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2012年7月23日 (月)

シリア情勢 アサド政権がほころび始めた

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 23, 2012)
Assad regime appears to be fraying from within
シリア情勢 アサド政権がほころび始めた(7月22日付・読売社説)

The civil war in Syria continues to intensify.

The fact that the U.N. Security Council is dysfunctional and has been unable to work out effective measures to end the civil war is profoundly serious.

In the heart of Damascus, the national security headquarters was attacked by a suicide bomber on Wednesday. The attack killed senior government officials in a meeting, including the defense minister, the chief of the National Security Bureau and the deputy defense minister, President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law.

An anti-Assad regime group, the Free Syrian Army, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Although security in Damascus had been relatively stable until recently, attacks by rebel forces in the capital have been occurring one after another since the middle of this month.

The fact that the inner core of the Assad government has been hit directly in the uprising in spite of the regime's heavy security measures is of grave significance.


No ceasefire in sight

A stream of defections has begun among the country's elites, such as the ambassador to Iraq and a brigadier general of an elite military unit. In addition, a large number of Syrian residents are fleeing abroad.

In combination, the armed uprising against the Assad regime and deepening isolation of Damascus seem to have made Assad's hold on power increasingly tenuous.

The forces loyal to the government, whose firepower is superior to that of the rebels, have embarked on fierce retaliatory strikes in Damascus and many other parts of the country.

Both the government and antigovernment forces are bent on escalating the hostilities, and there are no signs of a ceasefire in sight.

Blame for the deterioration of the security conditions in Syria to this extent should be primarily placed on the Assad government. This is because the government, after expressing its intention to accept a six-point peace plan drawn up by joint U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, has failed to carry it out.

Prior to the expiration on Friday of the mandate of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, it is quite natural that the United States and European countries presented a resolution to the Security Council on Thursday, warning the Assad regime of additional economic sanctions. The resolution, however, was vetoed by Russia and China.

This is the third double veto by Moscow and Beijing of a Security Council resolution addressing the Syrian crisis since last year.

The vetoes are part of a pattern of Russia acting in defense of Syria--with which Moscow has strong military ties--and China following along.

Russia should stop trying to help prolong the Assad government, but instead exercise its influence to end the bloodshed.


Spillover to wider region feared

It is regrettable that the Security Council has ended up adopting a resolution simply extending the U.N. observer force's mandate for 30 days.

Given that no ceasefire has been effected, the U.N. observer mission will be limited to such activities as on-the-spot inspections in the event of another massacre of residents of Syria.

In a meeting held in June between permanent members of the Security Council--Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States--and countries neighboring Syria, an agreement was reached on establishment of a provisional government comprising Syrian government members and members of the rebel forces. All countries concerned should increase pressure on Syria to materialize the agreement.

Japan has dispatched transport troops of the Self-Defense Forces on a U.N.-sponsored peacekeeping mission for the purpose of disengaging Syrian and Israeli forces in the Golan Heights.

Further aggravation of the Syrian situation could destabilize the entire Middle East region.

Japan, too, should keep a close watch on how things develop.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 22, 2012)
(2012年7月22日02時01分  読売新聞)


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