In Latin America, opposition to military intervention in Syria reflects the wariness of a region long beset with U.S. interventions of its own
As political attention has shifted from a potential U.S. military strike against Syria to a potential agreement on the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons arbitrated by Russia, all eyes are on the United States, the Middle East, and key actors in Europe.
But what has been the reaction in other parts of the world?
In Latin America at least, which holds two rotating seats on the UN Security Council, the reaction reflects the wariness of a region long beset with U.S. interventions of its own.
By and large, Latin American nations have opposed a military operation against Damascus. Regional blocs like the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have passed resolutions calling for negotiations and a cessation of hostilities.
A leading opponent of the “military option” is Argentina, which along with Guatemala currently represents the region at the Security Council.
Throughout the years of conflict in Syria, Argentina has maintained an anti-intervention and anti-military approach regarding the international community’s involvement. Specifically, the Argentine government has pushed for dialogue between the warring parties within Syria. Hector Timerman, the Argentine minister of foreign affairs, notes that his country has proposed initiatives such as “a weapons embargo, humanitarian assistance, and an emergency meeting of the General Assembly” to address the ongoing violence.
Allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians did not sway Buenos Aires’ stance. In August, Timerman declared that “Argentina will never propose or support a foreign military intervention. The Argentine people will not be complicit in new deaths.” An August communiqué released by his ministry emphasized that “for the Republic of Argentina, the conditions are not present for a foreign military intervention since in spite of the time that has passed and the hundreds of thousands of victims, all the mechanisms established by international law have not been utilized.”
In early September, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon during the G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She reportedly proposed to the UN leader that the chancellors of the 15 member states on the Security Council travel to Syria to see if a ceasefire could be achieved. At the time of this writing, no further development has been reported on this proposal.
Argentina’s opposition to military intervention in Syria fits with its previous history of keeping out of foreign conflicts. Ariel Gonzalez Levaggi, executive director of the Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales (CAEI), a foreign policy think tank in Buenos Aires, explained that “Argentina has a tradition of neutrality that was modified in the 1990s but has continued during the era of Kirchner rule. The Argentine government was against the invasion of Iraq, the attack against Libya, and now Syria.”
It is worth noting that some Syrian expatriates in Argentina occupy positions in governmental offices. The extent to which this Syrian community is influential enough to affect Argentine foreign policy is under debate. In early September around 50 members of the Syrian community in Buenos Aires protested against U.S. military intervention outside the Syrian embassy.
Some Argentine analysts have declared that escalating the war in Syria could have detrimental effects for Argentina, particularly in terms of energy. In a September 7 article published in the Argentine daily La Nación, experts explained that an expanded war could increase the price of oil, which would hurt the South American state’s already dire economy. One analyst explained how, since 2009, Argentine exports to the Arab world have grown by 20 percent, and prolonged warfare could hurt Arab countries’ demand for Argentine exports.
Argentina’s anti-intervention stance is in line with the positions of most other South American governments. At a UNASUR summit in Suriname on August 30, they signed a declaration condemning “external interventions” in Syria and calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. CARICOM’s Secretariat passed a similar resolution in early September, condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria but also urging the international community not to engage in military actions against the Assad regime.
Not all Latin American nations share this view, however. Guatemala, which holds the region’s other Security Council seat, has openly expressed its support for U.S. intervention in Syria. “We clearly and definitely support the decision that the U.S. president has taken so that chemical weapons, which cause mass deaths, will not be utilized again,” said President Otto Perez Molina on September 1. “That is Guatemala’s position.”
It is unsurprising that Guatemala is siding with Washington, as the country’s government has long had close relations with the United States. Guatemala receives significant amounts of aid from Washington ($110 million in 2011 and an estimated $95 million in 2012) and wants to see this kind of assistance continue. Agreeing with Washington’s foreign policy decisions is an easy way for the country’s right-wing government to maintain ties based on security initiatives (like Operación Martillo) and trade (CAFTA).
