Russia had one simple demand on the UN draft resolution on Syria: the resolution must not allow for military intervention. In fact, it must ban intervention specifically in the text.

Well, the UN negotiators haven’t gone that far, to my knowledge. But they did drop the demand that Bashar al-Assad step down and hand over control of the country to his deputy.

Diplomats at the UN Security Council have watered down a resolution on Syria in an apparent attempt to overcome Russian objections to an earlier draft.

The revised text – seen by the BBC – drops the call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hand over powers to his deputy – the key part of a peace plan proposed by the Arab League.

It also removes a reference to stopping the flow of arms to Syria.

The flow of arms is crucial, considering that so many of them come from Russia. But Russia has been noncommittal on the revised document, according to the BBC, although their ambassador acknowledged progress.

This is quite a comedown from what the Arab League and Western powers wanted out of a UN draft. It basically waters it down to nothing. And it comes at a time when protesters are marking the 30th anniversary of the massacre in Hama by splashing red paint in the streets. One activist group claimed that another 40 protesters died yesterday in fighting. We’re approaching a war-zone level of daily casualties.

Meanwhile, there’s a new effort toward a possible exile for Assad being discussed by Arab as well as US leaders. Three Arab countries have offered to host Assad if he agrees to leave the country. But Assad has not been contacted through back channels to determine if he would agree to the plan. So that looks like a pipe dream to me.

And with the UN resolution going backward, Assad has arguably more, and not less, leverage to continue his reign of terror.