The prospect of the UN Security Council taking action against Syria looks to have taken a fatal blow with both Russia and China vetoing an already highly watered-down resolution. The European states’ third attempt at compromise wording, which referred not to potential sanctions but to “targeted measures”, did nothing to sway the two powers.
Whatever the diplomatic and political reasons for the fallout, this will not be the end of the matter. A situation like this can change quickly, as developments in Libya have shown; the first UN resolution against the Gaddafi regime came just ten days after the “Day of Anger” on 17 February. While the situation in Syria seems to be rapidly heading towards a potential civil war, it may be that the Security Council has its hand forced by events on the ground.
The sanctions position against Syria will continue to develop even without a UN resolution. The United States and the European Union already have sanctions regimes in place, with seven EU Council Regulations enacted within the last 5 months, including two in September. Turkey is also preparing to take unilateral action against its neighbour. As such any dealings with Syrian-related entities should be subject to scrutiny and due diligence.