National Security Brief: Top U.S. Official Calls U.N. Inaction On Syria A ‘Disgrace’

(Credit: Getty)

Outgoing American Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said in her final press conference on Tuesday before taking her next job as President Obama’s national security adviser that the U.N. Security Council’s inability to end the fighting in Syria is a “disgrace,” focusing much of the blame on Russia and China for vetoing key resolutions.

Failure to end the conflict is “a moral and strategic disgrace that history will judge harshly,” she said, adding that it is a “stain” on the Security Council. The AP reports:

“I think we’ve seen in this region of the world and many other parts of the world that these struggles can be long and costly but rarely can I think of an instance in recent history where at the end of the day … the unified aspirations of a people for freedom and to chart their own future are ultimately suppressed,” Rice said.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that “Syrian rebels say they fear that weapons pledged recently by the United States and other international backers will not come in time for them to make gains against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.”

“We welcome Saturday’s announcement, but we can’t afford any more delays,” said one rebel commander, referring to an agreement made by the so-called “Friends of Syria” group pledging to send more arms and equipment. Another rebel commander added: “Unless we have heavy arms within our hands by the end of the week, we will have lost southern Syria.”

But an unlikely alliance in the U.S. House of Representatives is banding together to try to put restrictions on U.S. arms deliveries to Syrian rebels. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced a bill, co-sponsored by some liberal Democrats, similar to a recent Senate measure barring President Obama from providing lethal aid without congressional approval.

In other news:

  • The Washington Post reports: National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander acknowledged Tuesday that a fact sheet on the agency’s Web site inaccurately described the extent to which the communications of U.S. citizens are protected from the spy agency’s collection of e-mail and other material from technology companies.
  • Reuters reports: The European Union rebuked Turkey on Tuesday for its crackdown on anti-government protesters, postponing a new round of membership talks for at least four months, but said the path to the EU remained open.
  • The New York Times reports: Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said Tuesday that the Army would institute the largest organizational change since World War II by eliminating combat forces from 10 bases across the United States, part of a planned reduction of 80,000 active-duty troops over the next five years.