- The permanent representative of Russia, Vitaly I. Churkin, raises his hand to ban war against Syria (Security Council, July 19, 2012).
Over the past few weeks, the international diplomatic scene has been again taken over by the Syrian crisis. A double veto occurred in the U.N. Security Council, the General Assembly voted on a resolution and the special envoy of the Secretary General resigned. All this activity, counterproductive in diplomatic terms, harmonizes with other objectives than those of the pursuit of peace.
The Western powers had no diplomatic reason to have their resolution carried to a vote since the Russians had made clear that again they would not allow it to pass. They also had no reason to push through another resolution in the General Assembly given that it had previously adopted a nearly identical one. Finally, Kofi Annan had no objective reason to resign.
In addition, one part of the proceedings is illegal. The General Assembly does not have the authority to debate cases under consideration by the Security Council, except when “there appears to be a threat to the peace or an act of aggression and in the event that the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.” This is not the case as the promoters of the resolution have persisted in presenting the Syrian crisis as a strictly internal one.
Whatever the case may be, the General Assembly did not invoke this authority (known as “Uniting for Peace") but Western leaders have let it be understood they have a trump card to play: the right of humanitarian intervention. This is obviously a fraudulent intellectual contrivance. The U.N. Charter is based on respect of the sovereignty of its member states while the “right of intervention” (the former term was “civilizing mission”) is the privilege most often asserted by the colonial powers to conquer the world.
Westerns leaders have ceaselessly criticized the supposed inaction of the Security Council. Nothing could be further from the truth: the Council is divided, as can be seen in three successive vetoes, but it is active and has already passed three resolutions on the Syrian crisis (resolutions 2042, 2043 and 2059). By way of illustration, when a jury in a criminal case finds itself divided on the guilt of a defendant and releases him, the court isn’t declared powerless to condemn but rather that justice has been done. When the Security Council, one of the foundations of international law, rejects a resolution, it should be accepted as legal, whether or not one is satisfied with its decision.
Kofi Annan explained his resignation as follows: “The increasing militarization on the ground and the clear lack of unity in the Security Council have fundamentally changed the circumstances for the effective exercise of my role.” It is mind-boggling, knowing that Mr. Annan accepted his mission on February 23. At that time, the Syrian Army was laying siege to the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr where two or three thousand combatants were dug in with their Western advisors and China and Russia had already exercised their veto twice. The fact is that none of the actors have modified their position in the slightest. Only the correlation of forces on the ground has changed: one faction of the Syrian population that had previously supported the armed groups has since aligned itself with the Syrian Army. After having lost the proclaimed Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr, the Contras were not able to take Damascas or Aleppo and were left without sanctuary. Kofi Annan walked off the Syrian battlefield just as he did in Cyprus in 2004 after his peace plan was rejected by referendum.
Looking back, it appears clear that he had envisaged his mission from the future perspective of Assad’s overthrow by force and no longer knew what to do in the face of the military reversals suffered by the Free Syrian Army sponsored by the West. Obviously, the resignation of Annan as special envoy is not only an expression of personal disarray but is part and parcel of the Western campaign to signal “a deadlock within the international community” and cast responsibility on Syria, Russia and China.
This move clearly reveals the real import of all of this recent agitation. Western governments have no interest in the welfare of Syria since they are the ones arming the mercenaries who are torturing and murdering Syrians on a grand scale and they have no intention of stopping. Their diplomatic activity is exclusively directed towards a formal denunciation of Russia and China and, further, toward a challenge of the very existence of international law.
The wholly obsequious Ban Ki-Moon was not mistaken when, at the opening of the General Assembly debate on Syria, he questioned the analysis presented in the resolution. He did not denounce a “Syro-Syrian conflict.” He deplored a “proxy war” between great powers in a war the objective of which is not the taking of Syria but the re-engineering of the global balance of power.