As a representative on the UNSC, therefore, Argentina has been accurately reflecting the stance against military intervention held by other South American and Caribbean governments. This fits with the country’s drive to forge a regional politics more independent of Washington. Guatemala’s stance, by contrast, harkens back to an earlier era when Washington’s dictates largely set the tone for the hemisphere.
Nevertheless, the final point that needs to be addressed is whether Argentina, or even a united South America and Caribbean, have had any relevance in the decision making process in Washington, Beijing, London, Paris, or Moscow regarding intervention in Syria. The short answer is no.
In Syria, Buenos Aires, Lima, Montevideo, and Kingston have had little influence (or none at all) in what the powers-that-be have decided. While the aversion of Western military strikes on Syria may be considered a relief, the way it was achieved exemplifies how little weight agencies like the United Nations—and particularly the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the Global South in general—continue to have in global security affairs.
W. Alejandro Sanchez is a Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Follow Alejandro via Twitter.
Some human rights groups, especially Amnesty International, seem to have forgotten an important human right: peace. A petition has been launched to remind them.
These organizations are not the warmongers. They do tremendously great work addressing some of the symptoms of warmaking, including imprisonment and torture. But, because they avoid taking any position on war, and because of an apparent bias in favor of U.S. military intervention, they sometimes find themselves effectively promoting war and all the horrors that come with it. At Nuremberg to initiate a war of aggression was called the supreme international crime “encompassing the evil of the whole.” Yet human rights groups are often on the wrong side of the fundamental question of war.
Amnesty International (AI) promoted the babies-taken-from-incubators hoax that helped launch the 1991 war on Iraq. AI has upheld the pretense that the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is about women’s rights. And now Amnesty International is highlighting warmaking in Syria’s civil war by one side only:
“Our team of researchers on the ground found evidence that government forces bombed entire neighborhoods and targeted residential areas with long-range surface-to-surface missiles,” said an AI fundraising email on April 29th that made no mention of abuses committed by Syrian rebels supported by the U.S. and its allies.
This one-sided treatment by a group supposedly dedicated to all humans fuels the fires of a wider war from which the people of Syria can only suffer.
The email continued: “Amnesty has a strong track record of using our on-the-ground findings to pressure governments and the United Nations Security Council to hold those responsible for the slaughter of civilians accountable.”
Does it? When the United States kills civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya, AI’s silence has often been deafening. Shouldn’t a human rights group press for an end to the killing of all humans by all parties?
While many good individuals who work for human rights groups like AI oppose wars, these organizations officially ignore President Eisenhower’s warning and a half-century of evidence regarding the power of the military industrial complex — and they ignore the criminality of war under the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Charter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact and other laws.
These groups accept the existence of war (when not encouraging it) and then focus on specific crimes and abuses within the larger war-making enterprise. They promote the idea that human rights are governed by two sets of laws, one in peace and another weaker set in war. Voices for the human right to peace are missing and badly needed, as “humanitarianism” and “the right to protect” are used as excuses for war and intervention.
Amnesty International opposes imprisonment without trial and other abuses unless they adhere to the “laws of war,” which is why AI is not opposing the outrageous charges leveled against Bradley Manning. Killing is opposed unless it adheres to the “laws of war.” Under this standard, we pretend not to know whether blowing families up with drones is legal or not as long as the memos purporting to legalize it are kept hidden.
Groups like Amnesty oppose particular weapons, including the development of fully autonomous weapons (drones that fly themselves). No one in their right mind would oppose that step. But surely the human right not to be blown up does not vanish if the button is pushed by a person instead of an autonomous robot. Other organizations are pushing to ban all weaponized drones from the world.
Human rights groups should join the peace movement in targeting war and militarism itself, rather than just some of its symptoms. Amnesty International and all groups favoring human rights should be asked to oppose a U.S. escalation of war on Syria.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, saying he lacks neutrality.
