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R2P Case Study: Syria. Sae Okubo Aline Sekiguchi Satoko Takahara. Overview of the Presentation. Background General timeline of the conflict UN Resolutions and actions taken by the international community R2P Criteria Syria Now. President Bashar al-Assad. Son of Hafez al-Assad

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r2p case study syria

R2P Case Study: Syria

Sae Okubo



overview of the presentation
Overview of the Presentation
  • Background
  • General timeline of the conflict
  • UN Resolutions and actions taken by the international community
  • R2P Criteria
  • SyriaNow
president bashar al assad
President Bashar al-Assad
  • Son of Hafez al-Assad
  • Took over presidency in June of 2000
  • Belongs to the minority Alawite sect of the population


complicated nature of the war
Complicated nature of the war
  • Division within the Syrian population:
    • 65% Sunni Arabs
    • 12% Alawis(Alawite)
    • 10% Christians
    • 9% Kurds
  • Issue of having a secular government
general timeline from spring 2011
General Timeline from Spring 2011
  • March: The protests begin
  • May: Government’s military crackdown by the army ➝ Shabiha
  • July: Free Syrian Army (FSA) formed by this point
    • Government focuses on protests in Hama
  • August: Western leaders explicitly call for Assad to step down
  • November: the Arab League suspends Syria’s membership
general timeline 2012
General Timeline (2012)
  • April: UN brokers ceasefire, sends monitors
  • June: UN suspends its mission in Syria
  • August: UN accuses the Syrian government of war crimes
  • September: Rebels accused of crimes against humanity
  • December: The US also formally recognizes Syria’s opposition National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people
general timeline 2013
General Timeline (2013)
  • January: 65 bodies found in Aleppo, shot execution style
  • April: Syria accused of using chemical weapons
  • May: EU lifts the arms embargo
  • June: US officials announce that Assad used chemical weapons


general timeline 2013 cont
General Timeline (2013 cont.)
  • August: Syrian government accused of using chemical weapons
    • UN inspectors go to Damascus
    • Obama considers a limited military strike against Syria
  • September
    • Russia proposes for Syria to give up its chemical arms
    • UN finds ‘convincing evidence’ of chemical attack
  • The international community has had a difficult time deciding what actions to take because of the complexity of the situation

➝ Al-Qaeda linked groups aligning with the opposition etc.

  • Possibility of ethnic cleansing after the war
  • Escalating sectarian violence
international response
International Response
  • 1st phase: Criticism and Economic sanction

2011. 4~

U.S. & EU → asset freeze & prohibition on entry

further pressure by EU← & Turkey & LAS

BAN on oil embargo & trading halts

  • Resulted in afflicting local people rather than exhausting the regime
  • 1st draft resolution condemning Syria was rejected

by the veto of Russia and China

international response1
International Response
  • 2nd phase: League of Arab States (LAS) Response
  • 2011. 11

decided to suspend Syria and impose sanctions

  • 2011. 12

Syria agreed to LAS initiative to allow observers

  • 2012. 1

LAS suspended its mission due to worsening

violence in Syria

international response2
International Response
  • 3rd phase: UN Security Council Resolutions
  • 2012. 2 draft resolution

urged Syria to accept non-binding peace plan

→fell short of formal resolution

  • 2012. 4 #2042, #2043

 →Deployment of 30 military observers to Syria

→Deployment of UNSMIS (300 civil observers)

international response3
International Response
  • 2012. 6 Geneva 1

laid out a peace plan for Syria

together with LAS and UN members

→called for a Syrian-led political transition

  • 2012. 7 #2059

 →extended UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days

  • 2012. 8

→UN General assembly demanded Assad resign

Obama warned use of chemical weapons is the ‘redline’

international response4
International Response
  • 2012. 12

Syria's opposition National Coalition was

recognized as the legitimate representative of

Syrian people

  • 2013. 8

UN weapons inspectors concluded the use of

chemical weapons in August

but did not allocate the responsibility of the attack

  • 2013. 9 #2118

→Required scheduled destruction of Syria’s

chemical weapons

r2p criteria

R2P Criteria

March 2011 to September 2013

a few things to consider
A few things to consider
  • There was no real intervention.
  • Is it a real Responsibility to Protect situation?
  • Irwin Cotler (Canadian Deputy and Human Rights supporter) :

“if mass atrocities in Syria are not a case for R2P, there is no R2P”

right authority 5 5
Right Authority 5/5
  • The international community (United Nations) and Regional organizations (Arab League) are taking care of it.
  • More chance for the intention to be humanitarian.
  • The international community has not violated any resolutions SO FAR.
just cause 5 5
Just Cause 5/5
  • Intervention in Syria is clearly a necessity.
  • Crimes against humanity. Ethnic cleansing.

