NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria

The continued crackdown on peaceful protesters in Syria has already resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties. UN Security Council and other UN organs have repeatedly condemned the widespread human rights violations in Syria and the use of force against civilians by the country’s security forces and called for an end to the violence urging Syrian government to fully respect human rights and comply with their obligations under international law.[[]]] However, despite pledging to refrain from using excessive and lethal forces against civilians Syrian government, in the words of UN General-Secretary, “has not upheld that commitment”, and “violent repression against civilians, including mass arrests, continues.”[[]]

It is exactly in such situations that responsibility to protect (R2P) is triggered. States, UN organs, NGOs, and legal scholars now endorse R2P as a way to prevent another Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda or Bosnia. R2P has two precepts, namely that (1) each state must protect its own population from war crimes and mass atrocities; and (2) if one state fails, that obligation shifts to the international community as a whole. [[Monica Hakimi, E.J.I.L. 343]]

To be clear, R2P is not to be confused with humanitarian intervention but is the principle that sovereign states, and the international community as a whole, have a responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes.[[]]

For R2P encompasses a range of measures to stop mass atrocity crimes from occurring, namely (1) responsibility to prevent (measures aimed at building state capacity, remedying grievances, and ensuring the rule of law); (2) responsibility to react (if prevention fails, through coercive measures by other members of the broader community of states, including political, economic or judicial measures, and in only extreme cases military action) to stop mass atrocity crimes from occurring); and (3) responsibility to rebuild (a genuine commitment to helping to build a durable peace, promoting good governance and sustainable development after coercive measures are taken).[[]]
Thus, monstrous atrocities currently perpetrated by Syrian government against civilians require urgent attention of the international community. The international community has already applied some R2P measures but has to do more to stop mass atrocity crimes against civilians in Syria. Action by NATO authorized by the international community, namely the UN Security Council, is a necessary measure to comply with the international R2P.

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
Yes because...

R2P requires urgent action in Syria

Recent report by UN Human Rights Council documenting events in Syria since March 2011 has described violence perpetrated by government on civilians as amounting to crimes against humanity. Human rights violations in Syria are so grave that UN Human Rights Council has recommended that UN Security Council refer them to the International Criminal Court.[[]]

It is exactly in such situations as Syria that R2P is triggered. States, UN organs, NGOs, and legal scholars now endorse R2P as a way to prevent another Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda or Bosnia. R2P has two precepts, namely that (1) each state must protect its own population from war crimes and mass atrocities; and (2) if one state fails, that obligation shifts to the international community as a whole. [[Monica Hakimi, E.J.I.L. 343]]

To be clear, R2P is not to be confused with humanitarian intervention but is the principle that sovereign states, and the international community as a whole, have a responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes.[[]]

For R2P encompasses various measures to stop mass atrocity crimes, namely (1) responsibility to prevent (measures for building state capacity, remedying grievances, and ensuring the rule of law); (2) responsibility to react (if prevention fails, coercive measures by broader community of states, including political, economic or judicial measures, and in only extreme cases military action); and (3) responsibility to rebuild (a genuine commitment to helping to build a durable peace, promoting good governance and sustainable development after coercive measures are taken).[[]]

NATO as the coalition of many states has the legitimacy and resources necessary to exercise responsibility to react as part of R2P and is thus best situated to protect the civilian population of Syria by exerting pressure on the Syrian government to ensure security of its citizens.

No because...

ATO is a military alliance with primary purpose of collective defense of its members.[[]] Instead of talking about it’s role in the possible Syrian intervention proposition analyses steps the UN, platform for international peaceful dialogue, should take to end the proclaimed war crimes. Even though the proposition doesn't want to talk about humanitarian interventions (interventions that help to prevent human rights violations, war crimes), it’s the only way NATO can help and the only way of help the proposition mentions from time to time.

For any other help the UN would have to step in - this is not a problem of this debate. Plus in order to be legitimate, all military interventions must be approved by the UN SC, which is highly unlikely to happen in the case of Syria where a couple of SC members have strategic interests [[]]
An illegitimate action of NATO in Syria would seriously harm its credibility, worsen diplomatic relations of the countries in question and could even be counterproductive as the Syrian insurgents have been rather reluctant to demand any kind of international help in the ongoing conflict [[]] .

