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The international response to Syria's massacre

A woman embraces an injured Syrian boy in a Lebanese Red Cross ambulance.
A woman embraces an injured Syrian boy in a Lebanese Red Cross ambulance.
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International pressure is increasing on Syria after last week’s massacre of over 100 citizens in Houla. Of those killed, women and children comprised the majority. Special United Nations envoy Kofi Annan visited Syria to urge the government to adopt a peace plan. Annan labeled the country as at a “tipping point,” and such a plan would necessitate a drastic loss of power for Syria’s President Assad.

Other countries are also making the opinions known. The U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Australia have either expelled Syrian diplomats their countries or called for their removal. The Syrian government claims it had no role in the massacre, although Assad ordered the government and its militias to “stop all military operations and show maximum restraint.” The Syrian president is in a precarious position, and even the lone support and protection offered by Russia seems to be slipping away as Moscow becomes more invested in Annan’s peace plan.

What’s next for Syria? What does Annan’s peace plan entail? Is it realistic and substantial, or is it simply window dressing to buy Addad time to appease the international scene. What are conditions like on the ground in Syria? Will the international community pounce on Addad’s perceived weak condition, or have these countries reached their limit on inserting themselves in foreign spheres?


Danielle Pletka, Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies,
American Enterprise Institute

Joshua Landis, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma; Writes the blog