UN Suspends Monitoring Mission in Syria Due to Worsening Violence

Foreign meddling on behalf of all sides in Syria has ruined prospects for a negotiated settlement

by John Glaser, June 16, 2012

The United Nations said Saturday it has suspended its monitoring mission in Syria due to worsening violence, indicating a complete failure of the peace effort there.

“There has been an intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past 10 days,” said Gen. Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria.

“This escalation is limiting our ability to observe, verify, report as well as assist in local dialogue and stability projects — basically impeding our ability to carry out our mandate.”

For now, the White House has officially opposed direct military intervention on the grounds that it would lead to greater chaos and escalate the humanitarian crisis in the country.

“We do not believe that militarization, further militarization of the situation in Syria at this point is the right course of action,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said. “We believe that it would lead to greater chaos, greater carnage.”

While the Obama administration rightly opposes military intervention, they have unfortunately already begun providing lethal and non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. This, despite the fact that the rebel fighters have committed serious atrocities themselves and that al-Qaeda elements are known to cooperate in the rebel fight against Assad.

That said, the Obama administration is currently providing both lethal and non-lethal aid to these disparate groups of thuggish militias. As Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and an expert on Syria, wrote in Foreign Policy this month, “Let’s be clear: Washington is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria. The United States, Europe, and the Gulf states want regime change, so they are starving the regime in Damascus and feeding the opposition.”

This is exacerbating the conflict, increasing and prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people.  Support for the Assad regime from Russia and Iran and for the opposition from the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf is emboldening both sides and preventing either from giving up and ceding to a political transition.

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