Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 04, 2012

Text Of The UNSC Draft On Syria With Russian Changes

Updated below.

There is supposed to be a hot discussion today about a UN Security Council with regard to Syria. To support it the Syrian rebel's Human Rights mouthpiece in London had reported a huge attack by government forces on Homs with alleged over 200 killed. That totally unconfirmed report was widely repeated in the western press but will have little to do with UNSC outcome.

The western countries at the UN Security Council want a hard resolution against Syria. Russia, China and other states fear that a resolution, if not formulated very well, could eventually be interpret as a demand for regime change in Syria or as permission to use of force against the Syrian government.

After a Russian draft resolution was earlier rejected a one draft was put forward officially by Marocco. But in fact the new draft had been edited by a member of the British UN delegation.

This draft refers to a plan by the Arab League that demands Assad to step down and to give the power to his vice president who would then head a somehow installed "unity government".  A few month ago Saudi Arabia had put forward a similar plan for Yemen which was eventually officially agreed to but which predictably ended in chaos. The Arab League plan is the main point where Russia and others object. The current western draft is "in accordance with" the Arab League plan. Russia wants the resolution to refer to the Saudi plan only as "taken into account."

A showdown was planned for last week when the Foreign Ministers of France, the UK and the United States showed up a SC to push their resolution through. The planned party went awry as the Russian foreign minister did not show up as the west had planned for. Lavrow, travelling down under, simply did not pick up the phone for over 24 hours when Clinton tried to call him to demand his attendance.

The western resolution has been discussed for several days now but Russia and China still promise to veto it in its current form. Russia has now put forward changes it demands before it to sign onto it. Below I show parts (the complete text can be found here) of the western resolution in green and the changes Russia is demanding as strike-outs or in red. Judge for yourself if they are justified.

The Security Council,

pp1 Recalling the presidential statement of 3 August 2011,


pp11 Welcoming the engagement of the Secretary-General and all diplomatic efforts aimed at addressing the situation, and noting in this regard the offer of the Russian Federation to host a meeting in Moscow, in consultation with the League of Arab States,

pp11b Expresses support for the broad trend of political transition to democratic, plural political systems in the Middle East,

1. Condemns the continued widespread and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities, such as especially the use of force against civilians., arbitrary executions, killing and persecution of protestors and members of the media, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, interference with access to medical treatment, torture, sexual violence, and ill-treatment, including against children;
2. Demands that the Syrian government immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, protect its population, fully comply with its obligations under applicable international law and fully implement the Human Rights Council resolutions S-16/1, S-17/1, S-18/1 and the General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/176;


3. Condemns all violence, irrespective of where it comes from, and in this regard demands that all parties in Syria, including armed groups, immediately stop violations of humanrights, all violence or reprisals, including intimidation of civilians and attacks against State institutions, in accordance with the League of Arab States’ initiative;

3b. Calls for all sections of the Syrian opposition to dissociate themselves from armed groups engaged in acts of violence and urges member-states and all those in a position to do so to use their influence to prevent continued violence by such groups;

4. Recalls that all those responsible for human rights violations, including acts of violence, must be held accountable;

5. Demands that the Syrian government, in accordance with the Plan of Action of the League of Arab States of 2 November 2011 and its decision of 22 January 2012, without delay:

(a) cease all violence and protect its population;

(b) release all persons detained arbitrarily due to the recent incidents;

(c) withdraw all Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns, and return them to their original home barracks in conjunction with the end of attacks by armed groups against state institutions and quarter of cities and towns;

(d) guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstrations;

(e) allow full and unhindered access and movement for all relevant League of Arab States’ institutions and Arab and international media in all parts of Syria to determine the truth about the situation on the ground and monitor the incidents taking place; and

(f) allow full and unhindered access to the League of Arab States’ observer mission;

6. Calls for an inclusive Syrian-led political process conducted in an environment free from violence, fear, intimidation and extremism, and aimed at effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of Syria's people, without prejudging the outcome;

7. Fully supports in this regard the League of Arab States’ 22 January 2012 decision to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs, including through commencing a serious political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition under the League of Arab States’ auspices, in accordance with taking into account the timetable set out by the League of Arab States, without prejudging the outcome;

8. Encourages the League of Arab States to continue its efforts in cooperation with all Syrian stakeholders;

9. Calls upon the Syrian authorities, in the event of a resumption of the observer mission, to cooperate fully with the League of Arab States’ observer mission, in accordance with the League of Arabs States’ Protocol of 19 December 2011, including through granting full and unhindered access and freedom of movement to the observers, facilitating the entry of technical equipment necessary for the mission, guaranteeing the mission’s right to interview, freely or in private, any individual and guaranteeing also not to punish, harass, or retaliate against, any person who has cooperated with the mission;

10. Stresses the need for for armed groups not to obstruct the mission’s work and calls upon all to provide all necessary assistance to the mission in accordance with the League of Arab States’ Protocol of 19 December 2011 and its decision of 22 January 2012;


US Ambassador Susan Rice has called the Russian amendments "unacceptable."

