Sep 06 2013
The conflict between the US and Russia over a Syria military strike is playing out on a world stage at the G20 summit this week in St. Petersburg. Both President Obama and President Vladimir Putin kept an arms length from one another, with the Guardian newspaper characterized the meeting with the headline: “frosty stares betray anger and mistrust over Syria.”
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, made it clear that the US would not seek a UN vote, saying it was being held hostage by Russia’s support of Assad. Yet, Russia seems to have made greater headway in convincing a number of countries at the G20 to not back a strike on Syria. Instead, the US has emerged with just France and Turkey so far on its side but hopes to attract Canada, South Korea, Australia, and some more nations.
Meanwhile Britain, whose Parliament recently voted to sit out any US attack on Syria, could potentially hold a second vote on the issue. The Labor Party, which led the opposition is coming under fire from people like former UK Cabinet Minister Ben Bradshaw who berated the party for refusing to “do difficult things” like standing up to dictatorial regimes.
And, the US State Department on Friday ordered nonessential U.S. diplomats to leave its embassy in Beirut, Lebanon due to security concerns as the Obama administration and Congress debate military strikes on Syria which neighbors Lebanon.
GUEST: Vijay Prashad, the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. He has written nearly a dozen books including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter and is currently in Beirut, Lebanon
Click here to read his latest article, Letter to a Syrian Friend.