Violence against civilians.

  • Perfect violation of Human Rightsfromboth sides.
right intention 2 5 5
Right Intention 2.5/5
  • Various international actors involved.
  • Reaction should have been quicker.
  • Public against it.
proportional means 2 5 5
Proportional Means 2.5/5
  • One side : International Community.
  • Other side: a country which has hidden chemical weapons. Difficult to determine its military capacity.
  • If an intervention is decided Not enough means?
reasonable prospects 1 5
Reasonable Prospects 1/5
  • Influence of past interventions (Iraq).
  • Not enough means to be able to intervene efficiently.
  • Lack of motivation.
last resort 2 5 5
Last Resort 2.5/5
  • Still trying to solve the problem without the use of force.
  • Inefficient sanctions.
  • Intervention necessary?
actual problems
Actual problems
  • Public not feeling concerned.
  • Nations not willing to help.
  • Influence of former failures.
  • Russia and China’s continued vetoes.
syria now1
Syria Now
  • 120,000 deaths since the beginning of the war (according to the Syria Observatory for Human Rights). More than a third of them are civilians.
  • 9 million refugees.
  • The United Nation Security Council has started to focus on the humanitarian crisis.
geneva 2
Geneva 2
  • November 25th, 2013: UN Secretary General announced a Peace Conference to solve Syria’s situation on January 22nd, 2014.
  • Postponed by Russia to July 2014.
  • The Secretary General expects the participants to come to Geneva to end the conflict via Political Solutions.
syrian government s opinion
Syrian Government’s Opinion
  • Bashar al-Assad will not participate.
  • Sees this conference only as a fight against terrorism.

Opposition’s Position

  • Expects this conference to lead to the demission of Bashar al-Assad.
other participants
Other participants
  • Iran, an ally of the Syrian government, may participate too.
  • Saudi Arabia, an ally of the opposition, may participate too.
  • Salim Idriss (General of the Free Syrian Army ) announced that he will not stop the fighting for this conference.
  • His main concern is to provide equipment for his soldiers.
chemical weapons
Chemical Weapons
  • Destruction of 1000 tons of chemical weapons in the sea announced on September 30th, 2013
  • The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that the Syrian government submitted the initial formal declaration of its chemical weapons program on October 24th .

Permitted the establishment of a destruction plan of the weapons and the installations of production and assembly.

bashar a l assad implicated in war crimes
Bashar al-Assad implicated in war crimes
  • The UN’s Human Rights chief announced that Syrian War crimes implicating Bashar al-Assad were found.
  • According to an article published in early December 2013, it was the first time that the Syrian dictator was directly accused of committing these crimes.
  • http://icrtopblog.org/2011/10/07/un-security-council-fails-to-uphold-its-responsibility-to-protect-in-syria/
  • http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/crises/crisis-in-syria
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14703995
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24628442
  • http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/11/26/la-conference-geneve-2-se-fera-sans-bachar-al-assad_3520605_3218.html
  • http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/06/05/syrie-la-conference-de-geneve-2-officiellement-repoussee_3424678_3218.html
  • http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/09/03/jonathan-kay-r2p-is-no-basis-for-bombing-syria/
  • http://nsnbc.me/2013/10/06/new-push-syria-intervention-responsibility-protect/
  • http://dspace.cigilibrary.org/jspui/handle/123456789/32656
  • http://syriahr.com/en/index.php?option=com_news&Itemid=2&nt=1
  • http://www.franceinfo.fr/monde/syrie-al-qaida-expulse-les-rebelles-d-une-ville-strategique-1148929-2013-09-20
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14703995
  • http://www.news.com.au/world/simple-points-to-help-you-understand-the-syria-conflict/story-fndir2ev-1226705155146
  • http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/31/3598729/understanding-the-roots-of-the.html
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/world/middleeast/syria.html?_r=0
  • http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefing_papers_and_reports/stolen_futures
  • http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/timeline-unrest-in-syria/207/