The Syrian Civil War and UN’s Failure to Solve It

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Between February 4th, and February 11th, 1945, the Yalta Conference was held in Crimea.[i] The conference determined the majority of the decisions made by the most powerful branch of the United Nations. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and USSR Premier Joseph Stalin secured three permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.[ii] At the United Nations Conference on International Organization in April-June 1945, the five permanent seats of the UNSC were finalized along with the Charter of the United Nations.[iii] The main argument for accepting the veto rule was, “it was unconceivable that the United Nations should undertake enforcement action against a great power.”[iv] Not undertaking that enforcement action against the holders of the five permanent seats of UNSC has determined the UN’s often inability and at times ability to protect collective international security. The most recent example of UNSC’s failure to maintain the international peace and security is the Syrian Civil War which still continues after three years since it began on March 15, 2011. [v] The Syrian Civil War and UN’s inability to halt it stands as one of the prominent failures of the UN caused by the structure of the United Nations Security Council.

The severity of the Syrian Conflict is unparalleled and has thus exacerbated the failure of the attempts to end it. According to the BBC, the conflict has claimed more than 100,000 lives and the numbers are still rising by an average of two hundred casualties per day.[vi] There still is not a humanitarian intervention of any sort by the UN to protect civilians; however United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has established a mission called United Nations...

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... the most fundamental criticism is to the UN’s questionable stance as a democratic organization. Since the UN Charter grants the UNSC all the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of governance, the UN can hardly be seen as a democratic body, according to Philosopher Dieter Heinrich.[xviii] The lack of a checks and balances mechanism to control the actions of the branches is the reason behind the UNSC’s frequent deadlocks, including the current Syrian crisis. Consequently, allowing the largest arms exporting countries, who all happen to have nuclear power, to also have permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council proves to be an obstacle in promoting international peace and security.[xix] Thus, the defective structure of the United Nations Security Council is responsible UN’s inactivity at civil wars, genocides and other catastrophes.

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