiritual” basis for inter-human relations, maybe even a recognition of the evils of consumergreed and the damage “we all” are doing to the planet. Even birds know better than to crap in their own nests and eat their own young.

        But we humans seek our own pleasure and power, aided by the wonders of ratiocination and rationalization, and because we all have a relatively short “use-by” time here, and are mostly pretty sure there are no consequences for what millenia of ethical thinking and bits of our current spiritual guidance say are Bad Acts, we may collectively be too stupid to avoid, eschew, undo, unwind, back out, recant, and/or rectify all the crap we, hiding behind lofty words and the Shield of Shibboleth, are doing to basically please our little selves at the expense of others. Who we can “do unto” because we can conveniently take advantage of those nasty bits of our limbic system’s wiring that lets us do anything we care to, to anyone we define as “the enemy.” Or because we can claim that “Big Brother Knows Best, and it takes Rough Men to ‘protect us’ from The Enemy’s Rough Men, with whom our Rough Men have a tacit compact to protect and continue their roles and turf.”

        I have no use for anarchy, friend. One word: Leviathan. We need institutions and structure. It’s the evil that comes from what the sneaky, grasping, Machiavellian worst of us do via those unfortunate needs for structure and a “ruleoflaw” and the myth of “democracy” and the things that even old Hammurabi wrote a complex code to address, that I have a bone to pick with.

        I would respectfully offer that from what I see and have experienced, every point you claim to exist as proof of this being a better, more “democratic” world, over the last 50 years, is smoke and BS. Comforting, maybe, but not the realities. And any improvements there are are no thanks to “our” sending in troops and jackals to make the world safe for extractive, consumptive, externality-shedding capitalism.

  3. “Well, the stage is certainly set, all those weapons having been introduced, for fun and profit, all those politicians and entrepreneurs playing on the fault lines of faith.”

    You do mean all those weapons introduced into Syria by the Russians and those given to Hezbollah, courtesy of Syria on behalf of Iran, don’t you? Neither was done for “fun and profit.” Rather, both were done in order to maintain clients and for perceived geopolitical advantage.

    • Picky, picky.

      You indicate that you were a Player at some point. My beef is with all the Players, on all the sides, American, RussoSoviet, and Israeli and Chinese and French and British and on and on, who have sloshed weapons into places where people with guns find reasons to kill one another, in an endless cycle of revenge. Sloshing done for, yes, fun, and I should have added, often grim smugness at being able to orchestrate or pretend to “control” the stuff that leads to all that death and dysfunction, and for the egotism of implementing Grand Policy, and yes, even the Russian and Chinese arms manufacturers and intermediaries made a profit somewhere along the way, I know the nominal “US” ones do. And keeping the pot oscillating between simmer and boil, and hopefully just short of meltdown, is “profitable” for all the various “interests,” from petro-exploration to Cabbage Patch Kids to you-name-it.

      The Game is sick, and it’s killing us — not that we seem to be able to walk away from the table. Morally indefensible in its large form, despite a lot of self-delusion piled on top of casuistry and cynicism that I bet any Player is intimately familiar with.

      I know, I’m just a dilettante, and “if only I knew what you and the boys knew,” I would be eternally grateful that “we” supported Jonas Savimbi, and the Contras, and any number of other “clients,” for “perceived geopolitical advantage,” and Russia supported Cuba and its clients. Et cetera.

      “Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
      And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
      And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,
      While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.”

      Got any complaints about the accuracy and completeness of the rest of my rough little sketch? Whole volumes have been written, exposing, fecklessly, the same thing…

      • My beef is with all the Players, on all the sides, American, RussoSoviet, and Israeli and Chinese and French and British and on and on, who have sloshed weapons into places where people with guns find reasons to kill one another, in an endless cycle of revenge.

        You just can’t bring yourself to say, it can you?

        Iran.

        Iran.

        C’mon, I dare you. Iran.

        • Okay, I’ll say “Iran” if you will say “Kermit Roosevelt-Wild Bill Donovan.” I’ll even go first: “Iran.” And add “et cetera.” For completeness and accuracy.

    • Since USA has the biggest Military Industrial complex, it is the biggest supplier of Arms & ammunition to the different factions around the globe, & so is our poodle friend UK & do not forget sometime our Boss “Israel”, too.

      During Iran Contra Affair, Israel used to supply arms to Iran. And, now Israel is trying to convince US congress & the president that, “Iran is the existential threat to Israel”. Regan used to supply arms to Iran, & his friend Sadam Hussain. If you remember the friendly handshake between Rumsfeld & Sadam Hussain with all the diplomatic smiles.

      Not just US government supports various factions, terrorist organizations & dictators like Jonas Sivimbe of Angola, Mobutu Sisi Seku of Zaire & Francisco Franco of Spain to name just a few. Even some congressmen also support terrorists organizations of their choice like Congressman Peter King used to supply money & arms to the terrorist Christian Organization of Northern Ireland namely IRA.

  4. The UNGA unfortunately, has little impact. Every year they vote overwhelmingly to remove the blocade on Cuba. Frequently they condemn Israel’s constant illegal actions agianst palestin ians and Israel’s neighbours. These do not get reported in the MSM.

  5. In Thursday’s 16Feb12 issue of Veterans Today News Report, they had a very interesting version of what is taking place in Homs, not being what we are told by the M.S.M. or our own Government It should shed light on what is being fed to everyone.

    As far as the weapons, well, didn’t the al-Qaeda clean out the arsenal[s] in Libya, with the blessings of the West, taking them to who knows where? Again, isn’t as-Qaeda a CIA client?

    As for Saudi Arabia being the author of this statement submitted by the Arab league, it puts a different slant on things here. After all, who has the most to gain?

    I might also ask, what will Israel do to stop the weapons arsenal that exists today in Syria from getting into the hands of Hezbollah, in the event that President al-Assad falls, invade Syria too, bomb Lebanon, both? Food for thought.

    • As far as the weapons, well, didn’t the al-Qaeda clean out the arsenal[s] in Libya, with the blessings of the West, taking them to who knows where?

      Link? Could you perhaps provide some evidence that skerry al Qaeda Mooslems have possession of weapons looted in Libya?

      Again, isn’t as-Qaeda a CIA client?

      No, that’s actually rather nuts. The CIA tends not to wage global wars in multiple countries against its clients.

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