The Syrian Civil War

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Despite the clear practical, and moral benefits of Responsibility to Protect mandated humanitarian intervention, some critics have vociferously argued against intervention, often, with political motives. Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the United Nations have tried to adopt a resolution that would refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court who would commission the investigation of the horrific war crimes being committed in the country. However, due to vetoes from the Chinese and the Russian governments, the United Nations has been unable to sanction the investigation of war crimes in Syria, allowing for a culture of impunity to be fostered, and for a violation of the R2P doctrine to be legitimized. The rationale for the Russian government’s veto is both a political and a strategic one. The Russian government is strongly allied with that of Bashar Al-Assad, having frequently supplied it with military assistance both before and during the civil war. Additionally, Vladmir Putin, Russia’s president, sees many parallels between its style of governance and that of Assad’s, fearing that allowing for international intervention in Syria, could open its own borders up to scrutiny. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s permanent representative on the United Nations Security Council, also argues that these vetoes are important to maintain the UN’s integrity as a neutral organization, fearing that any intervention, even when it falls in line with the R2P

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