Brits Maneuver to Sabotage Russia's War Avoidance Initiative for Syria
December 21, 2011 • 2:20AM

British assets are moving to bring Syria back to the brink, after Russia's strategic intervention last Friday — with backing from China, India and others — threw a monkey wrench into the British machinations to carry out a re-run of their Libya operation there.

* The head of the rebel Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, denounced the Arab League plan to send monitors to Syria — agreed to by the Syrian government on Russia's recommendation — as a ploy for time, and threatened that if the Assad government continued its crackdown, the SNC would call for "Arab" military intervention into Syria.

* The Saudi-run Gulf Cooperation Council likewise concluded their annual summit, held in Riyadh, with a bellicose call for Syria to "immediately halt its killing machine... put an end to bloodshed, lift all signs of armed conflict and release prisoners, as a first step towards implementing the [Arab] protocol."

* The Obama administration used State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland today to reiterate that the U.S. will accept nothing less than regime-change in Syria: "Let me just be clear on behalf of the United States of America [sic]. We continue to believe that Assad needs to step aside, that Syria cannot progress with him at the head of the government. And we are concerned that there are delaying tactics here. We've always been concerned about that, which is why we want to see these monitors .... start deploying by the end of the week and the deployment be complete by the middle of January."

Nuland twice refused to call on "armed militants" to stop their war against the Syrian army — a central feature of the Russian resolution — and instead emphasized that the Obama administration has a two-track policy: continuing to work on a UNSC resolution, while "testing to see if the Syrians are serious about implementing their commitments."