“What’s going on in the Syrian situation,” Golts said, “is some kind of revenge.”
In an effort to overcome Russian objections to the draft, the sponsors of the Syria resolution inserted language that explicitly rules out using the text as a pretext for military action, according to a confidential draft obtained by The Washington Post. On Tuesday, Clinton and other supporters of the Arab League initiative drove home the point, saying they have no intention of using force to topple Assad.
“I know that some members here are concerned that we are headed toward another Libya. That is a false analogy,” Clinton told the council. But she said that Assad’s days are nevertheless numbered. “We know change is coming to Syria. Despite its ruthless tactics, the Assad regime’s reign of terror will end, and the people of Syria will chart their own destiny.”
The draft resolution reiterates the Arab League’s Nov. 2 decision demanding that Syria withdraw its troops from cities, release all political prisoners and provide greater freedom to local and foreign press. It also endorses the Arab League’s Jan. 22 statement outlining a political transition that would require Assad to yield certain powers to a deputy, establish a government of national unity, and prepare the way for free parliamentary and presidential elections.
A copy of the text includes provisions calling on states to prevent the flow of arms into Syria, reinforcing existing Arab League sanctions, and outlining the Arab League’s road map for the transition to a government of national unity.
A senior Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. officials are trying to calculate whether the Russians may shift their stance.
“The question we’re asking the Arabs, both the [Syrian opposition] and the Arab League representatives, is how much of this [text] . . . do you want us to negotiate with the Russians to get them on board, or do you simply want to call the Russians out” and dare them to veto, said the official.
Englund reported from Moscow. Staff writer Karen DeYoung in Washington contributed to this report.