U.N. Security Council OKs Syria resolution

In a vote Friday night, the Security Council’s 15 members
voted unanimously in favor of the resolution its five permanent members—Russia, the U.S.,
Britain, France and China—agreed on Thursday.

Its 10 other members are Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan,
Guatemala, Luxembourg, Morocco, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Korea and Togo.

“For many months, I have said that the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria would require a firm, united response,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. “Tonight, the international community has delivered.”

Russia originally proposed the plan as President Obama and
Congress inched toward potentially launching a military strike on Syria in
early September. As Syria’s close ally, Russia intervened to prevent that use
of force. A congressional vote, since then, was put on hold.

While the final resolution excludes authorization to use
military force if Syria fails to comply with the guidelines, U.S. Ambassador to
the U.N., Samantha Power, called it “very significant.” It’s the first time the
Council has stepped in and imposed an order on Syrian President Bashar

He is now legally bound to transfer his stockpile to
international control.

{mosads}Obama said Friday the resolution is a “significant victory
for the international community” but expressed concerns about how the chemical
weapons would be transferred out of Syria. Such an operation is dicey in the
midst of an ongoing civil war, which has lasted for nearly two years, and has
left more than 100,000 people dead.

President Obama, however, still has not taken the threat of
a strike off the table. Navy ships are still in position in the Mediterranean

The Obama administration said it collected evidence that
proves Assad was responsible for the Aug. 21 sarin gas attack in the Damascus
suburbs that killed more than 1,400 people. Officials have said it’s in the
U.S. national interest to hold Assad accountable. 

United Nations inspectors in their report of that specific
attack did not identify whom they think was responsible. Russian officials actually
suggested Syrian rebels had carried out that attack. 

“Taking chemical weapons away from a regime that just
used chemical weapons … is a very intense form of accountability,” Power
said Thursday. “I don’t think anybody can discount the role that the
threat of limited military action played in expediting and catalyzing this

By Tuesday, U.N. investigators in Syria will assess six
other chemical weapon attacks that were reported since March—three of which
occurred after Aug. 21.

Tags Samantha Power
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