Al Jazeera has a gripping video of tanks rolling into the Syrian city of Deraa, which has been the epicenter of a five-week old uprising against the government. Some 400 people have been killed by a Syrian government determined to violently suppress popular rebellion. So far, it would seem that the Syrian government is following the script: promise some meaningless reforms; cut off social media and prevent journalists from accessing the protest movement; then unleash the fury.
The international community, too, is following their script. The Security Council is meeting today, presumably to hammer out the details of a consensus statement to put the Syrian government on notice. (Last month, the “Presidential Statement” on Libya was the first step toward more coercive resolutions by the Council.) Tomorrow, Syria will be the subject of an emergency session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a meeting which was requested by the United States. In the meantime, a number of European countries are threatening Syria with bi-lateral sanctions.
This is basically the same procedures that the international community followed when confronted with the violence in Libya. It is pretty doubtful that the Council will authorize any sort of military intervention, but Bashar al Assad is deluding himself if he thinks he can defy the will of the international community without consequence to his own regime’s survival.