On live TV, the Syrian Ambassador to France resigned in protest.
CHAKKOUR: I can no longer continue to support this cycle of extreme violence against unarmed civilians. I can no longer ignore all the strong men, women and children who have died. I have informed the president’s private secretary that it is my intention to tender my resignation to President Bashar Assad. I recognize the legitimacy of the people’s demands for more democacy and freedom. My resignation as Syrian ambassador in France will take effect immediately.
This could have a very significant diplomatic effects–particularly at the Security Council. So far, the debate at the Council has been stalled over the fact that Russia and China are very wary of issuing any sort of condemnatory statement on Syria. Even as evidence mounts of the Syrian regime’s culpability in crimes against humanity, Russia and China have expressed their extreme reluctance to have the Security Council take any action.
This, of course, is in sharp contrast to the Council’s relatively swift action on Libya.
One important factor that convinced Russia and China to go along with the West on Libya was that large segments of the Libyan diplomatic corps abandoned Gaddafi early on. Pleas from the Libyan diplomatic corps to the Security Council (and in particular of the ambassador to the United Nations) convinced Russia and China that their support of a western led drive to condemn and isolate Gaddafi was not an infringement of Libyan sovereignty.
If Ambassador Chakkour’s resignation ignites a widespread movement of Syrian diplomats, it could shake Russia and China from their hands-off approach to the Syria crisis and pave the way for eventual Security Council resolutions authorizing a travel ban, asset freeze, and potential criminal investigation of the Assad regime.
So, this could be the pebble rolling down the hill that eventually leads to a landslide.