As far as proposition’s R2P Wikipedian analysis [[]] is concerned, the international community considers it only a norm, not a law - as stated in the same article. State sovereignty is of highest importance; it says that countries should deal with internal problems whenever possible. R2P’s main tools are “persuasion and support, not military or other coercion”.[[]] Once the action is not legitimate and widely supported, NATO shouldn’t act to prevent an unwanted escalation of the conflict. We agree that the prevention is important as well as further rebuilding cooperation or economic or political sanctions, but this is the duty of the UN, not NATO and therefore irrelevant for this debate.

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
Yes because...

NATO past successes to ensure peace in Syria

The final stages in six-month battle for control of Libya are being enacted, with 42-year old regime of Muammar Gaddafi all but ended. Rebel troops have taken over all but few pockets of capital, Tripoli, & the end is clearly in sight. The end of road for Gaddafi always seemed to be on cards, following the decision of the NATO to impose a no-fly zone & conduct bombing of Libyan targets since March.[[]]
NATO’s involvement was a rather ambiguous affair at beginning but world can see now clear results of NATO’s actions. Its use of air power against Gaddafi’s regime was solely for purpose of protecting civilian life. Libyan intention to launch a massive attack was the basis on which UNSC authorized NATO’s action. [[]] UNSC had to react with military intervention in this matter after Gaddafi’s speech:“It’s over. We are coming tonight. We have no mercy no pity.”[[]]

UNSC backed NATO’s military intervention did save civilian lives; it was thorough in not going beyond its mandate; regime change that is coming about can be regarded only as a good thing, as is evident from jubilant behavior of liberated Libyans.
The Syrian president, like Colonel Gaddafi, is taking brutal measures that involve shedding of civilian blood to put down
growing opposition to his regime. That regime is just as repressive, just as authoritarian, just as indifferent to human rights & just as lacking in democratic accountability as Gaddafi’s regime.[[]]

Libyan strategy worked mainly because it was perceived as an international effort against a brutal dictator & since symptoms exhibited by Syrian government are similar to Libyan, Prop asserts that NATO under UNSC’s direction has to act to protect civilians. At first, UNSC must impose an arms embargo, freeze assets of Assad & other top Syrian officials.[[]] Assad will react to measures since it is a bright example of Libya in

No because...

Firstly, the proposition claims to be against humanitarian interventions in their first argument, but they support NATO’s invasion in Lybia, which is the case[[]] .

Secondly, proposition made a great assumption that the situation in Syria is the same as that in Lybia, which is not valid for various reasons [[Internal situation argument]].

NATO has intervened in Lybia with the approval and support of the Arab League, neighbouring countries and the SC. However, the SC will not allow it this time. We need to take Iran and Russia, allies of the Syrian government, into account. Both officially rejected any military intervention and Iran is ready to support Assad, which can cause a destabilization and further problems in the region as well as worldwide. Also, there is lack of support of the potential invasion in the region[[]].

Even the evidence brought be the proposition claims so:

evidence #4

"A simple answer is that the Arab League has not asked for it and the Security Council would not authorise it since, this time, Russia and China would be bound to use their vetoes."

Moreover, the geographic situation in Syria is also different. Most of the air strikes in Lybia have taken place in desert, whereas in Syria it would be in rural and urban areas, which would cost many civilian lives.

Then we need to realize that in Lybia, there was a clear opposition group and leaders, who could be supported, whereas in Syria are many small ethnic groups fighting for different goals without any cooperation. Therefore, any intervention would bring another “player” in the conflict causing more fights and deaths[[]].

Last but not least, there was a will of the Lybian rebels to have international support, but most of Syria’s rebelling groups reject international support, since they do not want to lose their moral high-ground. []]. That would create more conflicts and problems.

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
Yes because...

R2P improves efficiency of UNSC

Prop believes UN operations will evolve into true collective security actions to deal with threats to peace posed by intra-state conflicts. Peacemakers will be sent into situations of civil wars with robust mandates &rules of engagement that require intervention to protect civilian population. If responsibility to protect in its full meaning is accepted, multi-dimensional activities will take place with three elements: prevention, reaction &rebuilding.

