This is an interesting development.
On Saturday, government loyalists attacked the Saudi Arabian and Turkish embassies in Damascus and French consular offices in Latakia and Aleppo. The violence followed an Arab League decision to suspend Syrian membership, and dialogue with opposition.
The attacks prompted the following response from the UN Security Council.
“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attacks against several embassies and consular premises in Syria…[the fifteen members] reiterated their call on the Syrian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel and fully respect their international obligations in this regard”
The statement marked a moment of unity in the bitterly divided Security Council. Last month, Russia and China vetoed a resolution condemning the deadly crackdown on protests by President Bashar al-Assad and warning of possible sanctions.
Today, King Abdullah of Jordan issued a statement calling for Assad to step down.
Diplomatic maneuvers against Assad were accompanied by an escalation in violence on the ground. Syrian activists report that more than 70 people werekilled on Monday, including many Syrian soldiers who were attacked by army defectors in the southern province of Deraa.
That the Syrians are fighting back against government forces suggests outward parallels to Libya, where peaceful protestors have swapped ploughshares for swords to resist an illegitimate regime.
They may have some help. Reports are swirling that Iranian officials have held talks with “moderate” opposition leaders, suggesting that al-Assad is WAY up the creek, sans paddle. I’d hazard that Iranian emissaries won’t enjoy too warm a welcome, considering confessional schisms between the Shi’a Islamic Republic and a more secular-ish, post-Alawite Syria.
Regardless, the outreach — taken in context of Arab League suspension, UN admonishment, and King Abdullah’s rebuke — is indicative of this dictator’s waning reign.