Syria massacre not enough to break UN deadlock over stronger action
Russia's support for a UN Security Council condemnation of this weekend's Syria massacre had raised hopes that Moscow would support stronger action against its ally Assad.
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Despite speculation that the US, Britain, and France were moving closer to support for military intervention, the White House unequivocally ruled that out for the time being yesterday: "We do not believe that militarization, further militarization of the situation in Syria at this point is the right course of action. We believe that it would lead to greater chaos, greater carnage," said spokesman Jay Carney, according to a separate Reuters report.Skip to next paragraph
Middle East Editor
Ariel Zirulnick is the Monitor's Middle East editor, overseeing regional coverage both for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She is also a contributor to the international desk's terrorism and security blog.
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The only action taken so far, other than the Security Council condemnation, was the announcement yesterday that a slew of European countries, plus the US, Japan, Turkey, Canada, and Australia, were expelling some or all of the Syrian diplomats in their countries.
A statement from French President François Hollande that he would not "rule out" the possibility of military intervention prompted an angry response from Moscow, Bloomberg reports. “To raise the possibility of some kind of military intervention is more the result of political emotions than careful consideration,” said Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov.
An intervention cannot happen if Russia remains opposed, so Mr. Hollande's comment has little weight at this time.
Russian foreign policy experts told The Christian Science Monitor yesterday that Russia will stand by President Bashar al-Assad while it remains convenient, but that if its ally's grip on power weakens considerably, Russia will turn its focus to remaining in the good graces of the Security Council.
"It's clear now that the Assad regime is weakening," says Viktor Kremeniuk, deputy director of the official Institute of USA-Canada Studies in Moscow. "The pressure on him will grow, until he's either beaten or runs away. Russia is sticking to its positions, but at the same time it has to show that it is understanding of the situation and flexible enough. The truth is that the Security Council matters more for Russia than Syria does."