I see no problem with them unless of course the west is really aiming for regime change by force. What do readers here think of it?


Now that was fast. The west did not even negotiate about the Russian demanded changes and called for a vote on its version. Russia and China both vetoed the resolution.

Many thanks to UN watchdog Matthew Russell Lee at InnerCityPress who obtained the documents and made them available.

Posted by b on February 4, 2012 at 17:38 UTC | Permalink


Reminds one of those lizards of Borneo(?) reputed to kill their prey through the slow activity of the bacteria in their saliva. One small bite to the rear leg of a water buffalo and the lizard wanders off only to return in a few days to check on the progress of its meal. Days spent supping elsewhere. Just so the platitudes of the Reptilian Order are poison on their own lips. And their victims are human intellects.

W. Symborska, nobel laureate, poet, recently deceased; her only lines I know:

The snake, if he had hands
would say his hands are clean.

Posted by: yes_but | Feb 4 2012 18:09 utc | 1

The National, a paper from the UAE, is already discussing specific war plans: As war engulfs Syria, foreign forces could turn the tide

The best-case scenario would be a two-front war. On the northern front, the Turkish army would push south to take Aleppo and severe Damascus's links to the Syrian Mediterranean region (which contains a large Alawite population). This would reduce the likelihood of a repeat of the battle of Sirte, where Qaddafi loyalists held out for several weeks after the fall of Tripoli.

On the southern front, a combined Jordanian-GCC force would take Al Harisa and Shahba, before pushing on to Damascus. The rationale is based on low population density. The Syrian military may have units that are better trained in defensive asymmetric warfare, which would fortify themselves in urban environments, having learnt from the experience of Hizbollah in Lebanon. The southern approaches to Damascus are relatively flat, supported by a road network and have a lower population density, allowing a mobile offensive that avoided urban areas and minimised civilian casualties.

Posted by: b | Feb 4 2012 18:30 utc | 2

Could this be what's holding up the bombing of Iran?

Posted by: ben | Feb 4 2012 18:39 utc | 3

@ben - na - that's old news. But taking down Syria is part of USrael's plan to take down Hizbullah and Iran too.

Posted by: b | Feb 4 2012 18:58 utc | 4

Adding- Lavrov, who today met Clinton in Munich, has left after the veto to fly to Damascus.

I find it likely that there will be discussions about defense strategies, additional weapon support and maybe even a few Russian regiments as support, especially to secure Tartus harbor.

Posted by: b | Feb 4 2012 19:01 utc | 5

b --you don't think the Russians would connive with the US to stab their Syrian client in the back? --do you? I thought the Russians were committing themselves to stop this takedown. How in the fuck can they let Syria get carved up now, and make any pretense of defending Iran from attack later?

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 4 2012 19:23 utc | 6

@Copeland - How in the fuck can they let Syria get carved up now, and make any pretense of defending Iran from attack later?

The Russians would not pretend of defending Iran. The takedown of Iran at their southern flank would be a MAJOR danger for them. Putin certainly knows that and would react accordingly.

Posted by: b | Feb 4 2012 19:33 utc | 7

they have lost all coherence. No sharehoulder would accept this kind of garbage from a CEO.

there is also this -

once there have to be dementis they are confirmation, no?

what are we walking into - a new cold war?

Posted by: somebody | Feb 4 2012 19:50 utc | 8

Yes, b, but it would be appeasement of the worst kind. You know, "the neck bone's connected to the collar bone"? Russia will toss Syria on the table like a chip in a poker game? Offering the neck of Lebanon, or what's left of it as well? --to the West? Are they afraid that NATO will just vault over UN authority and end up bombing Russia's open port in the Med?

I hope you are wrong about this. It seems to me the Iranians would be deeply undermined by such a decision; and I don't know how valuable they would consider Russian help to be, after this decision goes down. Surely the Russians are not so craven, and are smarter than to do that.

