Saying "we all have a choice — stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton just urged the U.N. Security Council to support an Arab League call for "a negotiated, peaceful political solution to this crisis and a responsible, democratic transition in Syria" that would lead to the end of President Bashar Assad's regime.
'To date the evidence is clear that Assad's forces are initiating nearly all the attacks that kill civilians," Clinton said, "but as more citizens take up arms to resist the regime's brutality, violence is increasingly likely to spiral out of control."
"We all know that change is coming to Syria," Clinton added. "Despite its ruthless tactics, the Assad regime's reign of terror will end and the people of Syria will have the chance to chart their own destiny. The question is how many more innocent civilians will die before this country is able to move forward toward the kind of future it deserves."
While Russian diplomats have said they will block any such vote by the Security Council because they oppose what they see as a solution similar to the international effort that helped topple Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, Clinton rejected the comparison, saying:
"I know that some members here are concerned that we are headed toward another Libya. That is a false analogy. Syria is a unique situation that requires its own approach, tailored to the specific circumstances occurring there. And that is exactly what the Arab League has proposed — a path for a political transition that would preserve Syria's unity and institutions."
As The Associated Press reminds us:
"The U.N. has said more than 5,400 people have been killed in violence since March. At least 190 more were killed in the past five days."
"The Moroccan-sponsored draft resolution" being debated by the Security Council, Voice of America reports, has the support of the Arab League, U.S., France and Britain. "Western news agencies that obtained copies of the document say it endorses an Arab League plan requiring Syrian President Assad to transfer power to a deputy and form a unity government to prepare for elections under international supervision. They say the draft also warns of unspecified further measures if Syria does not comply."
Clinton told the Security Council that:
"The United States urges the Security Council to back the Arab League's demand that the Syrian Government immediately stop all attacks against civilians and guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstrations. In accordance with the Arab League's plan, Syria must also release all arbitrarily detained citizens, return its military and security forces to their barracks, and allow full and unhindered access for monitors, humanitarian workers, and journalists.
"And we urge the Security Council to back the Arab League's call for an inclusive Syrian-led political process to effectively address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of Syria's people, conducted in an environment free from violence, fear, intimidation, and extremism."