News / Middle East

US Urges UN Action Against Syria

United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, speaks to United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague before a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria,  Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, speaks to United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague before a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United Nations must act to end what she calls the Syrian government's "divide and conquer" strategy against its own people. But Russia vows to veto any U.N. action against its allies in Damascus.

A Look at the Arab League

  • The League of Arab States, or Arab League, is an association of 22 Arab states, based in Cairo.

  • It was founded on March 22, 1945 in Cairo, with the aim of strengthening the relationships between member states through political, cultural and economic cooperation.

  • The first six members of the organization were Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (later renamed Jordan), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Yemen joined a few months later

  • Nabil Elaraby was elected secretary-general of the Arab League in May 2011.

  • Syria's membership was suspended in November 2011, following bloodshed caused by brutal government crackdowns on pro-democracy protests.

  • On Jan. 22, 2012, the Arab League proposed to Syria that President Bashar al-Assad should transfer power to a deputy and form a national unity government within two months. The plan was rejected by Syria.

After meeting with her French and British colleagues in New York, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went before the United Nations Security Council to support Arab League action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "The United States urges the Security Council to back the Arab League’s demand that the Syrian government immediately stop all attacks against civilians and guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstrations," she said.

Secretary Clinton says President Assad has driven his country to the brink of chaos and the longer he continues, the harder it will be to rebuild Syria once he is gone. "We all know that change is coming to Syria.  Despite its ruthless tactics, the Assad regime’s reign of terror will end and the people of Syria will chart their own destiny.  The question is how many more innocent civilians will die before this country is able to move forward to the kind of future it deserves," she said.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says U.N. action could make the situation even worse. "An essential element of any U.N. resolution must be the firm statement that this resolution can not be interpreted to justify any kind of outside military intervention in Syria," he said.

Steve Heydemann, a Middle East analyst for the United States Institute of Peace, says Moscow fears a change of government in Damascus would weaken Russia's position. "If the regime were to change and Syria were to move in a more pro-Western direction, I think the Russians would view that as a blow to their strategic posture in the region. And so one of the things that the U.S. might do is to offer reassurances to the Russians that even if a process of regime transition happens in Syria, they won't be left out," he said.

In order to avert a Russian veto, U.S. officials say they are ready to work with all U.N. members to pass a resolution supporting Arab League efforts to end the crisis. Secretary Clinton says failing to do so would abandon the Syrian people and embolden a dictator.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid