Why Libya, but not Syria?
The Authorization of Military Intervention by the United Nations Security Council
Keywords:Libya, Syria, United Nations Security Council, Intervention
In both Libya and Syria, an uprising of civilians against their rulers resulted in intra-state conflicts. Despite comparable circumstances, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approached these situations in different ways. The existing literature tends to consider both conflicts in the context of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. Rather than compare and contrast the two conflicts in terms of assessing the effectiveness of R2P, the purpose of this paper is to examine why the UNSC authorized a military intervention in Libya, but not in Syria. This question arises out of the notion that similar conditions should elicit the same response. This research will present three main arguments to explain why the UNSC did not authorize the use of force in Syria as they did in Libya. The first is that the variety of actors fighting in Syria makes it difficult for intervention. The second is that the individual interactions between the permanent Security Council members and Syria further complicate intervention. The final argument is that the Security Council is upholding the foundation of the UN in preventing World War III.