General Assembly Chastises Syria Crackdown

The General Assembly just voted overwhelmingly to urge the Syrian government to end its violent crackdown on protesters.  The vote itself is mostly symbolic — General Assembly resolutions don’t have the force of international law. Still, it is a politically important show of international solidarity against an increasingly isolated Syrian regime.

The vote backs Russia into a corner at the Security Council. Until now, Russia has been adamant that the Security Council should not take up the Syria situation at all. China has its own reservations, but has so far been less strident than Russia in objecting to western-led efforts to impose individual travel bans and asset freezes on top Syrian officials.

The final vote count was 122 in favor, 13 against, 41 abstentions. China and Russia abstained, along with India and South Africa. If China and Russia parlay those abstentions in the Security Council, a Syria sanctions resolution may finally see the light of day.