January 31st, 2012
10:30 AM ET

Diplomacy in Syria: 9 months of sanctions, suspensions and vetoed resolutions

Sanctions, suspensions, monitors: The international community has been trying to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis for almost a year. 

In May, the European Union placed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and nine other senior members of his government.

As violence escalated over the following five months, a European-backed resolution condemning Syria - but lacking sanctions - was put before the U.N. Security Council in October. But permanent Security Council members Russia and China vetoed that resolution.

In November, the Arab League got involved, signaling its unhappiness with Syria by suspending its membership in the group.

On December 19, Syria signed an accord with the Arab League, saying it would withdraw armed forces from residential areas and let observers into the country. That same day, a vote in the U.N. General Assembly condemned the security crackdown.

On Saturday,  the Arab League suspended its mission to monitor whether al-Assad was abiding by an agreement to end the crackdown, which reportedly has left thousands of civilians dead.

This week, the U.N. Security Council is considering another resolution that calls for al-Assad to transfer power. The draft resolution also demands the government end the violence, pull back its heavy weaponry from residential areas, allow monitors to operate freely, release political prisoners and allow the news media to operate.

"It is primarily a straightforward condemnation of what has transpired, a call upon the government of Syria to adhere to the commitments it made," Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said about the draft. She noted that it contains no sanctions nor does it threaten the use of force.

Russia - which maintains trade relations with Syria - has proposed its own draft U.N. resolution that assigns equal blame for the violence on both al-Assad and the opposition.

More on the challenges in Syria:

Where is Syria crisis heading? 

In Syria, many caught in the middle

Dangerous cat-and-mouse game

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Filed under: Syria
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Rudy

    Arab Spring? We will all live to regret it. The majority gets nothing and the explosive minority will be worst off. The problem is not really about freedom but rather lack of opportunity because these countries are poor. Look at Soudie Arabia and other wealthy arab nations. They have greater tranquility than we have in North America. We are preyed by an empty Press that creates the news to fill their 24 hour operation and alas, we don't even know it.

    January 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Samuel (Sam) Getaneh Bogale Kathy Stumm-Bogale Calgary Alberta

    Our hearts go out to the people of Syria as their country goes through this time of great uncertainty and transition hopefully to a much brighter future!

    January 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BOMBO ©

    Rudy has a good point. I've known a few people who have worked in the ME, and they say Saudi Arabia is the most restrictive society in the area. People care more about where their next meal is coming from and if they can get a job than they do about freedom. The Arab spring was at least as much about economic hardship as it was about freedom.

    January 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Black Rat

    There is no such thing as freedom, unless you are the powers that be

    January 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Black Rat

    There is no such thing as freedom, unless you are the powers that be bottom line

    January 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Patriot

    Arab League has no influence with nobody, Russia and China well do we need to say more. The UN well except for Western Nations that is nothing. I can't understand how countries around the world can watch while these people are being slaugher being either on the government side or opposition. I guess the human mentally is still barbaric in seeing our own human beings being slaugher like this. We all live on this small planet All counties are responsible for other countries behavior and protection of all citizens where ever they live

    February 1, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |