Just the threat of government violence in Libya was enough to prompt Western military intervention, but the killing of hundreds of Syrian civilians by their government has drawn little more than lukewarm rebukes from Western governments.
And now the UN Security Council has issued a half-hearted statement - a condemnation which, in the world of international diplomacy, amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist. A tougher measure would have been to issue a resolution, but there was not enough support within the Security Council for this.
Critics say the UN statement will do nothing to slow down the attacks on Syrian protesters. So is anyone willing to stand up to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad?
Inside Story discusses with guests: Nabila Ramdani, a Middle East analyst; Haitham Manna, a spokesperson for the Arab Commission for Human Rights; and James Denselow, a security analyst at King's College London.
This episode of Inside Story aired on Thursday, August 5, 2011.