Friday, May 17, 2013

Choosing Sides

As expected, the U.N. General Assembly again condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a non-binding U.N. resolution but as they say, the devil is in the details.

While the resolutions did pass the 193-nation assembly, the votes in favor of the resolution has dived. In August last year, a similar resolution condemning the Syrian government passed with 133 votes in favor. This time, there were only 107 votes in favor. The missing 28 votes voted became abstentions.

While it’s normal to think that the 28 countries choose not to support the Syrian opposition this time round did so because of unease about the fractious rebels, I’m afraid that the reason is more mundane and realpolitikal. They changed their votes because now they are unsure if the rebels are going to win. Reuters even managed to get a senior Western U.N. diplomat, speaking anonymously of course, admitting this.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of President Assad personally, but everything is relative. Between the fact that President Assad seems to be winning, terrorists among the rebels, the kidnapping of U.N. peacekeepers by Syrian rebels, and rumored use of chemical weapons by the rebels; you seriously have to wonder if the Western powers are on the right side of the conflict.

Right now things are still considered “fluid” on the ground. If you want to switch sides, now is the time. Once one side got the clear upper hand, if they had not yet, then switching sides will be far more difficult. 

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