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Terrorism & Security

Russian effort to send helicopters to Syria hits snag

A British insurer revoked coverage from a Russian ship that was delivering helicopters to Syria. Without insurance, ships cannot enter port.

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Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit yesterday. With this most recent spat, Syria was likely a top discussion topic, but the joint statement from the leaders contained only one paragraph addressing Syria:

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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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We agree to cooperate bilaterally and multilaterally to solve regional conflicts.  In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence and express full support for the efforts of [United Nations]/League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, including moving forward on political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system that would be implemented by the Syrians themselves in the framework of Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity.  We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future.

But their support for Mr. Annan's plan is no change from current positions, and the peace plan has had little effect on the violence there. The international community has largely deemed it a failure, and the UN observer mission to Syria was suspended last week out of concern for the safety. 

Russia's intransigence has been convenient for the US, which has heaped blame for international inaction on Russia even while it has shown no appetite for intervening itself, according to the Associated Press.

… in many ways, Russia’s stance is convenient for Washington and its allies which have their own reasons for avoiding direct intervention in yet another Arab nation in crisis.

Not the least of them is the impending U.S. presidential election in November. Others are the uncertain outcome of a military commitment and the war-weariness of the U.S. public.

“The fact that Russia is not budging on Syria certainly helps Washington in its efforts to justify its inaction,” said Bilal Saab, a fellow and Syria expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

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