When it comes to Syria, the United Nations is stuck. You could almost be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given the extraordinary number of meetings, investigations, and resolutions currently devoted to resolving a crisis that has left more than 70,000 dead and raised the specter of chemical warfare.
The UN's mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) marked its thirty-fifth anniversary last week (ironically, the first "I" in UNIFIL stands for Interim). With the Syria civil war raging next door, it's been a traumatic time for UN peacekeeping efforts in the region, which include UNIFIL and the even older UNDOF mission (tasked with monitoring the disputed Golan Heights).
March 16, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of Kofi Annan's presentation of his six-point peace plan for Syria at the United Nations. In an article in the journal Stability , Richard Gowan takes this opportunity to reflect on Annan's role as mediator and the effect that uncertainty has in conflict resolution.
The border zone in the Golan Heights had been largely unaffected by Syria’s uprising until March 6, when Syrian rebels seized 21 Filipino members of a United Nations peacekeepingmission from a disputed demilitarized buffer zone between Israel and Syria that has been monitored by U.N. forces since 1974.
United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi offered the grimmest picture yet of Syria’s descent into chaos, leaving little doubt that diplomatic paths have been exhausted as the conflict drags on indefinitely.
Governments and independent experts have found countless metrics to evaluate the successes and failures of military interventions such as those in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, judging them on everything from casualty rates to the provision of public services. The number of girls attending school in Afghanistan, for example, has been a standard point of reference for supporters of the NATO mission there.
But what metrics can be used to evaluate a deliberate nonintervention?