“I am surprised that Mr. Sarkozy wants to stir up controversy on such a serious subject,” said foreign minister Laurent Fabius in the French press today. “One would expect something different from a former president. The situation in Syria is obviously very different from that of Libya.”
The issue goes to the heart of a wrenching debate over how to help Syria, even as the Kofi Annan peace plan has been put aside and high-level defections from Bashir al-Assad’s regime continue. Russia and China have continued to oppose Western answers to the crisis in the UN Security Council.
"In the Libyan case, there was a cry to help insurgents in Benghazi,” posits Hubert Védrine, a former French foreign minister. “This was supported by the Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf States, and supported by the Arab League.” There was a “demand for action, meaning that … Russia and China in the Security Council were on the spot and did not dare to veto."