UPDATE 1:30 P.M.: The draft resolution proposed by the United Kingdom has been dismissed by the Security Council before it could even be put to a vote. The Associated Press reports that objections by Russia led the five permanent members of the council to send back the draft after several hours of fruitless negotiations. There's no word on if it will ever resubmitted or come to a vote. A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said after that there is "no avenue forward" that involves the United Nations.
Original Post (9:00 am.): The United Kingdom will continue to lead the diplomatic effort against Syria as David Cameron announced that they have drafted a resolution to present to the United Nations Security Council today. According to the Prime Minister, the resolution condemns the chemical weapons attack — which the U.N. now admits did happen, even if they haven't assigned blame — and asks for authorization to take "necessary measures" to protect civilians.
There's little chance of the resolution's success, at least at the moment, as Russia does not appear to be wavering in its support of Bashar al-Assad. Their Foreign Ministry said today that it's too soon to bring the case before the Security Council and that everyone should wait for a full report from the U.N. investigators currently in Syria. (Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says they need at least four more days.) The German foreign minister has also piled on the British bandwagon, even specifically calling on Russia to unite with the rest of the international community to support a resolution.
Even without the full report from the inspectors, the U.N.'s envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi admitted today that some chemical "substance" was used in the attack on Damascus last week, but wouldn't go further as to the guilty party. And he also insisted that the U.N. must approve any military response.
A report from Bloomberg News claims that a U.N. official is blaming Maher al-Assad, Bashar's brother and the commander of Syria's most important military units, for ordering the chemical weapon attack. The unnamed official implied that Maher al-Assad gave the order on his own, without presidential approval. That idea sounds plausible, but is also sounds like an attempt to absolve Bashar al-Assad of any responsibility, thus sparing him as a target of retribution.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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