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So far, Russia and China alone prevented war. Whether they'll be as successful ahead looks shaky. They have major interests to protect. As a result, they've stood firm despite relentless scoundrel media criticism and less than diplomatic Washington disapproval.
Calling for Assad's ouster violates international law. Syria's sovereignty is inviolable. Its people alone may decide who leads them. For sure not The New York Times or other governments.
On April 10, a Times Asli Bali/Aziz Rana op-ed headlined, "To Stop the Killing, Deal with Assad," saying:
In Syria, "(a)n authoritarian regime is engaged in brutal repression and large-scale human rights violations."
The same unverified death toll was cited. So were other inaccurate comments.
"....large sections of the country oppose" Assad. (A)ll segments of the civilian population would welcome intervention."
In fact, independent polls show most Syrians support him. The longer Western-generated violence rages, the more it grows. Perhaps both contributors consider it an inconvenient truth. In addition, Syrians deplore intervention and rely on Assad for protection. So do nonviolent internal opposition groups.
Both contributors do favor peaceful resolution, not taking sides in an internal conflict. However, they avoid saying who's responsible, and that international law affirms the right of self-defense.
Moreover, calling Annan's peace plan "a good starting point" misses the issue altogether as explained above. It's not about peace. It's cover for greater intervention, perhaps war.
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