Foreign Policy Blogs

Turkey, UN Maneuvers & Nukes

Another day of Syria dominating the press. I’ll try my best to continue to update things in anticipation of another pivotal friday of protests coming up tomorrow. Check it.

Northern Exposure Continued

I just want to continue to update the Jisr al-Shaggour story. As of this evening, the number of Syrian refugees to have crossed into Turkey is approaching 3000, with that number expected to grow. This is putting some pressure on Turkish PM Erdogan, as Turkish elections are approaching and the Erdogan government has cultivated such close ties with the Syrian regime. For now, Turkey is saying that it will keep the border open in spite of the large numbers of refugees.

Jisr al-Shaggour is a fairly large town, with population estimates I’ve seen ranging between 50,ooo-70,000 residents. The Syrian government continues to push the armed gangs narrative, and violent reprisals are expected tomorrow.

Recently, I criticized the Obama administration for not leaning on Turkey in a more meaningful way as a means of putting pressure on Syria. I would reiterate that criticism, and remind everyone that Turkey is best placed amongst US allies to influence the Assad regime, as they have some real carrots and sticks to utilize.

UN Measures Stall

Britain and France, with US support, have been trying to move a resolution condemning the Syrian government through the Security Council, with limited success.

Russia, a staunch ally of Syria, and China were the most outspoken opponents of the resolution. Apparently, Britain and France expected this opposition and toned down the language significantly from original drafts in order to gain broader support. The remaining text still refers to “systematic” human rights abuses, which may amount to crimes against humanity. Brazil is worried about regional stability. WTF? Did I miss something?

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, was also critical of the Syrian government, calling for a halt on its “continued assault on its own people.” Pillay also described the regime as “bankrupt”; going on to echo the accepted numbers of 1,000 dead and 10,000 detained during the Syrian uprising.

As happens all too often, it appears that a permanent member of the security council will use their veto power to protect an ally.

IAEA and Syrian Nukes

As covered here at FPA Syria, the IAEA has had its eye on Syria for some time. It now looks like the IAEA is going to officially report Syria to the UN security council for failing to cooperate with inspections, and for initiating a nuclear program for non-peaceful purposes.

I would also point readers to the FPA Arms Control & Proliferation blog, who put together a nice little post on the Syrian nuclear issue. This sweet link comes to us from those same heros of the internet.

More to come as the ish continues to hit the fan over the next 24-48 hours.



Walter Raubeson

Walter spent the last two years living and working in Damascus, reporting on the Syrian social, political, and cultural scene. Recently returned to the US, Walter continues to monitor Middle Eastern events with verve, and also gusto.

Having graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science- International Relations-in September 2008, Walter's MA thesis analyzed the Lebanese political system; focusing on the impact of foreign intervention within Lebanon, particularly the roles of Iran, Israel, Syria, and the US.