For the second time in several months, Russia and China have vetoed a UNSC resolution concerning Syria. The double veto last Saturday especially irritated the US and European leaders because they thought that the Arab League’s proposal had been revised several times to meet Russia’s demands. Russia argued that the western states had rushed the vote, despite its request to wait until after its diplomatic envoys visit Damascus on Tuesday. Both the west and Russia have reasons to maintain this bizarre diplomatic faceoff, but the true reasons are not necessarily the stated ones.
Russia’s hardline position must be understood in the context of its internal and regional politics. The same can be said about the Arab League’s proposal, which called on Assad to step down. Recent history, too, plays a major role in this clash between Russia and the US, a replay of Cold War era rhetoric.
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