Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

The Road to Peace in Syria Runs Through ... Moscow?

May 16, 2013

If it wasn’t clear that President Obama’s policy on Syria is simply bizarre, Secretary of State John Kerry’s hat-in-hand trip to Russia last week should lay bare the reality. Asking Russia to support U.S. interests in Syria is like asking the fox to guard the hen house.

Russia and the United States announced last week they would host an international conference on Syria. It was originally supposed to be held by the end of May; it now looks like it won’t happen until June. Neither the Syrian government nor the opposition has agreed to attend.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Syria

Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution addressing the situation in Syria. A General Assembly resolution is as non-binding as you can get, but Russia still voted against it, along with 11 other countries, including China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. Here is some of what Russia voted against:

  • “expressing grave concern at the threat by the Syrian authorities to use chemical or biological weapons”
  • “expressing grave concern at the continuing escalation of violence”
  • “expressing outrage at the rapidly increasing death toll”
  • “expressing concern at the occurrence of grave violations against children”
  • “expressing concern at the vulnerable situation of women”

Russia called the resolution “harmful and destructive.”

Deteriorating Situation in Syria

In August 2011, the President called on Syrian President Assad “to step aside.” In March 2012 Secretary of State Clinton said it was only “a matter of time” before the Assad regime fell.

In reality, the Syrian government is “beginning to turn the tide” in this war in its favor, thanks in part due to “the support” of Russia, according to the Washington Post. In another report, the Post noted: “At the time Obama first called for Assad to step down in August 2011, 2,000 people had died in Syria’s civil war. Today that number exceeds 70,000.” It is absurd to think that the key to keeping that number from continuing to grow somehow lies in Moscow.