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Eye On The World – UN Security Council Meets Over Syria

Radio Wammo: Eye On The World – With Glenn Williams & Selwyn Manning

Glenn Williams hosts Eye On The World, a weekly look at foreign affairs with Scoop's Selwyn Manning. This week: The USA, Britain, Germany & Turkey urge the United Nations security council to intensify diplomatic pressure and pass a resolution against Syria.

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RUN-SHEET Eye On The World – August 03 2011.

The United States, Britain and Turkey are key players pushing the United Nations security council to intensify diplomatic pressure against Syria.

The move follows a week of increasingly deadly violence in Syria where members of pro-democracy groups have been targeted by the Syrian state's security forces.

Over the past week, information has been emerging from Syria that shows the security forces have been sweeping through villages and towns believed to be housing civilians who want to replace Syria's Bashar al-Assad's.

AUDIO AT HALF VOLUME
0:01 TO 0:15


This footage shows a gapping wound inflicted on this seven year old boy's neck, apparently he was shot as Syria's forces fired indiscriminently against civilians.

There is also footage that shows a man who was tortured then killed. It is believed he is a victim of the Syrian security forces as they swept through villages.


This footage from RT News shows the violence that was dumped on the people of Hama over the weekend.

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President Assad's forces have been apprehending, injuring, and killing those who seek democracy in Syria. Its President Assad refuses to allow media to operate within Syria, a move that has made it difficult for outside nations and agencies to independently assess what is occuring inside Syria.

This footage shows a lone man videoing Syrian tanks combing the streets.

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Under the handle 'FreeSyria13' he writes: “Please help to get the words out there the government is stopping media from reporting so we as the people must do everything we can...”

Over the past week, Al Jazeera cited unconfirmed reports that Syria's military had surrounded the resort town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border. Al Jazeera reported that the Military was preventing people from entering or exiting the area with checkpoints throughout the town.

This footage all but proves those accounts.

Residents of Hama told Al Jazeera that Syrian security forces were shelling and firing on civilians as residents were breaking their daily dawn-to-dusk fast on the first day of Ramadan.

In Deir ez-Zor, a civilian witness told Al Jazeera that "Military forces had stormed the city from the west side and 25 people are killed and more than 65 injured."

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While those seeking democracy in Syria defy the Syrian state's forces...

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The United Nations security council has until now remained divided over Syria.

The United Nations backed air attacks against Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have left Russia and China loathed to allow the security council to authorise another international force to strike against Syria.

Last month, the western alligned members of the security council eased off threats that the Syrian president must order his forces to cease firing on civilians.

But the violence of this past week suggests the USA, Britain and now Turkey will not be silenced any more.

Yesterday Turkey President Abdullah Gul criticised Syria for using excessive force including tanks against its own people. Gul said the violence against Syria's civilians over the last week “has horrifies us”.

AUDIO OF TURKEY'S FOREIGN MINISTER AHMET DAVUTOGLU
0:01 to 0:32

And the United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton urged the UN security council to condemn Syria over its sustained violence against pro-democracy protesters.

Clinton appealled to Russia and China saying “Those members of the United Nations security council - who have opposed any security council action that would call on Assad to stop the killing - to reconsider their positions.”

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The pressure may be working, but it is not working for Syrians targeted by their own government.

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This footage shows a group of young men videoing a presinct under Syrian troop control. All appears safe, relatively, while wrecage smoulders on the road and smoke billows from the buildings. Then all hell breaks loose...

This violence has caused the Russian Foreign Ministry to issue a statement saying: “The use of force against both peaceful civilians and representatives of state structures is unacceptable and should be stopped immediately," the foreign ministry said.

"We are calling on the Syrian government and the opposition to demonstrate the utmost restraint, renounce provocations and repressions and observe the rule of law and respect for international human law."

But Russia's Ambassador to the UN said yesterday that a security council resolution would be “somewhat excessive”.

Britain is seeking UN sanctions. Its foreign minister insists though this move cannot be solely a western initiative.


AUDIO OF BRITAIN'S FOREIGN MINISTER WILLIAM HAGUE
0:40 to 1:06


In April: Britain, France, Germany and Portugal - tabled a draft resolution before the security council. But Rusia, China, Brazil, India, and South Africa ensured the resolution was not voted on. Lebanon is also n the surity council. Its government is largely pro-Syrian.

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But the division among security council members is changing.

Yesterday the UN security council circulated a revised draft resolution condemning the Syrian government's protester crackdown.

India has just assumed the UN security council presidency for August. And in a show or authoritative leadership its diplomats demanded Syria 'rein in its troops'.

The United States position is that if the European nations along with Turkey successfully push through a resolution, then the US will back that.

On Monday, the European Union expanded its sanctions against Syria, imposing asset freezes and travel bans against some Syrian government officials.

Currently, the United States is preoccupied with its domestic politics. And as we reported last week cuts to its federal operating budget will see cutbacks to the USA's defence spending.

Geopolitically however, the United States under President Barack Obama, has seen the superpower returning to mulilateralism rather than the bilaterial coalitions established by the George W. Bush Administration.

What that means is the United States is today more likely to fight its wars on humanitarian grounds and through the United Nations rather than on its own with a rag tag bunch of sicophantic war mongers tagging along for the ride.

ENDS

Eye On The World broadcasts on KiwiFM and Radio Wammo at 7:40am on Tuesdays. Video on demand episodes also webcast on Scoop.co.nz.

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