First Published: 2012-05-31

 

Washington: Action outside UN likely in Syria

 

Rice's remarks appear to signal that Washington, its allies will consider whether to act alone should Russia, China continue to block tough action against Syria.

 

Middle East Online

Worst case scenario in Syria: Proxy war

UNITED NATIONS - The US envoy to the United Nations has warned that UN Security Council members may have to act alone to end the violence in Syria if the crisis worsens and the Council remains divided.

US Ambassador Susan Rice's remarks marked a rhetorical escalation after a massacre last week blamed on a militia loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dealt a major blow to an already fragile UN peace plan.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Rice said if the Syrian government did not adhere to special envoy Kofi Annan's plan, then the UN Security Council had to "assume its responsibilities" and step up pressure on Damascus.

In the absence of either scenario, and if the violence continued to worsen, "then members of this council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they're prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this council."

Urging Security Council penalties on Syria, she sketched out an alternative situation in which violence escalates, spreads to other countries in the region and finally breaks into a sectarian proxy war with arms flowing in from all sides. In that case, she said, Security Council members would be left to consider taking action outside the UN, a scenario she said the US and allies have sought to avoid.

Rice's remarks appeared to signal that Washington and its allies would consider whether to act alone should Russia and China continue to block tough action against Syria over its brutal 14-month crackdown on protests.

"The decision rests, in the first instance, with the Syrian government, whether it will fulfill its commitments. And if it does, then the opposition has an obligation to reciprocate," Rice said.

"If it doesn't, this council has a responsibility to act and act swiftly and surely. And if we don't, then we are all resigning ourselves to a third scenario, which we still hope to avoid."

More than 100 people were killed in the central town of Houla on May 25-26, including 49 children and 34 women, according to UN military observers who visited the site.

Some were blown to bits by artillery and tank fire but most were summarily executed, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. UN officials suspect the massacre was carried out by a pro-government militia.

In a coordinated move on Tuesday, the United States and several Western powers expelled Syrian diplomats over the massacre and warned Assad that time was running out for the battered UN-brokered peace plan.

More than 13,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, since an uprising erupted in March 2011 against the Assad family's 40-year rule, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

 

Iraq forces press Mosul offensive

Tunisian public health sector struggles to heal itself

Morocco fugitive protest leader arrested

Mattis: Civilian deaths a 'fact of life' in war on IS

Syria girls escape war with Snow White

Israel interior minister questioned on graft suspicions

Tunisia security forces kill IS fugitive

Egypt’s left-wing parties start searching for Sisi competitor

Political scandal grips new Algerian government

Jordan gearing up for another Ramadan with refugees

Egypt’s left-wing parties start searching for Sisi competitor

US urged to keep track of its Iraq arms supply

Images emerge of Manchester bomber as runners defy threat

Qatar risks US sanctions over support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

Libya jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution

Iran leader launches fierce attack on ‘milking cow’ Saudis

US-Turkish relations go from bad to worse

Egypt hits jihadists as IS claims deadly attack on Christians

Britain arrests two more in Manchester attack probe

Turkey charges opposition newspaper staff

Death toll in Tripoli clashes reaches 52

Hundreds of migrants rescued in major operation off Libya

Palestinians end mass hunger strike in Israel jails

Egypt Christians bury victims with tears, anger

Ramadan in Libya: little cash, much violence

UN braces for up to 200,000 Iraqis to flee Mosul

Iraq forces launch broad attack on IS holdouts in Mosul

Civilians flee IS-held Syria cities after deadly strikes

At least 28 dead in Tripoli clashes

UN says nations bombing IS must protect civilians

26 killed in attack on Egypt Christians

Turkey identifies 'intelligence weaknesses' before coup attempt

Tunisia opens trial over 2015 beach massacre

Syria army takes control of key road

US-led strikes kill 35 civilians in east Syria

Probe finds over 100 Mosul civilians killed in US air strike

Palestinian president says US should mediate hunger strike

Libya says working closely with Britain over concert attack

EU leaders, Erdogan meet in bid to ease tensions

Myanmar to deport Turkish family wanted for alleged coup links

Iran says it has built third underground missile factory

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US