Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Causus Belli for R2P?

Currently, the state of the Syrian ceasefire is in shambles. al-Assad talks a good game when Kofi Annan is in town, but as soon as the world leans back with a slight sigh of relief the shelling starts again. Russia and China have been no help, determined to make this intervention a lesson for what happens when mission creep goes beyond the UN Security Council resolution with regards to Libya. In order to protect their stated mission of non-intervention and antipathy towards regime change, Russia and China have taken a principled stand against doing anything towards the Syrian regime.
However, it still remains obvious that what is happening in Syria is a gross violation of human rights and against everything for which the western world purports to stand. But how can the world help when the main tool of international legitimacy is at loggerheads? Well, it looks like our friends from Anatolia have given us a present.
Turkey sheltering Syrian refugees has angered Damascus, and their security forces are becoming less and less restrained at the border. A few more incidents like these, or a possible cross-border raid, and suddenly Syria has forced Ankara to invoke Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty. Defending an ally grants legitimacy in the same manner as the UN Security Council, and suddenly the western powers are given leave to protect the Syrian people.
This raises an interesting paradox: R2P leads to military actions, but with the paralysis of the UNSC, a military action can lead to a R2P situation.

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