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 4 2012 19:53 utc | 9

I doubt Russia would "sell out" Syria. Not because of any high principles that they have, but because they need Syria to remain in their corner. The Tartus naval base is Russia's only presence in the Mediterranean, without it, it would be another rollback of Russian strategic depth. Then there are 10's of billions in weapons deals to consider with Syria being one of the largest foreign buyers of Russian military hardware. Roll into this the more fuzzy damage of losing its only solid ally in the Middle East and Russia has plenty of reasons not to sellout Syria.

I just read that UN Ambassador Susan Rice called the Russia/China veto was "disgusting". More of this fake moral outrage from the Americans. Maybe some journalist should ask her if the 1 Million dead Iraqi's was "disgusting"? Or the 100,000 + Afghans killed if that was disgusting? Surely Susan Rice would have no objections to Israel killing 200 Lebanese or 200 Palestinians. But now when its a regime that she dislikes doing the killing she pretends like she is some noble "defender of the Arab masses".

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 4 2012 20:34 utc | 10

Russia obviously doesn't want to lose its base in Tartus but that doesn't explain its veto; China also vetoed the resolution but has no bases in Syria. The point is that both countries clearly see that this resolution sets a new precedent for the institutionalisation of regime change by the NATO powers at the UNSC. With this no country could be sure of its national independence - including Russia and China.

Posted by: JohnE | Feb 4 2012 21:24 utc | 11

Indeed, this is nothing but "regime change" as US/NATO want. The Report of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria (McAuley 12-21687 p.2 & p.4) noted in Homs and Dera'a "...escalation of violence perpetrated by armed groups in the city. There had been instances of kidnapping and sabotage of Government and civilian facilities" and "...armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles." This is an indication that armed groups are instigating violence. How would the US regime react if this was happening in their country? (check WACO siege 1993). In addition,the report shows, the Syrian Govt has adhered amply to the demands of the League of Arab States Observers.

Posted by: Marls | Feb 5 2012 0:45 utc | 12

I can't find a reference, in b's excerpt (thanks!), to the request that Assad step down; is it because Russia didn't object to that part?

could it be that what Russia didn't like of Libya's outcome was that the West proceeded without further consultations?

(I don't trust Putin; I suspect the real resistance comes from the army, like in Pakistan)

Posted by: claudio | Feb 5 2012 1:42 utc | 13

Obama is the epitome of a weak president.

He did everything the bankers wanted. But they still complained. And Obama gave them more.

Then he gave Israel everything they wanted. But they still complained loudly. And so Obama gave them more. Now will he go to war for them against Iran?

Then he gave the Saudis everything they wanted. But they still complained loudly. And Obama gave them more. Now will he go to war for them against Iran and Syria?

Obama is the Great Appeaser? Is there anything he won't do to appease the powerful?

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 5 2012 2:20 utc | 14

Romney of course is calling Obama weak. And you can bet he's hearing it from Susan and Hillary. They will probably want Russia and China punished.

Posted by: dh | Feb 5 2012 2:24 utc | 15

debka says Russian has put its special forces units in Black Sea bases on the ready to set out for Syria and defend Damascus.

Posted by: nikon | Feb 5 2012 2:31 utc | 16

Invoking R2P, the West got Russia and China on board to pass UNSC 1973. The West then proceeded to abuse this resolution to pursue regime change in Libya. Now the chickens have come home to roost. Russia and China aren't about to be fooled again.

Posted by: Patrick Cummins | Feb 5 2012 3:27 utc | 17

What about that Homs report? Do you have any information to confirm or debunk the claim of 200 dead, and the circumstances behind any deaths?

And why do you need to write "western" and other words in italics every single time? The people who read your blog don't need italics to understand you point.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Feb 5 2012 3:42 utc | 18

Russia, US Acting Together . . [?]

"The Syrian crisis has shown once again that the members of the UN Security Council are much more interested in the strategic chess game than the number of civilians who have lost their lives. To give their decision on what to do about this crisis, great powers don’t look only at Syria but at the whole region’s map and try to predict what the future influence zones of the great powers will be. The two major players in this process are Russia and the US.

Washington’s aim is to build a solid cooperation with Russia, bypass Europe and compete with China. Russia is not against this project but it still isn’t sure that supporting the US in its rivalry with China will serve Russian interests. As the US hasn’t provided any guarantees so far, Russia is trying to keep the EU card at hand."

[snip . . .]

"If such a partnership is established, the assistance of several European countries will no longer be required by Russia and the US. That’s why the EU countries that have noticed this process are now trying to push Turkey off the game. Three of the countries with which the US and Russia may cooperate are close to Turkey: Syria, Iran and Armenia.

