The world is watching Syria’s government commit crimes against humanity against its citizens. As members of the Syrian opposition plea for international help and the thousands of Syrians protesting in the streets cry for assistance, it seems that the international community is too caught up in their own interests and political games to hear them.
It is estimated that more than 1,700 civilians have been killed in Syria since protests erupted. As the numbers keep rising and the violence escalates the international community has been unable to take a unified stance against Assad’s brutal regime. Unlike Libya, where the UN intervened about a month after initial protests, Syrian civilians, who have been fighting against brutal Assad’s violent government since March, have been abandoned.
While the European Union, the Arab league, the United Nations and many Western governments have condemned the violence carried out by the Syrian army, the Syrian government has been able to turn a deaf ear as these entities have avoided taking any action. Within the United Nations Security Council there lies a stark divide between members who are all too eager to take action and those that want to avoid it at any cost. It seems that the members of the UN Security Council have forgotten their responsibility to maintain international peace and security and have let their own personal interests determine the faith of the Syrian people.
Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil and India have expressed concerns about a possible intervention in Syria and believe Western members went beyond their mandate in Libya by openly supporting the opposition and seeking a regime change. Scared of similar ‘imperialist ’outcomes these members have rejected any draft resolutions on Syria and allowed the Syrian government to continue oppressing its people. While the opposing members’ scepticism towards the Western nations that voted in favour of the Libya UN Resolution 1973 and now want to intervene in Syria may be legitimate as it involves Syria’s main importers of oil, it seems that opposing members have their own reasons for not wanting to intervene and limiting discussion.
China and Russia, who have refused to discuss even draft, both have a longstanding and profitable relationships with Syria, which has clouded much of the discussion surrounding Syria in the Security Council. As long as Syria continues to heavily depend on both countries for arms to fight the opposition, any attempt to halt the violence will be postponed by Russia and China, who are significantly gaining from the government’s onslaught against its citizens.
Germany, France and Italy are Syria’s main importers of oil, while China and Russia are the main recipients of Syria’s multi-billion arms deal. As these members discuss Syria they are placing their own interests on the table as well. The UN Security Council’s goal to maintain peace and international security is being betrayed by its permanent members and it’s thus time for the world’s emerging global power to take a stance and uphold the Council’s mandate and the rights of Syrians.
After more than 5 months of fighting it’s time for the remaining members in the Security Council to urge discussions and lead this operation. Brazil, India and South Africa’s quest for global leadership has produced highly competitive players. Yet, in order for these emerging economies to become global leaders they need to become equally powerful political actors. These countries as former colonies and vibrant democracies are in a unique position to move away from the Security Council’s habitual Western choices and Chino-Russia’s arms driven policies and in turn let a new and unique voice resonate throughout the Council.