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.

 

France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China