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Syria Roulette

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It called for Syrian-led political transition. Its guidelines included establishing a firm timeline. It urged avoiding further bloodshed and violence.

It ignored what Assad already accomplished. In February, Syrians overwhelmingly supported new constitutional provisions by national referendum. Despite opposition boycotts and violence, 89.4% of eligible voters approved it. Another 9% opposed, and 1.2% of ballots were declared invalid.

Among other reforms, political pluralism was established for the first time. So were presidential term limits and press freedom.

On May 7, first time ever parliamentary elections were held. It was a milestone political event. Independent candidates participated. 

Turnout was high. Voting went smoothly. Independent monitors called the process open, free and fair. Ba'ath party members won a 60% majority. Opposition party members were also elected.

Demanding a repeat of what's accomplished responsibly is unconscionable. Thursday's resolution also called for implementing Annan's peace plan, withdrawing troops from populated areas, and effectively surrendering unilaterally.

Other provisions extended the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) another 45 days, made Syrian authorities responsible for "its full unimpeded, and immediate freedom of movement," allowed UN member states the right to provide "appropriate air transportation assets," and permitted "unobstructed communications."

Failure of Syrian compliance within 10 days called for implementing Chapter VII, Article 41. It triggers measures short of armed intervention. 

They "may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

Provisions also called for "assess(ing) the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate." 

Implied was implementing Chapter VII Article 42 measures. They "may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations."

If conflict resolution isn't achieved, subsequent articles authorize force. Article 46 calls for "(p)lans for the application of armed force (to) be made by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee."

Washington and key NATO partners endorse it. Russia and China stand firmly opposed. Following their veto, Western UN envoys denounced them. Moscow UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called their comments "unacceptable."

He accused them of putting their own geopolitical interests ahead of the Syrian people. The Security Council has until midnight Friday to decide whether UNSMIS' mandate will be renewed.

Russia proposed a resolution extending its mission 90 days with no sanctions. Churkin said Western countries stonewalled him. As a result, Moscow won't ask for a Security Council vote.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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