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.

 

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

Scottish independence campaigners find support in Palestinian bagpipers

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'

Egypt court bails top 2011 revolt activist

Iran rejected US request to cooperate against IS

Iran ridicules anti-jihadist international conference

Egypt textile factory collapse kills six

Mali separatists agree to speak with one voice

Qatar starts to curb Brotherhood’s activities

Coalition meets in Paris to plan fight against IS

Around 930 French citizens or residents involved 'in jihad' in Iraq, Syria

Yemen rebels, officials to meet with UN to end standoff

Qatar-based Egypt's Brotherhood leaders to relocate

Cameron chairs emergency meeting over British hostage beheading

Hollande defends arming Kurds against IS