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Why the world is quiet as Syria crackdown continues

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The Libya effect

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview while traveling in Italy Friday that the Syrians “have an opportunity still to bring about a reform agenda.” In the interview with Rome’s “In Mezz’Ora” TV program, she added that the US would “continue joining with all of our allies to keep pressing very hard” on Syria.

But one key reason the US is not moving against Syria – for example, declaring that Assad has “lost legitimacy,” as it did in the case of Libya’s Col. Qaddafi – is that much of the international community may be wary of following the US a second time, some regional analysts say.

“There was a lot of discomfort in the end with the way the Libya case was put on an expedited path, and that has led to a heightened caution about rushing to action” in the case of Syria, says Melissa Labonte, a Middle East expert at Fordham University in New York.

Only about two weeks separated the first United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya from the “no-fly-zone” resolution that opened the way to NATO intervention in the conflict – virtually the speed of light by UN standards, Professor Labonte notes.

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