For the fifteenth time, Russia and China have used their veto in the UN Security Council in relation to resolutions concerning the conflict in Syria, not least to reduce Assad’s oppression of the Syrian people. Yet again, the international community has failed to extend a helping hand to the Syrians and once more stands by helplessly as the tragedy continues to unfold.
The latest veto created a strong wall to support the Assad regime and its crimes, again thwarting an international resolution demanding an end to the aggression against the Syrians and alleviating their suffering. In doing so, Beijing and Moscow hindered the political and humanitarian path in favour of the presence of Russian brutality behind Assad.
Disrupting humanitarian aid for Syria exposes the helplessness of the UN and its failure to protect international peace and human rights. The undisguised inability of the international organisation to do anything that the permanent members of the Security Council do not want to happen has been rooted for seven decades in the minds of the Arab public; “veto” is one English word that sticks in the collective memory. The US has used its veto dozens of times to protect the Zionist occupation state from being called to account for its violations against the Palestinians and their rights. Every time that the Security Council has to vote on a resolution demanding justice for the Palestinian people, the US veto swings into action. Moscow and Beijing are now imitating America’s arrogance to protect the Assad regime and defend its crimes.
Aside from protecting the Syrian regime from international accountability, the Russians and Chinese have resorted to using humanitarian aid as a bargaining chip. In return for the blockade on the regime being eased, they will allow aid to get through to the people of Syria who have suffered from the violence inflicted by Assad and his allies since 2011.
Some elites belonging to the Moscow-Beijing axis in the Arab world believe that using the veto does not affect the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause. However, the Russian and Chinese skill in playing the game is not to appear quite as arrogant as the Israeli occupation and its supporters, who are not physically present on the ground as those who protect Assad and his henchmen are. The fixation of these Arab elites on Moscow’s veto and its policy in Syria allows them to avoid taking a clear position on the crucial issue of the future of the Syrian people while also avoiding any confrontation with those responsible for the crimes to which they are subjected.
Numerous reviews by the UN have indicated that the Assad regime is responsible for committing war crimes and guilty of using chemical weapons, torture, collective punishment and starvation. There is ample physical and legal evidence to prove this, which is why Russia and China resort to vetoing any decision or resolution condemning the Assad regime. Such reviews are well known to the Palestinians and Arabs.
Without knowing this context, it is difficult — perhaps impossible — to know what Moscow’s vision is for the future of the Syrians without the Assad regime. Russia’s actions on the ground in Syria have been hostile, even while it expresses concern for Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. However, the reality is that the Russians are behaving like occupiers to secure their interests linked to the presence of Assad. This includes providing the regime with new military bases and pawning the capabilities of the Syrians for decades through sham agreements.
Moscow’s statements and stances regarding the Syrian issue and its own policy are based on using its military strength to stabilise Assad’s position. It also uses deception, threats and blackmail against the Syrian people and international organisations. However, the protection of Bashar Al-Assad is not only beneficial to Moscow, because it is more than likely that Russia has coordinated what it has done with Israel, the US and the West in order to serve their mutual interests.
The US is not angry with the Russian behaviour in Syria or the Security Council. Indeed, Russia’s use of the veto further reinforces its use by the US to protect and support the Zionist occupation and neutralise the effects of international resolutions. With its own support for the Syrian tyrant and the Zionist occupation, Moscow is giving the world another arrogant pole which confirms that there can never be justice or liberation as long as a veto can be used at the UN.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 14 July 2020
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.