UK, France build case for UN resolution against Syria
Europe is again taking the lead for international response in another chapter of the Arab Spring, arguing for a UN resolution against Syria. Unlike in Libya, it's not calling for military action.
With thousands of Syrians fleeing to Turkey in fear of more attacks by government forces, Europe is intensifying diplomatic pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to stop using violence against civilians.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Supported by Germany and Portugal, the UK and France have drafted a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria’s suppression of pro-democracy protests but not calling for military action or additional sanctions.
While Europe is again taking the lead on rallying international response to a Middle East uprising, many analysts say the West is cautious about moving too strongly against Syria because of its strategic importance in the region. What's more, many say, Assad will continue to act with impunity as long as he feels that the West considers him as part of an eventual solution to ending the violence there.
“Libya has oil, but it has little strategic importance. Syria is a pivotal state, it has immense strategic importance in the region,” says Jean-Francois Daguzan, a Middle East expert at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. "Regime change in Libya will not change the political landscape of the whole of North Africa. Regime change in Syria will affect the situation of Israel, of Lebanon, of Iran, of Turkey even.”
Mr. Daguzan said Western governments are also worried about what could follow Assad. "What kind of policy would a government of the Sunni majority in Syria stand for? No one knows. Europe’s options in Syria are very limited and a military intervention is out of the question.”
The draft UN resolution put forward by the UK and France asks for political reforms and the release of political prisoners. But it does not authorize concrete action by the international community and it stresses that any solution to this crisis has to include the Syrian authorities.