While the world watches the Syrian civil war battle on, the UN Security Council members encounter a conflict among each other. During the past year, Russia and China have both vetoed UN resolutions that threatened Syria. In her recent visit to China, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was faced with the unyielding Chinese position to support the Assad regime.
China believes the Syrian civil war should be resolved through negotiations rather than outside intervention or pressures. However China has been the main financial backer for the Assad regime and critics suggest the support comes from insecurities within China’s own political structure. The Arab Spring movement is a fight against authoritarianism; this has played a prominent part in the Syrian civil war. It is something that makes the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party very wary of the situation in fears of the spreading revolution. Economically China views Syria as a trading source, they ranked third on Syria’s import list in 2010. (CNN)
As the last Middle Eastern client of the old Soviet Union, Syria and Russia are strongly linked. A section of their economic relationship consists of arm sales. When the Syrian crisis began in 2011, the international community insisted that Russia end the arm sales to Syria; Russia refused. The naval port of Tartus in Syria has a strong Russian presence. It is the only military base outside of Russia and is located in the eastern Mediterranean making it a strong source of influence. If the Assad regime falls, there is potential for an unfriendly government towards Russia rising to power. Russia has been undeniably protecting the Assad regime from international intervention.
With the situation developing into a tug-of-war between international communities, the complexity of political and economic standpoints only escalates. Unfortunately this means the civilian causalities and refugee numbers also rises. The international communities next move is critical; the question is what will it be?