Understanding that military intervention for human protection purposes is an exceptional &extraordinary measure, prop asserts to increase UN effectiveness via implementation of following recommendations:
A. The UN Security Council to authorise military intervention for human protection purposes. The task is not to find alternatives to Security Council as a source of authority, but to make Security Council work better than it has.
B. Security Council authorisation should in all cases be sought prior to any military intervention action being carried out.
C. Security Council should deal promptly with any request for authority to intervene where there are allegations of large-scale loss of human life or ethnic cleansing.
D. Permanent Five Members of Security Council should agree not to apply their veto power, in matters where their vital state interests are not involved, to obstruct passage of resolutions authorizing military intervention for human protection purposes for which there is otherwise majority support.
E. If Security Council rejects a proposal or fails to deal with it in a reasonable time, alternative options are
I. consideration of matter by General Assembly in Emergency Special Session under ‘Uniting for Peace’ procedure,&
II. action within area of jurisdiction by regional or sub-regional organisations under Chapter VIII of Charter, subject to their
seeking subsequent authorisation from Security Council.
So, the world be voided of Rwandan&Sudan stories forever!!!

No because...

The proposition offers better solutions for the UN SC functioning, but this does not answer the question whether NATO should act in Syria as the motion says.
Even if there was a link, we don’t think the changes would be positive, because the SC is already working as hard as possible to prevent great violations of HR, but as we have shown you, it is not always possible. As mentioned, “PM of SC should agree not to apply their veto power...ethnic cleansing,” doesn’t solve the situation at all as it goes against the principle of veto power as such.

Moreover, Russia has a national interest in Syria, that being the naval base in Tartus. Finally, in their last recommendation, we see a clear contradiction, because they “don’t want to find alternatives to SC”, but by this they are exactly doing so; the motion in fact compels them to defend this point. With loss of authority of the SC, the role of a global policeman would be lost and there would be no authority to control countries’ action whatsoever. This can destroy world stability, which would cause more deaths in the end.

Most importantly, we need to realize that not genocide, but revolutions attempts are taking place in Syria, the government’s behavior is only the reaction. [[]] It cannot be compared to the Rwandan or Sudanese case, which were ethic and religious conflicts. These demonstrations are not always peaceful [[]] and the rebels tend to be armed, albeit poorly [[]]. The death rate of the security forces is nearing the one of the rebels (1300 to 1790 [[]] )

If this is the case, the solution of sending peacekeepers isn’t always the best one, as we can see in the DRC, Bosnia or Somalia, where it has turned to a long-term civil war causing more deaths and more suffering of innocent people.

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
Yes because...

UN under the R2P framework has to enact NATO. NATO is the only one effective mechanism in hand to stop slaughter in Syria.

The centrepiece of international debate is what UN Secretary-General (SG) called ‘the real dilemma’ between ‘defence of sovereignty’ &‘defence of humanity’ when faced with genocide &ethnic cleansing.
This ‘intervention dilemma’ leading to ill-fated events (ex. UN inaction in Rwanda) which raised hard questions as to how to reconcile countervailing logics of ‘sovereignty’ &‘human rights protection’, indeed brought into sharp relief inefficacy of UN, in particular SC, in responding to genocide &ethnic cleansing.
Against this rising concern it’s unsurprising that former UN SG, Kofi Annan, also issued a series of pleas to address intervention dilemma. SG unequivocally stated that ‘[n]o government has right to hide behind national sovereignty in order to violate human rights &fundamental freedoms of its peoples’.Later new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon supports concept &pledges Edward C. Luck, UN SG on Responsibility to Protect, to operationalize responsibility to protect concept in practice.

Prop believes that since President Al-Assad used military force against peaceful demonstrators &kids, this case should be viewed as ‘unwillingness’ of government to protect Syrian nation &intent genocide against its own population &international community should borne responsibility to protect Syrian civilians. Any hesitation to react from international community will be ‘green signal’ to further killing in Syria &it may lead another failure of UN to protect mass from slaughtering (ex. Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan).
Prop believes NATO to be quickest &most effective mechanism to protect civilians in Syrian situation. Since NATO has already troops &equipments in place &understanding of military location &circumstances, it’s best for UNSC to engage NATO’s troops against Syrian Al-Assad dictatorship. Since NATO has already succeeded in Libyan war, a simple pressure exerted by NATO would bring more results than anything else.

