Monday, October 31, 2005

Assad Stabbed by U.N.

AP reports:

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Monday demanding Syria's full cooperation with a U.N. investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister and warning of possible "further action" if it doesn't...

The three co-sponsors agreed to drop a direct threat of sanctions against Syria in order to get support from Russia and China, which opposed sanctions while the investigation is still under way. Nonetheless, the resolution was adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which is militarily enforceable.

In other words, the U.N. Security Council decided to skip the economic sanctions threat and proceed directly to the implicit threat of armed force. I agree with Doha: the Syrian regime made its biggest mistake when it decided to assassinate Mr. Hariri. With the interior minister dead, another supporting thug rumored to have fled, Lebanon blocking its proxies, and the opposition uniting, what we may be witnessing is the disintegration of an authoritarian regime: Either Asad obeys the U.N. and his supporters flee or his tyranny ceases to be effective, or Assad rejects the U.N. and another Ba'athist regime becomes an international outlaw. Removing the threat of economic sanctions as an intermediate step implies that the usual diplomatic dithering is out: it has to be all or nothing.

What route will Asad take? Rejection, and the path of Milosevic's Serbia? Or acceptance of his fate, perhaps a rich but semi-humiliating exile as the Italian dukes chose in the nineteenth century? Assad must be suffering from the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times!"

No comments: