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Iran was the one country to stand up in support of Syria’s procedural challenge to the right of the UN General Assembly to debate the spiraling political violence back home, and with good reason: the aggressiveness with which the Arab states along the Persian Gulf are pressing for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad from Damascus is really aimed at crippling his Iranian ally.
Syria’s representative quickly decided not to press the procedural challenge when the only other country willing to back him turned out to be North Korea, itself a pariah state; even Cuba stayed silent. The Syrian delegation glumly sat through the dramatic report by Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, on Syria’s skyrocketing death toll, on the government’s use of hospitals as “torture chambers” and its gross failure to fulfill its responsibility to protect its people. An unusually lively and revealing assembly debate followed her appeal for effective UN action.
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