UN General Assembly Backs Regime Change in Syria

Non-Binding Vote Shows Growing Concerns About Rebels

by Jason Ditz, May 15, 2013

The UN General Assembly has passed a non-binding resolution calling for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad and backing the rebellion against him. The vote was opposed by Russia as well as a number of nations expressing concern about foreign intervention in Syria’s ongoing civil war.

Russia was particularly vocal in criticizing the timing of the resolution, coming just after a US-Russian agreement to work toward a negotiated settlement, and expressing concern that the resolution would damage the efforts to start new peace talks.

But perhaps the big news is not that the resolution passed, rather it is that the resolution passed with a fairly narrow majority, only 107 votes out of 193 nations, compared to 133 in a similar vote last year.

The loss of votes in favor of regime change likely reflects a growing concern about the behavior of Syria’s rebels, from attacks on civilians and al-Qaeda ties to a particularly shocking video earlier this week showing a rebel eating a soldier’s heart. While Assad has never had a lot of allies, there seems to be a lot of fear that post-Assad Syria is going to be a big problem for the region.

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