The Wrong Kind of Intervention in Syria

This chapter focuses on the United Nations’s intervention in Syria since early 2011, with particular emphasis on its efforts to address the civil war’s international security dimensions, to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of the civilian population, and to create a political framework for conflict resolution. It first considers how local and external forces have generated cyclical dynamics within Syria that not only have compromised each prong of the organization’s work but also have led to increasingly disastrous results. It then discusses the UN’s approach to Syria through the Security Council, along with the work of the organization’s humanitarian agencies. It also describes the repeated failure of peace and humanitarian efforts in Syria, emphasizing the multiple forms of foreign intervention currently at play in the country and the extent to which such intervention—working to prolong the military character of the conflict—is fundamentally divorced from and at odds with UN initiatives.

DOI:10.1525/california/9780520286931.003.0006

Year of Publication: 
2016