Syria Nearing the International Tipping Point — Expect Security Council Action Soon

Earlier this week, I surmised that the growing regional frustration with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was likely to result in stepped up action at the Security Council–possibly including targeted individual sanctions and an ICC referral.

Well, it looks like we are near the point of no-return.  Security Council sanctions seem more likely by the day.

The Security Council meets again today on the Syria situation–less than one week after issuing, by consensus, a strongly worded condemnation of the regime’s crackdown.  Since then, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have pulled their ambassadors; yesterday, Turkey–a former regional friend — sent its foreign minister to talk some sense into Assad. The message was not received. Today, a delegation from Brazil, South Africa and India is visiting Damascus. These are three key “swing votes” on the Security Council. If they get the same treatment as Turkey,  it is hard to see a sanctions resolution not passing unanimously in the Security Council.

Assad is basically setting himself up for a future as an global pariah — and possibly even a wanted outlaw. In 2011, that’s what happens when you go against the advice of friends, allies, and neighbors and use the tools of state power to massacre your own citizens.