UN Security Council - AP - January 13, 2010
The United Nations Security Council Photo by AP
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Russia and China's veto of the UN Security Council resolution against Syria is in fact license for Syria's president to continue slaughtering his citizens with impunity. The veto makes eminently clear how weak the international community is when it comes to people who are trying to free themselves from the dictator's burden and who dream of democracy and a fair life.

China and Russia's rejection of the resolution despite the terrible slaughter in Homs and despite changes made in the resolution to satisfy those two countries is nothing less than a spit in the face of Syria's citizens. Their move makes the two superpowers full partners in the acts of murder.

The members of the protest movement in Syria waited a long time before they asked for help from the international community. Like their counterparts in Egypt, they thought at first that dialogue with the existing regime might bring about reasonable reform. But instead of dialogue, they got more bullets and bombs.

Even the Arab League hesitated before deciding on the extraordinary step of suspending Syria's membership in that body and imposing economic sanctions. But even then, it left Assad with the opportunity to resolve the crisis by allowing Arab monitors to study the situation in his country. Assad mocked the Arab League's proposal and thwarted the monitors.

All through that period, Western countries made do with denouncing Syria and imposing weak sanctions on the pretext that they were waiting for the Arab League to approach them, as if legitimization was needed to act against a murderous ruler.

It is difficult to think of a good reason to veto a resolution that does not even call for Assad's removal, and is careful not to support outside intervention. The only possible explanation for their conduct is the desire to prevent a Western "takeover" of the Arab Spring, no matter the cost in human life.

In light of the miserable outcome of the United Nations deliberations, and considering the terrible number of casualties, we can only hope that the West, together with the Arab League, will be able to quickly formulate a new, much more aggressive policy that will put a stop to Assad's murderousness.

Read this article in Hebrew.