No because...

Prop generalize the problem - violating HR is bad and NATO has already “succeeded”, so we can intervene and everything will work perfectly.
The action of NATO is different in each of prop’s points. First they want only pressure by NATO, a military alliance which cannot be stronger then the pressure of the whole world via UN. Even if it was, it has to be able to take action or the pressure won’t be taken seriously. There are other possibilities than military interventions which can be exercised when HR are broken - embargoes, diplomatic negotiations etc.
When military intervention is considered, the situation of the country must be examined. Violating HR should not happen, but the consequences of intervention are devastating nationally and internationally as shown before. There must be genocide, which is obviously not. The protesters are against the government and the system as a whole which is part of a revolution which is going to take place. If the protests end, the reaction of government will as well, which makes it completely different from genocide, which is ethic or religious cleansing of some group. If we considered this as a sufficient reason to intervene, we would be made to intervene in countries like Iran, Bahrain, Burma, Belarus, China or North Korea, which is clearly impossible. Afterwards, the protesters should want themselves any help from outside which they clearly rejected. [[]]

NATO doesn't have any troops or equipment in Syria [[]] and the geographical knowledge of regional organizations is much better than that of NATO i.e. mostly westerners. Even if it would be effective, it doesn’t mean it should act because it is not considered objective and legitimate as never reacted upon by prop. NATO has succeeded thanks to other factors in Libya which cannot be transferred to Syria because the circumstances are different.

Being supported with locked evidence, we don’t see this a reason enough to interve

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
Yes because...

Summary (Uzbekistan)

Opp failed to offer a viable solution to end mass atrocities in Syria. Their position to keep status quo allowing systematic and intentional extermination and persecution of civilians to continue is untenable as it goes against long-standing and emerging rules of international law. Opp supports shameless duplicity of powerful states where they have long exploited Syrian natural resources (e.g. EU being the major importer of Syrian oil) but now refuse protection to millions of Syrians under threat of attack and condoning mass killings of civilians.[[ Opp’s wishful thinking about situation somehow working itself out is divorced from reality as Syria has consistently rejected any calls for a peaceful settlement and stepped up its deadly crackdown on innocent people. In the face of blatant defiance of Syrian regime of international human rights, international community has to exercise R2P through NATO which has the best capacity and resources to act and stop atrocities.

By choosing inaction, opp supports giving carte blanche to dictatorial regimes around the world to oppress freely with impunity innocent civilians wishing to voice their legitimate concerns by exercising their inalienable right to free expression, association and assembly.

Throughout the debate opp advanced without success various reasons why inaction is justified by grossly misrepresenting facts to fit their case. Thus opp asserted ‘no major violence’ took place in Syria while the death toll has been estimated to reach over 2,000 according to UNHRC’s report.

The following are the most striking misconceptions presented by opp:
1. That NATO will not act as it has to protect its member states is false. NATO has been involved in cases where it protected interests of non-members (e.g. Iraq, Iran and Libya). As Obama states ‘in cases of looming atrocities’ NATO will take corresponding measures.
2. Opp fails to question the relevance of UN in this debate because we have insisted from the start that NATO act only with the authority of UNSC as part of R2P.
3. Shameful attempts were made to portray peaceful protesters as minor ‘rebel groups’ or ‘armed resistance’ in the face of heinous crimes against humanity such as Hama massacre cited above.
4. Opp cynically suggests keeping global peace by respecting ‘internal affairs’ of sovereign states and condoning, in fact encouraging, mass atrocities with the international community turning a blind eye on human suffering of millions. Absurdly, opp wants to achieve ‘World Peace’ while stating ‘the whole world cannot be saved’.

Thus, opp failed to show how the Syrian situation could be resolves to save lives of innocent civilians. In turn, we offered a clear plan as part of the emerging comprehensive system of R2P where NATO as the actor best prepared to take on the mission would act with authorization from UNSC to protect civilians in Syria. Mass atrocities in Syria cannot be tolerated and

No because...
NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
No because...


