by Hashim Arain
Recently, the United Nations Security Council took up a vote on the Arab League’s plan that would have urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power while currently committing horrendous acts against his own people. The majority of the nations on the Security Council were in favor of the vote, all but two: Russia and China. The reason that Russia was against the vote was that according to Reuters, Syria is “Moscow’s only big ally in the Middle East.” China vetoed the vote for similar reasons. These vetoes have received a lot of backlash from the Arab and Western world; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN ambassador to US, Susan Rice have both displayed their disappointment in the vetoes by Russia and China. Similar responses have also been issued by prominent leaders and activists from around the world.
Before the UN took up this vote, the ongoing tension between Assad and his people were very high. The crackdown started 11 months ago, prompting Syrians to stand up like their neighbors did and demand Assad to give up power. The Arab Spring in Syria has been the bloodiest one yet, with Assad’s army murdering thousands of people, including women and children. The Syrian city of Homs, where most of the violence has been taken place, has witnessed the largest number of martyrs and is suffering from both the cold and starvation. Every day the people of Homs are threatened by various attacks and gunshots.
According to MSNBC, people there cannot even go get food for their family because the violence has gotten so extreme. Keep in mind, these are government forces attacking its own people. It is truly alarming to learn that this government is attacking innocent people, innocent children, innocent women.
What puzzles me is it take so long for the UN to take up some sort of action on this? This crackdown has been going on for 11 months, the UN and the Arab League should have done something before the situation got worse. Russia and China should have realized that innocent people are dying, why veto the chance to help them? I believe that you should not vote on something that important for your own reasons, but rather what’s best for that country. The best thing for Syria right now is that they desperately need somebody to help them and to make sure that they know that their voices are being heard throughout the rest of the world. The governments of Russia and China made a huge mistake in making that happen; they only voted based on their interests, not Syria’s, or the rest of the world’s. It’s common sense to vote on this resolution for Syria, but that didn’t bode well with the governments of China and Russia. These two countries have taken a major step backwards in stalling major efforts in helping the suffering people of Syria.