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5 Sep, 2011 15:22

Moral rhetoric masks Western self-interest

Russia is rallying members of the UN Security Council to encourage the sides to stop violence in Syria and start negotiations. The Kremlin believes Assad’s efforts to change the situation through reforms deserve some credit.

Meanwhile, the West is actively interfering in the situation in Syria. Last week, the EU imposed an oil embargo on the country and warned of further steps if the violence and bloodshed did not stop.But political science professor at Paris West University Nanterre La Defense Pierre Guerlain told RT the West is hiding a political and economic interest in Syria behind humanitarian rhetoric. But there are also both ethical and political issues in the Syrian conflict.“The ethical issue is clear – Assad is killing people. The political issue is what game you play to ease the situation. We can suspect NATO countries are happy with the success in Libya and they would like to repeat that in Syria. But this time it’s very unlikely,” he stated.Last week, the EU imposed an oil embargo against Syria and warned of further steps if the five-month crackdown did not stop. Measures like this proved ineffective in Libya, and according to Guerlain, sanctions in general do not work.“Countries always find ways to go round the sanctions,” he maintained. “This time the military intervention that happened in Libya is unlikely to repeat because NATO will veto the Security Council. There are some similarities though – dissatisfaction with the regime which is justified, and some countries are trying to make use of it. Political issues are hidden behind ethical considerations,” said Guerlain.The Libyan rebels claim oil production is to restart shortly. But as Guerlain told RT, it will take some time before it is back to normal in Libya.“The countries that led the attack on the Libyan regime are to benefit from the situation, mostly France and Britain, in terms of oil production and contracts. Libya will not start to be productive until late next year,” he explained. “Every time the West talks about humanitarian intervention, the question arises why there is this humanitarian intervention in some countries, and not in others,” he said.“You have to find a political and economic interest before you start believing in humanitarian reasons. In all humanitarian interventions there is another reason that is much more important,” concluded Guerlain.Tawfik Shomar, a professor at Philadelphia University, says the scenario in Syria is far different from that in Libya. He stated that Russia has learned its lesson in Libya, and will not give NATO the power to intervene against the Assad regime.“This is an opportunity for the democratization of Syria,” he told RT. “We should negotiate – there is no other solution.”