As the proposition stands for a NATO-led intervention in unresting Syria, it has two significant burdens of proof in this debate. It has to demonstrate why a military intervention (the only possible kind NATO can engage in as NATO is a military alliance - Article 5[[]]) is necessary and why should NATO be the body to act. We believe that it would be a despicable attack on the country’s sovereignty and independence by an organization whose primary goal is to protect its member states. Even though non-military actions should be considered, it is certainly not NATO’s job to take care of them.

International law is based on equality of sovereign countries none of which having the right to intervene into others’ internal affairs. Such interfering is one of the most common causes of conflicts[[]]. As long as sovereignty is respected, we prevent international conflicts from arising and preserve security. This is why, the UN Charter only allows military interventions when a consensus is reached and peace is endangered [[]].

Syrians are the ones to deal with their internal affairs as long as they are not a direct threat to worldwide peace. By not engaging militarily in the country, we will make sure the conflict will not turn into a guerrilla war as in Iraq. We will also evade the danger of killing civilians, will comply with the wishes of the Syrian insurgents not to military engage in the conflict [[]], and thus improve the relations with the regional powers.

With sovereignty, we prevent the conflicts together with international relations from deteriorating, while we save innocent lives. Even if violent power struggles may be going on in Syria, other countries should not compromise its sovereignty . Should the proposition win this debate, it has to affirm that spreading freedom by force is more important than independent development and the right for sovereignty.

Yes because...

"People are being slaughtered like sheep," said a Hama resident who spoke to the Associated Press. "I saw with my own eyes one young boy on a motorcycle who was carrying vegetables being run over by a tank." Proof is the case of slaughter of 1600 civilians as a response to a largely peaceful protests since March. How many people have to die to make the military intervention more justifying? Military intervention is a must since UNSC’s sanctions & statements against Syria has been viewed as lame action which has been interpreted by Syrian government as “green light” to further killing.
NATO is the only body closest to Syria. Syrian government does know & simple presence & threat of NATO action would pressurize the situation for quick resolution.
The concept of sovereignty is outrageous & unacceptable under the circumstances. What opp proposes is for world community to watch how the civilians been slaughtered? So does it mean that if your neighbor slaughters his wife & kids, it is his ‘internal affair’? It is left unclear for prop what opp attempts to bring in this world, tirany?
It is these types of attitude caused Rwandan genocide to take place. If the Czech government has been slaughtering Czech people, opp would still hold their line for so called respect of Nation’s Sovereignty? It is absurd.
Opp talks about evading danger of killing civilians, which is NOW taking place every day in Syria. There is nothing evading left? As more we wait more people are going to die, & world community is there to count number of dead bodies…
Thus once again prop asserts R2P as framework for UN to address mass atrocities & crimes against humanity and taking the circumstances the closest body to hot-spot has to take the burden of intervention irrespective of matter of willingness.
Prop asserts only pressure to be exerted so the killing stops and there is no one more effective organ than NATO.

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
No because...

NATO is not the one

There is a need to realize that NATO, as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is based on collective defence of its members according to the Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty[[]]. Any act can be done only on the military level for the protection of its members. Because Syria is not a member state, even the organisation itself is against any intervention[[]].

NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen "There will be no military intervention in Syria despite similar levels of government-sponsored violence as in Libya [[]] "

NATO is very often considered as subjective, because its members are just western developed countries and each decision must be taken unanimously ensuring that the action taken will be profitable to all members. The missing mandate of any eastern or differently oriented country makes their decisions impossible to be respected by other countries and even by the local people, who consider themselves as victims of western campaigns [[]].

Even if NATO should be the one to act, action will be done only with the support of regional countries and UN SC mandate [[]] as in Lybia.This is impossible, because Russia [[]] and China will veto the resolution as they already blocked more punishing measures in SC resolution 1636[[]] because it can go easily beyond its mandate[[]]. Russia encourages diplomatic discussions, where NATO doesn’t play a role. Regional states (Iran, Israel, Lebanon,...) strongly discourage western leaders from interfering in internal affairs [[]], so both conditions are not fulfilled.

To conclude, we can see that any action of NATO in Syria is unreal, because it is not the purpose of the organisation, it is not objective enough and above all it is not legitimate to intervene on its own and any support from the SC and regional states is not probable.

Yes because...

