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Zimbabwe's neighborhood

The best hope for ousting dictator Robert Mugabe is pressure from Zimbabwe's neighbors.

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Zimbabwe's hounded opposition can no longer protect itself from the attack dogs of dictator Robert Mugabe on its own. This destitute country needs the world's help in ending the illegitimate rule of one of Africa's last strongmen.

Zimbabwe hasn't gotten much so far. But on Monday, the UN Security Council condemned the "campaign of violence" that was unleashed to influence a runoff presidential election slated for Friday.

More than 85 political opponents have died at the hands of Mr. Mugabe's security forces, and thousands have been injured and driven from their homes. The brutality is so widespread that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the race June 22 and sent an SOS to the United Nations and African leaders to help restore conditions for free and fair elections.

The Security Council's nonbinding statement was unusual because it blamed the Zimbabwe government, and because all 15 members backed it. China and Russia went along, as did South Africa, which previously blocked the crisis in Zimbabwe from the agenda.

This rare unanimity may mean that stronger UN action is possible, rather than the chance of individual countries imposing their own sanctions or forming a coalition for military action, as with Iraq. Still, to give the UN some teeth is like pulling teeth.

Mugabe is likely to view the council's statement as no more than a minor annoyance. Nothing will remove him from his 28-year rule but God, he has stated. Not the ballot box (where he polled second to Mr. Tsvangirai in the first round of elections in March). Not threats from the West.

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