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Daily Archives: April 23, 2011

75 shot down in Syria by their own government. What no “R2P”?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a number of times about the reason or UN “principle” applied to Libya.  Its application to Libya was purely arbitrary.

Former case in point of that particular claim was Iran – wantonly gunning down protesters in the streets.  Present case in point is Syria:

FOR THE PAST five weeks, growing numbers of Syrians have been gathering in cities and towns across the country to demand political freedom — and the security forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad have been responding by opening fire on them. According to Syrian human rights groups, more than 220 people had been killed by Friday. And Friday may have been the worst day yet: According to Western news organizations, which mostly have had to gather information from outside the country, at least 75 people were gunned down in places that included the suburbs of Damascus, the city of Homs and a village near the southern town of Daraa, where the protests began.

Massacres on this scale usually prompt a strong response from Western democracies, as they should. Ambassadors are withdrawn; resolutions are introduced at the U.N. Security Council; international investigations are mounted and sanctions applied. In Syria’s case, none of this has happened. The Obama administration has denounced the violence — a presidential statement called Friday’s acts of repression “outrageous” — but otherwise remained passive. Even the ambassador it dispatched to Damascus during a congressional recess last year remains on post.

Where are the Chicki-hawks on this – Powers, Rice and Clinton?  Oh, yeah, I forgot, Hillary Clinton claims that Assad is a “reformer” and that the big difference is that Assad isn’t using or threatening to use his airplanes to kill his own people.  I’m sure that makes a big difference to those dead Syrian protesters.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not calling for yet another intervention anywhere.  That’s not the point of this.  My point is about the purely arbitrary application of a so-called “principle” or “right” the UN has invented and calls the “Right to Protect” (R2P).  Apparently some protestors enjoy more rights than others to their lives.

If anyone, given what has occurred within the last 2-3 years or so, can point out the “bright line” over which a country can step and prompt the invocation of R2P, I’d be grateful.

To this point I can’t figure out what that line is.  Syria figured it was 20 KIAs a day.  But when they did 3x+ that, eh, no biggie.  Everyone’s favorite word for use when they don’t plan on doing anything  – “outrage” – was used so apparently diplomatic necessities have been served and its now time to ignore the massacres until it is again appropriate to declare the next occurrence an outrage.  That’s the treatment “reformers” get, don’t you know?


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