‘Foreign military presence in Syria raises ghost of Libya’
Chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov spoke out following reports that a “foreign special task force” has been dispatched to Syria in an effort to provide assistance to the political opposition.
"According to the latest reports that are now being verified, a foreign special task force has been deployed in Syria,” Pushkov told reporters on Friday. “If these reports are proved to be true, the scenario will be absolutely the same as it was in Libya.”
According to Pushkov, "they [the alleged foreign task force on the ground in Syria] are supporting the opposition and supplying them with arms; they propose an unbalanced resolution that places rigid conditions on Syria's ruling regime, while giving in to the demands of the opposition."
Meanwhile, the four factions of the State Duma unanimously declared their support for Russia’s official position in Syria.
The statement, proposed by the International Affairs Committee, says the State Duma "deems it extremely important for the UN, specifically the Security Council, not to side with any party in the conflict."
"The State Duma deputies support Russia’s official position…to facilitate the settlement of the conflict inside Syria," the statement reads. “Such an unbalanced approach…would undermine the chances for an equitable and constructive dialogue."
The statement went on to criticize the “ultimatums issued to only one side of the conflict,” while, at the same time, calling for “regime change” as a mandatory precondition for settling the unrest.
The Russian deputies say they condemn military intervention in the affairs of foreign countries and the imposition of solutions from outside.
"Russia will not support a single document that implies or allows such intervention without the UN Security Council's direct approval," the lawmakers said.
Pushkov warned against using unsubstantiated “humanitarian reasons” for justifying military intervention in foreign countries, and turning the United Nations and the Security Council “into an ally for one side of a civil conflict."
These activities are advanced by the help of western media, Pushkov believes, which promote a particular set of 'facts' that are usually impossible to prove. He called for a bigger presence of Russian media in the international arena in order to create greater transparency in news coverage.
"This is a serious matter for our information policy," the deputy said.
Russia has expressed alarm over the increasing tendency of foreign powers – notably NATO countries – to resolve internal conflicts in foreign countries through military force. The latest such intervention happened in Libya, which recently experienced a full-blown civil war.
Following the passage of a UN resolution on Libya that called for the protection of innocent civilians, NATO countries launched a massive aerial offensive that inflicted heavy casualties. Russia and other countries say NATO “overstepped its mandate” by apparently taking the side of the militant opposition.
The NATO mission attracted further condemnation when video footage showed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi being taken alive by the National Liberation Army in Sirte, moments before being summarily executed by his captors.