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As Saudis Pledge for Syria, UN Silent on Sanctions, Crackdowns on Media

By Matthew Russell Lee

  UNITED NATIONS, January 30 -- Saudi Arabia and other countries which are arming the rebels in Syria on Wednesday announced pledges for humanitarian aid, with $300 million each from Kuwait, the UAE and the Saudis.

  UN humanitarian official John Ging, when asked by Inner City Press about the current impact of sanctions on humanitarian activities in Syria, acknowledged that the sanctions are a problem, noting their causing shortages not only of medicine but also of fuel.

  So, Inner City Press asked Ging, will the UN be raising the impact of sanctions at the meeting in Kuwait?

  Ging said that would be up to the "participants," seeming to mean the donors themselves. But the UN didn't leave it up to donors to come up with the $1.5 billion estimate. And isn't the UN supposed to lead? To identify a problem, even if one powerful donors would rather ignore, and raise the issue? We'll see.

  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with the Gulf leaders, with nary a word in the read-outs about their crackdown on online dissent, consistent as noted yesterday with the UN's South Asia silence.

  Meanwhile the reporting on the pledge conference has been strange to say the least. A Reuters piece, also linking in Lakhdar Brahimi's briefing to the Security Council in New York, relies along entirely on the Kuwait News Agency, though three separate Reuters credits are given, "Sylvia Westall, William Maclean and Lisa Shumaker."

  The nameless from New York squib from the UN is from a piece that asserted that "the opposition, backed by the United States and much of Europe, has made plain that Assad can play no role in a future Syrian government."

  Shouldn't that say that the opposition has "made plain" THEIR POSITION that Assad "can play no role in a future Syrian government"? Watch this site.

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