The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brian John Spencer Headshot

The Sino-Russian Blockade: The Inner Sanctum of Death Lives on

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Saturday's day of death in the besieged city of Homs at the hands of the Syrian army and security forces beheld the worst episode of violence in Syria's chronic 11-month uprising. Homs which has been at the epicentre of the uprising saw as many 300 deaths on Saturday and the UN has stated that since March 2011 Assad's regime has now been responsible for as many as 6000 deaths as well as detaining many thousands of activists.

The day of death on Saturday prompted the UN Security Council to take action and back an Arab League peace plan and produce a resolution calling for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down, to hand over the reins to his deputy and move towards a peaceful political transition to a unity government. However whilst all 13 members of the Council voted in favor of the resolution, including even South Africa and India who had earlier voiced grave concerns, the international diplomatic efforts were derailed when once again China and Russia wielded their veto in defense of their perceived threat to Syria's sovereignty. A veto wielded just as they had done so in October 2011 which has followed with over 2000 deaths.

Unsurprisingly the blockade has prompted international condemnation from the Middle East, the Arab world and much of the West. The UK's foreign secretary William Hague and Washington's UN envoy Susan Rice were particularly vociferous in their critique of the Sino-Russion decision to continue to prop up Syria's regime of death. Hague has stated that the weekend's events have shunted Syria ever close to full blown civil war and stated that any future blood spilt would be on the hands of Russia and China.

The Sino-Russian blockade simply goes to embolden and shield the Assad regime from international interference and thus allows the Damascus administration to continue forward on its reign of terror and as such we can reasonably expect considerably many more episodes of violence.
Indeed the Telegraph reports that yesterday after a further day of shelling 40 were killed and only this morning as many as 50 civilians have died as Assad's force continue on their offensive as they encircle the city of Homs with tanks

The Syrian National Council, the biggest opposition group, countless activists and Syrian expats around the world continue to call on for outside help. Britain and other Western states are continuing to work with Arab nations to bring an end to Assad's lunacy. Clinton continues to pursue diplomatic relations and Hague has spoken of the possibility of the Arab League working towards building a peace plan which would presumably work well as it would appear to impinge less on the sovereignty of Syria and stand as less interference from the West.

In any case we have seen this mindless killing all before as throughout the wider Arab Spring and as such on can sensibly predict how the next few months will unfold. Indeed one can reasonably envisage the eventual involvement of Western forces, after all a mandate from the UN is not strictly necessary, the empowerment of the SNC and anti-Assad forces, and a long drawn out siege against Assad which will be followed by the eventual removal of this despot.