No R2P in Syria, Thank You NATO
There was another massacre in Syria yesterday. At least 33 children were killed and at least x2 adults. Link
I’d post one of the videos, but do you need to see scores of little bodies riddled with holes?
President Assad has failed to carry out his responsibility to protect the citizens of Syria.
A new international norm called the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) could justify an international response using soldiers as human shields.
Yet Russia and China continue to say no, a right they have as permanent members of the UN Security Council, even while Turkey presses for and prepares to do such a mission.
Why do Russia and China balk at protecting civilians? It’s not because they’re savages.
It’s because the last time they agreed to an R2P resolution it was to protect the citizens of Libya, particularly those living in Ben Ghazi, from their crazed leader Colonel Qaddafi.
But you recall what happened. NATO abused its UN mandate. In the span of hours their objective went from protecting the civilian population of Ben Ghazi to overthrowing the Qaddafi regime.
R2P does not equal legal regime change. The conflation of the two is incorrect, however, I understand that readers in Africa, or of African history, will disagree. The colonial projects used rhetoric akin to R2P justifying intervening in Africa in the 19th century.
And NATO is really going to have egg on its’ face if the next Libyan government is a dictatorship.
But those two states who are usually piously against intervention, Russia and China, were either sleeping at the wheel or were tricked. Either way, they’ve learned a lesson.
From that I conclude, the members of NATO have destroyed the future chances of legally using R2P with a Security Council mandate.
There is a way forward, but it means taking geopolitics out of the equation. By putting the R2P doctrine into the hands of the general assembly and giving them a democratic vote on the matter, a more just approach is possible.
The longer this conflict is violent, the chances that a non-democratic group comes to power are increased.
If Turkey wants to be the leader of an R2P mission, then lets get behind them with a legal mandate.
How many more dead children will Assad produce? Probably a few thousand.
How many more will it take for the international community to respond? That’s up to your government.
Update: In the grocer this morning a photo from the Houla Massacre in Syria showing dead children occupied the front pages of both Al Hayat and Al Mustaqabl newspapers in Beirut.
Colum Lynch from the Washington Post told us this morning that there hasn’t been a reaction yet at the UN.
And Bassem Mroue from AP reports that the Syrian government denies responsibility for the killings and blames anti-government forces.