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The resolution’s demand for “humanitarian” access to Syrians threatened by violence is sufficiently broad to provide a pretext for more direct intervention.
China and Russia, Security Council members with a veto, have so far opposed this. Russia has one of its only two overseas naval bases in Syria, while both countries have their own geo-strategic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean which has newly discovered gas reserves. Non-permanent members of the Security Council such as Brazil, South Africa, India and Lebanon have also indicated that they are opposed to it.
Hague acknowledged, “There is no prospect of getting through the UN a resolution such as the UN resolution 1973 on Libya,” in part at least because there was no clear opposition leadership to deal with and because, as yet, the Arab League has opposed any intervention, providing no legitimising excuse for action.
The major powers are also seeking to use the International Atomic Energy Association, the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna, as an alternative means of either putting pressure on Syria, or further delegitimizing Assad’s rule. The IAEA is to report Syria to the Security Council for what it claims is Syria’s secret nuclear weapons project based at the military site near Deir el-Zour, [possibily] built with collaboration from Iran, which was bombed by Israel in 2007.
Russia is expected to block any Western attempt to have the Security Council sanction Syria over its nuclear program. But the constant efforts to implicate Iran when targeting Syria is a dangerous portent of Syria becoming the starting point for a far broader regional conflict.