Speaking to reporters today during a visit to Tripoli, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted that the military alliance has “no intention whatsoever” of attacking Syria the way they attacked Libya.
Instead Rasmussen urged Syria to “accommodate the legitimate aspirations” of Syria’s pro-democracy protesters and to “work toward democracy,” a surprisingly mild comment given the number of NATO member nations calling for Assad’s immediate ouster.
The comments likely don’t reflect a step toward non-interventionism from the alliance, particularly as member nations continue to relish in the “victory” in Libya. Instead, it reflects the practical reality that with both Russia and China vetoing threatening resolutions there is virtually no chance of getting a similar imprimatur from the United Nations.
Indeed even resolutions threatening sanctions have been resisted by Russia on the grounds that NATO might try to extend the mandate the way a “no-fly zone” in Libya turned into nationwide bombardment and regime change.