The statement said Damascus would stop cooperating with Brahimi unless he severs his ties with the Arab League. “Brahimi’s report (on April 19) to the United Nations Security Council was marked by (a tone of) interference in Syria’s internal affairs and a lack of the neutrality required by his mission as international mediator,” the statement said.
Brahimi said at a closed-door session of the Security Council that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not have the right to run for president in the upcoming election scheduled for next year.
“Syria has cooperated and will cooperate with Brahimi only as UN envoy, because the Arab League is complicit in the conspiracy against Syria,” the statement read.
“If Brahimi wants his mission to succeed, we expect him to start working to stop the violence and terrorism along with the parties concerned, and to expose the roles played by France, Britain, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which finance and arm Al-Nusra Front’s terrorists,” it added.
The government of Pakistan claims that there are “red lines” which drones and ground soldiers dare not cross (US urged not to cross ‘red line’ in Fata). This is another lie. In reality, US drones (and possibly “private contractors”) cross those lines everyday. Just another day in the multi-faceted psychological war games, that are fought-out in FATA everyday.
This new public relations ploy, to allow the families of drone victims to prosecute American Predator war crimes builds a new line of defense for the Pak Army, while enhancing its credibility. This is part of Pakistan’s new “Plan B” for Waziristan, where the civilian administration attempts to use Western courts to stop daily drone attacks upon the Wazir tribes in both North and South Waziristan, since military persuasion has failed miserably in that respect. Military reluctance to interfere with US plans for Pakistan’s militants has derived not from a common desire to see the CIA … Pakistanis, but from a desire NOT to piss-off the paymaster, which is interpreted by the people as complicity in the attacks (SEE: US embassy cables: Pakistan backs US drone attacks on tribal areas (23 Aug. 2008, 14:12)). Even the targeted militant leaders are aware of Army complicity in drone targetting. I am referring here to the testimony of the recently assassinated Waziri leader Nazir (SEE: As-Sahab: English transcript of the interview with Mulla Nazeer Ahmad, the amir of the mujahideen in the South Waziristan).
The outrageous death of Nazir and his friends clarified for the other militants, along with the entire Wazir tribe, that the Pak Army is obviously complicit in the drone attacks, otherwise actions would have been taken to put an end to the air incursions (SEE: India/Pakistani Detente’ Went Into the Ground with Mullah Nazir). As long as the Army continued to maintain its duplicitous drone acceptance/rejection strategy, denying involvement in the drone targeting (which consistently hit the pro-Army Wazirs and not the anti-Pakistan Mehsuds in both North and South Waziristan), the Wazirs continued to participate in the Pak/US development strategy of infrastructural bribery, based on building ”Quick Impact Projects” in areas previously cleared of Mehsud terrorists.
Since the UAV murder of Mullah Nazir near Wana, working in tandem with the development strategy, the Army is allowing lawsuits (Case No: CO/2599/2012) to go forward on one of the most heinous drone attacks upon the Wazirs, the March 17th, 2011 attack upon a Waziri Jirga in Datta Khel, N. Waziristan, which killed 50 (SEE: Waziristan tribesmen to move ICJ against drone hits). This move may be a compromise between the government and the Wazir tribe, to avoid a companion lawsuit (which is coming-up for a hearing on Feb. 13) that has been filed in Peshawar High Court, which forces the government of Pakistan’s hand. The Peshawar suit makes the following demands:
- Confirm the Pakistani government’s complete opposition to US drone strikes in the tribal areas as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.
- Approach the United Nations Security Council and demand adoption of a resolution condemning drone strikes and requiring the US to end the strikes in Pakistan.
- Issue a formal complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions as the fundamental right to life is being breached by US drone strikes.
- Publicly encourage victims of drone stacks to file complaints to the UNHRC so that the UN Secretary General can list this issue on the Council agenda for discussion.
