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On Syria, Bangura Slams Islamist Foreign Fighters, HRW Ignores It, Nusra

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 18 -- That a purpose of the “humanitarian” briefings on Syria in the UN Security Council on Thursday is political was made clear even before the briefings finished.

As UN expert on sexual violence in conflict Zainab Bangura spoke, noting that “foreign fighters from Islamist groups” put women even more at risk, Human Rights Watch rushed out a statement to at least some journalists at the UN:

"Syria is facing a new humanitarian catastrophe brought on by the government's deadly disregard for its own population. As if blocking Security Council action to stop the killing was not callous enough, Russia and China also stand in the way of Council efforts to press President Assad to open up access to aid.”

The HRW statement made no mention at all of problems also caused by the armed opposition, which includes the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front. One wondered if HRW even listened to the briefings.

Yesterday Inner City Press quoted people close to envoy Lakhdar Brahimi calling Al Nusra's open allegiance to Al Qaeda a “game changer” -- that cliche again -- making it difficult for “the West” to oppose the armed opposition which is inter-twined with Al Nusra.

  On his way into the Security Council Thursday morning, UK Permanent Mark Lyall Grant said of Brahimi, “we hope he continues, he's symbol of possibility of political settlements.”A fading symbol, it seems. Watch this site.

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