So the easiest way to stop Turkey playing a positive role is to provoke it to intervene militarily in Syria, to encourage it to adopt a harder line against Iran and to damage its relations as much as possible with Armenia.

Guess which European country is trying to do all this."

Posted by: Hu Bris | Feb 5 2012 4:28 utc | 19

Yep Hubris, that article sums it up.

Geographically it is clear that France would get involved in the Mediterranean, whilst Germany's interests lie with Russia. It is not clear that Europe is going to survive as a unit.
It is fun to have three superpowers, and a few smaller powers to choose from in today's world ...
US deciding to withdraw from Afghanistan is bad news for a few people (including peace with the Taliban)

US/UK/France are trying to play the Islamist card - again - too. And sure, Turkey is a competitor.

When will people wise up to that it is better for their interests to live with a neighbour than to fight that neighbour with the support of outside powers?

Posted by: somebody | Feb 5 2012 7:43 utc | 20

I guess the plan is to integrate Arab countries into NATO ... which would make sense for everybody just Israel would be a problem ...

Posted by: somebody | Feb 5 2012 9:17 utc | 21

Washington’s aim is to build a solid cooperation with Russia, bypass Europe and compete with China.

The United States is going about it in a very funny way what with installing missile defence systems in eastern Europe that are only there to neuter Russia missile capabilities.

Posted by: blowback | Feb 5 2012 12:50 utc | 22

@Copeland - Russia will toss Syria on the table like a chip in a poker game?

Certainly not - you got my comment in 7 wrong. That was only said with regard to Iran. Russia will stand by Syria.

@claudio - I can't find a reference, in b's excerpt (thanks!), to the request that Assad step down;

Its: "in accordance with (taking into account) the timetable set out by the League of Arab States,"

That timetable in the Saudi plan is about Assad stepping down. Russia would not allow to act "in accordance" with that.

@Inkan1969 - Do you have any information to confirm or debunk the claim of 200 dead, and the circumstances behind any deaths?

Yes. Buried deep in an otherwise complete propaganda piece in today's NYT:

The attack in Homs, a city in central Syria that has emerged as the center of the uprising, began Friday night after Syrian Army defectors attacked two military checkpoints and captured soldiers there, activists said. One activist put the number of abducted soldiers at 13, another at 19. They suggested that enraged commanders then ordered the assault, which lasted from about 9 p.m. on Friday to 1 a.m. on Saturday, focusing on the neighborhood of Khaldiya. Five other neighborhoods were also assaulted.

There were contradictory reports about casualties. Homs has been largely inaccessible to journalists and difficult to reach by phone.

So the rebels started the fight by abducting Syrian soldiers just the night before the UNSC vote. Looks like planned and coordinated just like the coordinated attacks on Syrian embassies yesterday in five countries.

@Hu Bris - that article by that Turkish (AKP) author is idiotic analysis. There is no U.S. Russian cooperation.

@all - so how will this continue?

From the NYT piece:

In Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy said France was consulting with its European and Arab partners to create a “group of friends of the Syrian people” to support the Arab League plan. “France is not giving up,” he said.

Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador, said the United States would explore ways with its allies to continue to “ratchet up the pressure” on Damascus, including further sanctions.

Sarkozy and the zionists around him will provide even more weapons and training to the Salafi rebels in Syria. The big question mark here is Turkey. Turkey wants the new Russian south-stream pipeline through its country. Russia could probably use that as a pressure point.

Posted by: b | Feb 5 2012 12:50 utc | 23

Russia is turning off gas supply to EUrope

Posted by: nikon | Feb 5 2012 14:59 utc | 24

@Hu Bris - that article by that Turkish (AKP) author is idiotic analysis. There is no U.S. Russian cooperation.

they kind of tried - remember the "reset"?

Analysis: U.S., Russia resetting "reset" button in relations.

Turkey will keep out. For the reasons the AKP analyst mentions.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 5 2012 15:01 utc | 25

On the Turkish role on Syria and generally there was this Nir Rosen tweet a few days ago. Nir has spent most of the last 3 months in Syria only getting back in January. He tweeted:

"Is it a secret that Erdogan is dying of cancer? that may have some interesting effects on regional events."

Moving off that I tried researching any info on his condition. Could only find info from the Mossad gossip shop Debka file. They say he has Rectosigmoid cancer is staying in the Hacettepe Hospital in Ankara also that local journalists are saying he has set up a special room inside the hospital to conduct "the affairs of state".

Onto Iran sanctions news Al Akhbar has this headline "US Iran sanctions in trouble as Sri Lanka latest country to sidestep."