- Notify the US government of Pakistan’s intention to seek relief in the International Court of Justice for the US’s illegal operation of drones in Pakistan.
- Sign the Rome Treaty so that the International Criminal Court can have jurisdiction to prosecute the drone attacks as international law crimes.
The Wazir experiment was intended to reinforce existing agreements that have been made between the Army and the Tribal Authorities, which have previously delegated the policing function to the Tribes. Under those peace deals, Tribal Leaders had agreed to keep “terrorists” and foreigners out of their territory, referring to Taliban and the Uzbek and “al-CIA-da” forces. The Wazir Tribe has been held responsible for the terrorist attacks within their neighborhoods since this agreement was signed in 2007. Under the agreement, the Mehsuds were to have been run-out of Wana. The Wazirs resisted taking this extreme step for the Army, because they were forced to travel roads through Mehsud territory and obviously didn’t want to start a Tribal feud (SEE: Pak Army Uses US Money To Build Road for Ahmadzai Wazirs To Run Mehsuds Out of Wana On).
The Wazir were expected to run the remaining 1,000 or so Mehsud out of Wana, just as soon as the new Kaur-Gomal-Tanai-Wana road was inagurated. Mullah Nazir led a tribal jirga, which voted to run them out on December 5 (SEE: 1000 Mehsud Refugees Run-Out of Wana ). Three weeks later, Nazir was killed in a flurry of Hellfire missiles which were fired by three or four drones (SEE: They Had A Funeral In Wana for Mullah Nazir and 10,000 People Showed-Up–where were the drones then?). After years of trying and countless near-misses, the CIA finally killed the lynchpin of Pak Army plans for peace through development, by gifting him with a Quran containing a drone tracking chip. The man who was the most feared, as well as the most effective anti-Taliban tribal leader/fighter, was the centerpiece of Pakistani peace efforts, who hopefully would inspire all of the tribes to build their own effective anti-Taliban “Lashkars.”
The S. Waziristan development projects were a type of reward for supporting govt. efforts. The Army officials took their peace efforts so seriously that they rolled-up their sleeves and helped to build homes for the returnees, teach gardening skills, classes in fish farming, poultry and livestock handling. They have even organized an off-road rally in South Waziristan, hoping to draw people into an entertainment venue and thereby possibly enhance their communal feelings. The Army is whole-heartedly into the idea of “winning hearts and minds” in South Waziristan, following American counter-insurgency tactics to the letter. But they are finding-out the hard way that it might be impossible to smooth relations with people whose homes and schools you have just flattened, not to mention overcoming those hard feelings harbored over family members who were killed by the Army’s zealous pulverizing of parts of South Waziristan.
As you can see from this WSJ article clip, the rehabilitation effort, centered on Kotkai village (Hakeemullah Mehsud’s hometown), is not having the desired effect or speed of development. With the killing of the Wazir leader, how much further will the Tribal elders be willing to go in trusting the Army to deal fairly?
The lawsuit in British courts against the UK Govt., for their participation in the American drone strike of the Wazir jirga will serve as a largely symbolic test which could possibly enable judicial interference to handicap further drone strikes. The suit filed in Peshawar could prove to be a very significant test of govt. loyalty, to document whether Pakistan supports its own citizens (who are being systematically deprived of their inalienable rights to Life), or the rights of the Imperial powers to murder them at will. A wrong choice on the Army’s part could cost them all of their remaining friends in the Tribal Regions. It would force the govt. hand, requiring public opposition to drone strikes, as well as taking the people’s case to the UN and filing formal Human Rights violations. In addition to this, it would force govt. to allow charges to be filed in the ICJ (International Court of Justice). If any of these actions are taken, they would be sufficient to suspend all further American payments to Pakistan.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the next round of comprehensive talks between Iran and six world powers will be held in Kazakhstan on February 25, 2013.
