[Long good Analysis about Syria]
The Syrian regime is aggressively stepping up repression following Russia's and China's veto of a UN Security Council resolution--pushed by the U.S. and its allies--that calls for the withdrawal of the Syrian military from cities and town.
China and Russia claim they blocked the UN resolution because it didn't encourage dialogue between the opposition and the regime. But both governments calculate that a UN resolution on sanctions would lead to a Libya-type military intervention, which would further extend the influence of the West in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, key parts of the Syrian regime around President Bashar al-Assad seem to have decided that there will be no reliable exit from the crisis through a negotiated transition or safe departure and exile--and therefore they will plunge the country into civil war. In the almost 11 months since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution, some 7,000 people have been killed, according to opposition activists.
To try to crush the revolution, Assad is trying to channel it into a sectarian civil war. It's no coincidence that as the UN debated its resolution, the Syrian military launched a mortar attack on the central city of Homs, a predominately Sunni Muslim town. Reports from the city stated that more than 200 civilians died over the weekend of February 4 and 5 as a result of artillery and mortar attacks against neighborhoods.
......Looking at the interests of the various players--the U.S./Israel, Russia/China, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood--it is clear that Syria is at the nexus of an international power struggle, the outcome of which can affect the entire region. Hafez al-Assad, the father of the current ruler, was adept at maneuvering Syria into precisely that position in order to get international consent as a state of regional significance.
Thus, the claim that what is taking place is simply a Western-hatched conspiracy against Syria misses the mark by a wide margin.
At best, this argument reflects a condescending view of the Syrian people as incapable of self-mobilization and completely ignores the social crisis faced by Syrians under an illegitimate dictatorship. At worst, it shows a hollow understanding of anti-imperialism--one that opposes any struggle for self-emancipation against an absolute ruler who says something half-critical of the U.S., even while the regime carves out a mutually beneficial relationship with imperialism.