Whilst China and Russia besiege the Security Council by placing their own national interests ahead of the Syrian population, the other three fifths who hold permanent status may just have another card to play.
While Lakhdar Brahimi's mission on behalf of the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League to facilitate peace is admirable, he inherits a mandate that utterly failed, and conditions for peace have only gotten worse.
Ban Ki-moon enjoys a reputation of moral clarity and of boldness to criticize and to cling to principles. This week's visit to Tehran, where the Non-Aligned Summit is being held, represents a major test for him.
Both China and Russia have used the Security Council to serve their own interests and within the formula of trade-offs between the two of them, not within the framework of the duties and responsibilities of countries that hold veto powers.
The flight to Jordan Monday of Syrian prime minister Riyad Farid Hijab demonstrates that growing numbers of longtime stalwarts of the Ba'ath party regime -- at least those from the country's Sunni majority -- now despair of a negotiated transition and want out.