Salehi made the announcement in his Sunday speech on the third day of the 49th annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — known as the P5+1 group — have held several rounds of talks with main focus on Iranian nuclear energy program. The last round of negotiations between the two sides was held in Moscow in June 2012.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted towards weapons production.
The Obama administration hasn’t ruled out having the Air Force play a lead role in transporting troops and equipment for an African-led intervention to dislodge militant Islamists in Mali, the Pentagon’s top Africa official said Wednesday.
The United Nations Security Council is weighing whether to approve a West African force of about 3,300 troops to take over the desert expanses of the country’s northern half, which broke away following a March coup. Mali’s neighbors and western countries are worried that the Texas-sized area has become the world’s largest safe haven for militant Islamists, but U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has raised questions about the plan’s viability, and the Obama administration favors a cautious approach.
“The logistical planning is still nascent,” the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for Africa, Amanda Dory, told reporters in a short hallway interview after testifying at a Senate hearing on Mali.
“Part of it is related to maneuver and how the force would actually move, and that defines what the logistics would need to be. At this point we haven’t ruled out — or in — what it is that the [Department of Defense] and [U.S. government] support would be.”
Mali and its neighbors oppose any intervention by non-African troops. The United States, however, is involved in advising the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), which is putting the intervention force together.
Dory said the Pentagon is envisioning training, equipping, advising and supporting the international military force, “but whether it would entail logistics or not, we haven’t determined yet.” … Full article
In a recent article, The New American’s foreign correspondent Alex Newman reported on the United Nations’ plot to invade the West African nation of Mali. Wrote Newman:
After having recently left thousands dead from overthrowing the governments ruling Libya and the Ivory Coast, the United Nations is already plotting its next invasion to deal with the fallout. This time, Mali is in the UN’s crosshairs.
Mali attracted UN attention when the northern part of the country was taken over by Islamists and nomadic rebels amid a military coup d’état that ousted the government in the South. The UN Security Council is currently considering two resolutions related to the country, a former colony of France. The first one calls for negotiations between armed rebels in the North and the supposed “interim” government operating in the capital. That measure is expected to be approved soon, according to officials involved in the negotiations.
The second resolution would purport to authorize international military intervention, a move being sought by the coalition of regimes making up the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the struggling “interim” government in Southern Mali. The French government is circulating a draft of the resolution this week.
Supporting Newman’s report is the “crisis alert” issued by the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP). The notice says: “The humanitarian situation in northern Mali has worsened considerably since a coup in late March, with reports of human rights violations including murder, rape, robbery and forced displacement.”
After rehearsing the calls for intervention made by various human rights groups and other “civil society organizations,” ICRtoP closes its memo with a demand that the UN’s Responsibility to Protect doctrine be applied to the “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Mali.
A key to understanding the cause of the crescendo of clamors for international intervention in Mali is a familiarity with the Right to Protect doctrine as defined by the United Nations.
In an address given in September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed the commitment of the global shadow government’s ultimate goal of eradicating national sovereignty. The preferred weapon in this war on self-determination is the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P).
Agreed to by the UN General Assembly at a summit of world leaders in 2005, R2P purports to grant the global government power to decide whether individual nations are properly exercising their sovereignty.
UN literature describes R2P as the concept that holds “States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.”
That is to say, if the UN determines that a national government is not voluntarily conforming to the UN’s idea of safety, then the “international community” will impose its will by force, all for the protection of that nation’s citizens.
Lest anyone believe that the globalists at the UN are simply pacifists whose desire is to meekly encourage regimes to treat their people kindly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a more forceful posture at the conference held at the UN headquarters in New York.
“We all agree that sovereignty must not be a shield behind which States commit grave crimes against their people. But achieving prevention and protection can be difficult,” said Ban. “In recent years, we have shown how good offices, preventive diplomacy, mediation, commissions of inquiry and other peaceful means can help pull countries back from the brink of mass violence.”
