Outrage after attack on UN aid convoy

The US has pinned the blame for the attack on a UN aid convoy on Russia, while the government in Moscow rejects the accusation. Roughly 20 people were killed in the attack on Monday. The timing of the attack was deliberate, commentators believe, and blame US President Obama for the fact that Assad and his allies have dared to do such a thing in the first place.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Obama's inactivity paved the way for attack

The Obama administration's military restraint is also to blame for the fact that a UN aid convoy can be bombed with impunity, The Daily Telegraph criticises:

“The sad truth is, that so long as Mr Obama remains in residence at the White House, no one in the Middle East is prepared to take the US seriously. A decade ago not even Russia, with its newfound military prowess, would have dared to attack an aid convoy which had essentially been dispatched under American backing. To do so would have risked provoking a devastating military response from Washington, as happened on several occasions during the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations.But no such retaliation from the US will be forthcoming so long as Mr Obama remains president.”

Público (PT) /

Assad shows up the international community

The attack on the UN aid convoy was a deliberate provocation by the Assad regime, Público is convinced:

“Attack vehicles bearing the UN symbol just a few hours after the end of a ceasefire and while the world discusses Syria in New York? Why not? … The ceasefire which US Secretary of State had imploringly described as 'the last chance to save Syria' has been clinically dead since Monday. … Was the timing of the attack deliberate? Assad is certainly capable of this. Did it play a role that the international community at the UN General Assembly in New York was between two conferences on the issue of refugees and migration? … Or that this was Ban Ki-moon and Barack Obama's last UN General Assembly? Of course these things played a role!”

The Guardian (GB) /

War crimes must be punished

The attack on the UN relief convoy in Syria has not only destroyed all hope of a lasting cessation of hostilities in the country, but also shows how unscrupulous the Assad regime is, the Guardian comments:

“It appears that the Syrian regime now enjoys a sense of utter impunity. It has nothing and no one to fear. Neither Bashar al-Assad nor his forces have any reason to believe they will be held to account for their actions. … No one should be able to mount attacks like Monday’s so casually. The Commission for International Justice and Accountability has already begun collecting material on the Assad regime’s actions with a view to potential prosecutions. It deserves support, not only because Syrians deserve justice, but to protect civilians in future conflicts. If war crimes cannot be prevented, they must be punished.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

No sign of an end to the Syrian hell

Russia and the US clearly don't have enough influence over their allies in Syria, the Frankfurter Rundschau observes:

“The regime doesn't want peace; Bashar al-Assad wants to recapture all Syria. This is how we must interpret the message from Damascus at the end of the seven-day ceasefire his ally Russia and his enemy the US foisted on him with the Geneva agreement. The dictator believes he has the upper hand militarily. … Russia isn't able to wring even the the tiniest humanitarian gestures from the Assad regime. And the US's influence over the rebels is so small that they wouldn't dream of distancing themselves from their jihadist allies. So after the collapse of the ceasefire the time has come for the regional powers and the local combatants to take control of the situation once more. All sides will supply more weapons and usher in the next bloodbath. And the exhausted population must spend another few years in the Syrian hell.”

Avvenire (IT) /

US has lost control

The US's Syria strategy is chaotic, Avvenire complains:

“Russia, Iran and Damascus are trying to exploit this militarily opportune moment to strengthen their position. For them the fight against the jihadi terrorists of the IS is just a way of positioning themselves against the entire Sunni opposition. A cynical policy, without doubt, but at least far clearer than that of the West and above all the US. The Obama administration seems to have lost the ability long ago to reach a clear decision in Syria. It has got caught up in its dubious support for various opposition groups. It wants to destroy the IS in Syria and Iraq but its conduct vis-à-vis many other groups with close links to radical jihadism remains contradictory. … So while the Russians and the Iranians seem to have their militia and their pawns on the field under control, the opposite side seems to be in a state of chaos.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

The ficticious global communtiy

The bombing of the humanitarian convoy will go unpunished because the global community is nothing but a paper tiger, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung complains:

“In the United Nations the words 'international community' roll easily off the tongue. People use them like a mantra to appeal to something they'd like to believe in. But the 'international community' is a fiction, not a reality. If the states really saw themselves as a community they would hardly pursue their own interests as egotistically as they do, or tolerate others' misfortune so patiently. Syria is a perfect example. The civil war there has raged for more than five years, and yet the so-called global community has not come up with anything more constructive than to build refugee camps and deliver humanitarian aid. And the latter doesn't even offer the people effective protection, as Monday's attacks show.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Put an end to UN's impotence

Syria has proven once more that the UN has no power nowadays, El Periódico de Catalunya complains:

“This war is the most recent confirmation of the urgent need for a reform of the United Nations. For years there has been talk of this and plans to change the organization, but every initiative has failed. … Its structure was a response to the situation after the Second World War, with 51 member states and a body, the Security Council, in which the winners of that war, as permanent members, still possess a lethal weapon that hinders the resolution of conflicts: the right of veto. Today's world is very different to that of 1945. The fact that it now has 193 members is proof of that. Syria is the most recent victim of this structure. It is not the only one but it is the most glaring demonstration of the UN's impotence and its diplomatic incompetence when faced with a war in which civil society is the direct target.”