US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing, Luke Bronin, flew in for a one-day visit on Thursday to meet a host of government officials to explain the options available and the impact on Sri Lanka. A senior government official directly involved in Sri Lanka's payments to Iran who met with Bronin said he offered a potential solution.

"I don't know whether it was deliberate or it was accidental, but he said they are only concerned about transactions done in dollars, so that was a hint to us," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. /blockquote>

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 5 2012 15:06 utc | 26

@John H,
I'm not sure of the facts
charts and stats bore me
and maybe it's just racist bigotry
on my part, bud didn't blacks
in droves
vote their dusky champion
to the Lizard Party's joy?
Obama was their man
or is that boy?

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 5 2012 17:30 utc | 27

@b --I think I misread your comment #5; I thought you were implying that Russia would make a trade on the language of the resolution, if it was agreed they could garrison and hold Tartus. I misunderstood.

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 5 2012 17:30 utc | 28

What happens next depends largely on what Mr Lavrov says to Mr Assad on Tuesday - if it becomes clear that Russia will support Syria through the difficulties then expect a "contact group on Syria" to be formed between the US, EU, Turkey and some of the Arab League countries - with its headquaters either in Qatar or Turkey. This will then include increasing the funding of the opposition groups and arming and training them and to escalate things by taking the battle to Damascus and Alepo.

Iraq is threathening Turkey of cancelling a $20+billion trade deal with its efforts to remove Assad from power.

The Gulf autocrats want Assad gone and it seems nothing will get in their way so all their resources is been thrown at it.

So far Iran has been silent on Syria- Ay. Khamenie did not mention Syria in his speech on Friday. I wonder what they are up to. But I expect Iran to fight to defend Syria as per their defense agreement with her.

Posted by: Irshad | Feb 5 2012 20:34 utc | 29

Teheran does not want to get on the wrong side of the Muslim brotherhood and Turkey.

Now, does the Muslim brotherhood and Turkey really want to be clients of France and the US.

And, how does the Muslim brotherhood feel about being clients of Gulf Emirates?

Posted by: somebody | Feb 5 2012 22:10 utc | 30

and if it is now Russia, China and Iran against US, Europe and the Gulf Emirates,where are the bets?

Posted by: somebody | Feb 5 2012 22:47 utc | 31

Now that was fast. The west did not even negotiate about the Russian demanded changes and called for a vote on its version

The "West" was evidently happy to be vetoed. Rice called the veto "disgusting". Was the disgust a success? Well, perhaps. The US interest, driven by Israel as always, must be to turn Syria into a permanent mess, not that one side or the other should win. Indeed it would be a mistake if the Salafists, the main support of the opposition in Syria, actually won.

Posted by: alexno | Feb 5 2012 23:18 utc | 32

Those "200 dead in Homs"

From a BBC reporter who is there:

There were very inflated claims for the numbers of deaths in last night's assault at the beginning - figures of 200 and even higher were being discussed. But now independent and reputable human rights groups are talking about a death toll in the region of 55.

Posted by: b | Feb 6 2012 6:24 utc | 33

"Teheran does not want to get on the wrong side of the Muslim brotherhood and Turkey.
Now, does the Muslim brotherhood and Turkey really want to be clients of France and the US.
And, how does the Muslim brotherhood feel about being clients of Gulf Emirates?"

The egyptian muslim brotherhood has very close relation to Iran

Posted by: nikon | Feb 6 2012 7:03 utc | 34

Rice called the veto "disgusting".
Was she talking about the US vetos of all those UN resolutions on ISRAELI murder and theft in Lebanon and Palestine?

Posted by: boindub | Feb 6 2012 10:55 utc | 35

If IRAN attacks ISRAEL the USA et al will attack it, remove all its heavy weapons and have regieme change.
If ISRAEL attacks IRAN the USA et al will attack it, remove all its heavy weapons and have regieme change.
Problem solved. Give me another.

Posted by: boindub | Feb 6 2012 12:04 utc | 36

yep boindub there is still Iraq and Afghanistan to solve ... your ideas?

UN should seriously rethink the Right to Protect
it is an incentive to produce (in whatever way) civilian deaths, plus a pretext for sending refugees back to "pacified" warzones that are unlivable.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 6 2012 14:01 utc | 37

Xymphora had a nice take on the US of A's reaction to the Sino-Russian veto.

"Hillary and Susan Rice stumbled around like rented mules being beaten to death by Jewish Billionaires."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7 2012 0:53 utc | 38

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