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(p. 476) 24. The failure of diplomacy and protection in Syria 

(p. 476) 24. The failure of diplomacy and protection in Syria
(p. 476) 24. The failure of diplomacy and protection in Syria

Karin Aggestam

and Tim Dunne

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date: 25 February 2021

This chapter argues that the the international community’s response to the Syrian civil war was a failure of resolute diplomacy. It first recounts how a popular uprising was brutally supressed by the Bashar al-Assad government’s military forces, sparking a ‘new war’ where many of the protagonists have more to gain from war than peace. It then considers the diplomatic strategies pursued by regional and global powers, as well as the leading players in the intervention and mediation process such as United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, and Swedish-Italian diplomat Staffan de Mistura. It also discusses the use of crisis management and coercive diplomacy to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention. The case of Syria illustrates how responsibility to protect (R2P) requires a strong consensus among the great powers in order to be effective.

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