Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Syria monitors' report awaited at UN Security Council

For the UN Security Council, much is at stake when it comes to the Arab League's monitors in Syria.

There are two broad but opposing positions in the Council. Both have tied their policies to the fate of the mission, which was given a month to observe Syria's compliance with an Arab peace plan, and is expected to report back this week.

In essence, the divide is over whether the Security Council should get involved in the Syrian crisis.

On one side are Western nations (in particular Britain, France, the United States and Germany) which see the conflict as appalling government repression of peaceful protesters. They seek a strong condemnation of Damascus and punitive action such as sanctions or an arms embargo.

On the other side are states led by Russia, which is intent on protecting its considerable strategic interests with a long-time Arab ally.

But it also believes that any Council intervention would have a hidden and counter-productive agenda of ousting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and fears a scenario where the UN backs one side in a civil war, as it claims happened in Libya. Read More