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Wed Feb 8, 2012, 03:27 PM

Russia U.N. Veto On Syria Aimed At Crushing West's Crusade [View all]

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS | Wed Feb 8, 2012 8:42am EST

(Reuters) - Russia's veto of a Security Council resolution on Syria goes far beyond mere protection for a close ally and arms buyer - it showed Moscow's determination to crush what it sees as a Western crusade to use the United Nations to topple unfriendly regimes.

The same holds true for China, which followed Russia's lead and joined Moscow in its second double veto to strike down a European-Arab draft resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his deputy to prepare free elections.

Russia's move, analysts and diplomats say, was a diplomatic counteroffensive responding to an unusually active period for the Security Council. Last year the 15-nation panel twice adopted resolutions authorizing "all necessary measures" - diplomatic code for military force - in Libya and Ivory Coast.

Libya and Ivory Coast were also the first time the council invoked the Western-backed notion of the "responsibility to protect" civilians threatened by their own governments.



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