“However, when non-coercive measures fail or are considered inadequate, enforcement under Chapter VII will need to be considered by the appropriate intergovernmental bodies,” he added. “This includes carefully crafted sanctions and, in extreme circumstances, the use of force.”
Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizes the Security Council to use force in the face of a threat to peace or aggression, taking “such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.” As there is currently no UN military, all such interventions are carried out by the national armed forces of member nations.
Faithfully, the United States, as the chief financial engine of the international body, has not only signed on to promote the Responsibility to Protect scheme, but President Obama has created a federal agency to ensure that it is executed effectively.
The bureau is called the White House Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) and it will be headed by President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Samantha Power.
Exercising the powers he created for himself in Executive Order 13606, President Barack Obama demonstrated his support for the R2P program when he established the Atrocities Prevention Board.
The stated goal of the APB is to first formally recognize that genocide and other mass atrocities committed by foreign powers are a “core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”
Apart from the unconstitutionality of this use of the executive order, there is something sinister in the selection of Samantha Power to spearhead the search for atrocities.
One source claims that the very existence of the APB is due to Power’s own persistence in convincing the White House that discovering atrocities should be a “core national-security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.” The statement released at the time of the signing of the executive order demonstrates Power’s remarkable power of persuasion.
Samantha Power rose to prominence in government circles as part of her campaign to promote the Responsibility to Protect scheme.
Responsibility to Protect is predicated on the proposition that sovereignty is a privilege not a right and that if any regime in any nation violates the UN-approved code of conduct, then the international community is morally obligated to revoke that nation’s sovereignty and assume command and control of the offending country.
The three pillars of this UN sovereignty grab explain the provenance of this presumed prerogative:
1. A state has a responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities
2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state if it is unable to protect its population on its own, and
3. If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.
It is the habitual recourse to this purported “last resort” that has cost countless American lives and has propelled our Republic closer to becoming a mere regional administrative unit of the global government of the United Nations. As Alex Newman wrote in his article on the situation in Mali:
As history shows, armed UN intervention often leads to mass slaughter and complete chaos that is later used to justify more international military intervention — Libya and the Ivory Coast being just two recent examples among many. There is little reason to suspect that invading Mali would turn out any better.
Indeed it won’t. But using history as a guide, Americans know that the pseudo-pacifists running the United Nations believe that if the social contract fails, there’s always the option of deploying blue-helmeted soldiers to impose “peace” at the point of a gun.
To that end, the newly appointed Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, recommended delegates work in their individual governments to contribute to an armed UN force under the command of the global government. Reciting the third point of R2P, Dieng pushed for more powerful tools to carry out the third pillar.
“It is our collective responsibility to study the implications of the use of each of them, and to understand the conditions under which the potential of each tool can be maximized,” Dieng said. “It is also our responsibility to establish and strengthen the structures that will make third-pillar tools actionable and effective.”
No matter the frequency or ferocity of the moral outrage spewed by internationalists, the government of the United States does not have a constitutional responsibility to protect the citizens of the world from atrocities.
And nowhere in the Constitution is the president or Congress authorized to place the armed forces of the United States under the command of international bodies, regardless of treaty obligations or sovereignty-stealing “responsibilities” to the contrary.
Syria’s UN envoy said Thursday his government is not seeking any escalation of violence with Turkey and wants to maintain good neighborly relations, Today’s Zaman reported.
Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said the government hasn’t apologized for the shelling from Syria that killed five Turkish civilians because it is waiting for the outcome of an investigation on the source of the firing.
He read reporters a letter he delivered to the deeply divided UN Security Council that sent Syria’s “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims “and to the friendly and brotherly people of Turkey.”
It urged Turkey and its other neighbors to “act wisely, rationally and responsibly” and to prevent cross-border infiltration of “terrorists and insurgents” and the smuggling of arms.
The Security Council has so far failed to respond to Wednesday’s deadly attack from Syria.
