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Syria, Candidate for UN Rights Council, Cuts Off Water Supplies

Syria, a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council, cuts off water and electricity to the city of Dara'a, near Jordan. Army seals border.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/27/2011, 9:19 AM / Last Update: 4/27/2011, 9:35 AM

Syria, a candidate for the United Nations Human Rights Council, has cut off water and electricity to the city of Dara'a, in violation of the Geneva Convention. Dara'a is located three miles from the Jordanian border, which Syrian forces have sealed.

The city has been in the forefront of the uprisings that began several weeks ago, escalating from demands for political freedom to the outright ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, described last week by journalist Joel Brinkley as the “world’s most dangerous man.”

Tanks rolled through Dara'a Monday, shooting at almost everyone who moved, including civilians leaving mosques and others trying to collect dead bodies as the death toll passed 400.

"Syria closed its land borders with Jordan,” according to Jordanian Information Minister Taher Adwan. Syria denied the report.

Assad, labeled for several weeks as a “reformer” by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ignored international condemnation and has relied on brute force to try to suppress the unprecedented rebellion.

The Syrian dictator so far has succeeded where ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the leaders of Tunisia and Yemen have failed. American media, including CNN, are openly questioning why U.S. President Barack Obama demanded that Mubarak step down and intervened to send U.S. planes to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s butchery against civilians while leaving Assad untouched.

European leaders, followed by the Obama administration, have condemned Assad and are threatening sanctions which would have limited impact since they have been in effect to a certain extent for several years.

However, the international condemnation has escaped the United Nations Human Rights Council, where Syria is the leading candidate to become a member next month.

“Massacring dozens of its own citizens one day – elected to the United Nations’ top human rights group the next?” the Christian Science Monitor headlined Tuesday night.

The United States, which became a member of the Human Rights Council after President Obama took office in 2009, is working against the nomination of Syria, but it has virtually no chance to succeed because Syria is the only candidate for the “Asian group” representative.

The only way to stop Syria would be to garner a majority in the General Assembly, which is highly pro-Arab.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon does not have the authority to intervene in the nomination, his spokesman Martin Nesirky told Fox News.

Anne Bayefsky, whose Eye on the UN organization exposes the international body’s anti-Israel bias, said, “The question for the Obama administration is not how do we keep Syria out, but why is the United States in?"

The president has rejected calls to pull out of the Council, arguing that the United States can be more influential from within. So far, it has failed to stop almost all anti-Israel resolutions from the Council, which consistently skips over human rights abuses in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan – and Syria.