The West Continues to Escalate Syrian Crisis while Russia Sticks With Diplomacy
September 2, 2012 • 12:50PM

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu got nothing when he flew to New York on Thursday to beg and plead with the UN Security Council to "do something" about all of the Syrian refugees flowing into his country, but that hasn't stopped Turkey from continuing to pursue UN-backed safe zones inside Syria. Ankara is expected to take its case to the UN General Assembly when it meets at the end of September, but in the meantime, is pursing other actions, in league with France and the United States (and Britain, no doubt, as well). Turkey intends to try to pressure Russia and Iran, both of which oppose setting up "safe zones" inside Syria. Turkey is also colluding with France to identify "liberated zones" inside Syria, said French Foreign Minister Lauent Fabius, yesterday, to which aid can be channeled. At the same time this is going on, the US Treasury Department announced, yesterday, that Undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen is going to Switzerland and Turkey, next week, to discuss expanding sanctions against the Assad regime. Cohen will also update foreign officials on the latest sanctions against Iran that Congress adopted before the summer recess, as well as "continued global and regional efforts to disrupt the financing of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East."

Meanwhile, in the face of US-Turkish-French-British plans to escalate the conflict, Russia is continuing its efforts to de-escalate the situation. Syria will be a major topic of discussion on the sidelines of the APEC summit that begins on Sept. 7 in Vladivostock. According to the Voice of Russia, Russian President Putin will consult with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Levrov will talk to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the participants in the summit will pass a special statement on Syria. The Voice of Russia puts this upcoming diplomacy in the context of two recently concluded meetings, that of the UN Security Council and the Non-Aligned Movement, both of which failed to come to any agreement on Syria.