Speaking from the Bulgarian capital of Sofia today, where she's visiting on a diplomatic mission, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed yesterday's dark day for Syria, when hundreds of Syrians were massacred just hours before Russia and China blocked a U.N. action that sought to end the violence in that country.
From the AP report:
"What happened yesterday at the United Nations was a travesty," she said.
"Faced with a neutered Security Council, we have to redouble our efforts outside of the United Nations with those allies and partners who support the Syrian people's right to have a better future."
Clinton called for "friends of democratic Syria" to band together against the regime, forming a coalition that would be similar to the Contact Group on Libya -- save for one crucial difference: The Libya group sanctioned the use of force and coordinated NATO military operations, whereas no such action is planned for Syria. So what could such a group accomplish? Clinton said they could enhance sanctions (a measure omitted from the failed resolution, at Russia's request), help to mobilize and unite scattered opposition groups, airlift food and medical supplies to Syrian citizens, and keep an eye on arms sales.
"We will work to expose those who are still funding the regime and sending it weapons to be used against defenseless Syrians, including women and children," Clinton said. "We will work with the friends of a democratic Syria around the world to support the opposition's peaceful political plans for change."
As dark as things currently are, Syria's future is now looking even bleaker. CNN commentator Randa Slim suspects the double-veto is the match to the flame of what will likely become the catastrophic endgame of a country on the brink of civil war:
The Syrian conflict is no longer just about a brutal dictator repressing peaceful protesters who are demanding what every Arab desires: dignity, freedom, and an opportunity at a decent life. The Syrian revolution is now the fault line in Middle Eastern politics, through which U.S.-Russian competition, the U.S.-Iran conflict, the Iran-Saudi regional rivalry, and the Shiite-Sunni ages-old conflict will play out.