Syria and the Responsibility to Protect

In our next class, I would like to discuss the situation in Syria and the concept of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P). Watch this clip of Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations in the US discussing Syria and R2P.

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  1. In addition to the option of forming a ‘coalition of the willing’ à la Kosovo, we should also consider the possibility of deferring responsibility for a security resolution from the UNSC to the General Assembly under the Uniting For Peace resolution (377A). This would give the UNGA responsibility for the situation, circumventing the Sino-Russian veto.

    Mr. Patrick spoke of how the structural fault lines within the UNSC are becoming ever more obvious, and I would be delighted to see ‘Uniting For Peace’ used in order to bypass the embarrassing inertia we are witnessing at the moment over this issue. However, whether Britain, France and the US would be prepared to go down this route is not clear: to do so would firstly be to admit the failings of the UNSC, and secondly to undermine their own influence as P5 members.

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