The DLR presents a new segment: Your news explained. In it, we explain the news. To you.
Today’s query is on the vote to condemn Syria in the UN, which China and Russia both vetoed. The BBC coverage is linked above.
Hey, DLR, what is this about?
Moscow and Beijing are protecting their allies post-Libya. Losing another ally in the Middle East and watching the Arab spring turn it into a pro-Western haven of democracy is not what they want.
Syrian leader Assad buys Russian kit and is a major ally of Iran, itself drawing on Russian and particularly Chinese support. Syria is a lynchpin: if Damascus falls, Tehran is left with no Arab friends and Hizbullah will find it more difficult to receive arms.
At the same time, keeping Assad in power rather than letting the revolution happen keeps a thorn in the side of the US, tying down its diplomatic capital in a troublesome, small state rather than concentrating on, say, Tibet, the North Caucasus or other interests of Moscow and Beijing.
And finally, neither Russia nor China want to see the UN resolutions become a pretext for military action. The experience of Afghanistan and Libya demonstrate how Western powers like to use UN Security Council resolutions to legitimise their military activity.
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