The US and its Western allies are seeking a strong statement condemning the attack on Turkey but Russia, Syria’s most important ally, is opposed and is seeking much weaker language that the West says is unacceptable, UN diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks have been private.
US Ambassador Susan Rice said the original draft, proposed by Azerbaijan and backed by the Turkish government, “adequately reflected the key points that need to be made.” But diplomats said many council members objected to Russia’s proposed amendments watering down the text. So council experts were meeting to see if they could bridge the differences.
“This sort of cross-border military activity is very destabilizing and must be stopped,” Rice said. “While I think it’s too early to say what will be the result of those negotiations, we think it’s very important that the council speak clearly and swiftly to condemn this shelling.”
The border violence has added a dangerous new dimension to Syria’s civil war, dragging Syria’s neighbors deeper into a conflict that activists say has already killed 30,000 people since an uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March 2011.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm Thursday at the escalating border tensions and warned that the risks of regional conflict and the threat to international peace is increasing, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
The UN chief called on all parties “to abandon the use of violence, exercise maximum restraint and exert all efforts to move toward a political solution,” he said.
Nesirky said Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy, has been in contact with Turkish and Syrian officials “in order to encourage an easing of tensions.”
Syria’s Ja’afari said the “Syrian government is keenly interested in maintaining good neighborly relations with Turkey.”
“The Syrian government is not seeking any escalation with any of its neighbors, including Turkey,” he stressed.
But he said Syria wants to explain to the Turkish people that their government’s policies supporting the opposition “are wrong and have been wrong since the beginning of the crisis.”
Ja’afari said Turkey responded to the incident by launching artillery shells into Syria starting at 7 p.m. local time Wednesday and stopping at midnight. Turkish troops then resumed artillery shelling Thursday morning until 7 a.m., injuring two Syrian army officers, he said.
“Our forces practiced self-restraint and did not respond to this Turkish artillery shelling,” Ja’afari said.
The Syrian ambassador said he delivered another letter to the Security Council seeking its condemnation for four suicide bombings in the country’s largest city and commercial capital, Aleppo, which killed scores of innocent civilians and took place about the same time Wednesday as the cross-border shelling.
But he said the council once again has been unable to condemn “these suicide terrorist attacks.”
Ja’afari urged the Turkish government to show “the same kind of sympathy” to the hundreds of innocent Syrian civilians killed in the suicide bombings as the Syrian government showed to the Turkish victims.
Egypt may take part in an Arab military intervention in Syria, provided this does not open the door to Western intervention, a political adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency Saturday.
“We are in principle ready for an Arab intervention in Syria after the limits, goals and features of that intervention are made clear,” said Saif Abdel Fattah.
In a speech before the UN General Assembly Tuesday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani called on Arab states to intervene militarily in Syria, citing an Arab-league backed intervention during Lebanon’s civil war as an “effective and useful” precedent.
Analysts have since warned that such a move could trigger a counter-intervention from Iran, sparking an even wider regional conflict.
Abdel Fattah went on to say that Egypt may pressure Turkey to put the Qatari proposal into effect. He added that Mursi would be discussing the issue with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Turkey Sunday.
Turkey is an ardent supporter of military intervention in Syria, and has pushed the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over the country. The proposals have been repeatedly shot down by China and Russia.
- Collaboration Loans (Al Akhbar)
Russia criticized unilateral US and European Union sanctions against Damascus, as it voiced skepticism about forming buffer zones in Syria.
Saying they worsen the plight of the Syrian people, Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, called for exerting efforts in a bid to improve the humanitarian situation for the Syrians.
Churkin said he agreed with UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres, who warned the Security Council against the so-called “safe zones.”
“He (Guterres) made it very clear he thought that history showed that they cannot be relied on as an effective tool for protecting civilians – that we must work together in order to help alleviate and improve the humanitarian situation for the entire population of Syria,” Churkin told the council.