Under circumstances NATO is only body to deliver results faster and with fewer loss than any other body. In fact it was NATO’s initiative approved by UNSC in case of Libya. So, NATO does exercise its power in order to protect interests of other countries which is also mentioned by B.Obama
It would be ignorant of us to say that NATO has no role in security of international peace, since it does & to a large extent. NATO, if it wishes so, could have taken control over Syrian situation. But that is not what prop asserts.
The Security Council appears disunited with Russia & China vetoing against punishments of Syrian president, it cannot actually pass an order for military action to commence; rather, it passes an ineffective warning & condemnation, essentially implying that UN cannot & does not care to help Syria.
Such paralysis of UNSC results in many ill-fated, ungraceful events to be imprinted to world community as observant of thousands deaths (Kosovo, Darfur).
Thus Prop brought up R2P concept with recommendations as to how reconcile such paralysis of UNSC.
R2P seeks deepening of notion of security to encompass security of people, & practice of SC and organs, like ECOWAS & NATO to garner support for emergence of a norm of intervention for human protection purposes in extreme cases of major harm to civilians.
In addition, recommendations as to use of vetoes:
“* PM of Security Council should agree not to apply their veto power, in matters where their vital state interests are not involved...
* If Security Council rejects a proposal or fails to deal with it in a reasonable time, alternative options are
I. consideration of matter by General Assembly in Emergency Special Session under ‘Uniting for Peace’ procedure, &
II. action…by regional or sub-regional organisations under Chapter VIII of Charter, subject to their
seeking subsequent authorisation from Security Council.”;;;

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
No because...

International consequences

Foreign intervention may cause complete destabilization of the region or destruction of important relations. Such things could indeed occur in the case of NATO intervening in Syria, and we therefore need to avoid it.
Countries friendly with Syria would regard it offensive and defend the country, triggering a global issue.
Syria is the only ally Russia has in the Arab world and Mediterranean, having a naval base at Tartus[[]]. Having the Prime Minister said that the situation in Syria is not calling for an intervention[[]], they are likely to take diplomatic, economical, even military actions against intervening countries, when their naval base is at stake.
Syria gets also Iran’ s sympathy.[[]] Iran’s president is concerned about the graveness of what an intervention can become – something similar to Afghanistan or Iraq could happen. As he points out we can't take any risks, Syria is too important in the region[[]] and also in the top 50 exporters of both oil and gas, intervention might affect the whole region and ruin the countries' relations.
Despite the dangerous relationship with Syria’ s leader, Israel neither wishes him to be taken off, fearing that the new regime could follow Assad’s war threats.[[]]
Proposition draws parallels between Syria and Libya, but we see rather black and white – NATO was asked by the Arab League for a no-fly zone, no such demand rises for Syria. The region is an extremely delicate one, a weak balance of power was finally achieved in 1973 when the Jom Kippur War took place [[]]. In the affirmative proof, even the Arab League doesn’t support intervention.[[]] It is more than understandable, having members like Iraq who would be the most affected country in the case of Syrian instability [[]] .
NATO action in such region is higly undesired, like a box of matches throw

Yes because...

Opp does nothing but states all obstacles Syrian situation inherits. All of these’re known&accepted.
It is true that Russia has been pro-Syrian, but developments show opinion change in Russia. it’s true they have their interest but Russia wont risk their small stake in Syria with ‘genocide supporter’ status. As pressure would arise over Syrian case, with SG Pan’s address ‘stop killing’, B. Obama’s statement of America bearing responsibility in ‘genocide issues’, Syrian nations official plea for UNSG &Assad’s publicly uttered lie that killing has been stopped will make sooner or later change happen.

It is outrageous for the world community to wait for more people to be killed so that justify intervention of UN. As Mr. Malley of International Crisis Group said “If 30,000 people were killed there, that would be a different story.” How frightening it’sthat world community has a level of dead bodies so that they can pay attention, till the threshold achieved no action & no attention in place.

Prop stresses application of R2P as a framework, so that in such failure cases world community would have a way to act. This change is going to happen sooner or later, vetoes &stalemates can no longer be endured, &number of dead bodies wont be a pivotal point in this matters.

Opp states UN’s decision steps to be out of scope of this debate which is not. NATO is military alliance which cannot intervene until otherwise asked to do so. It’strue that UN is a ‘platform for peace dialogue’, but do UN tasks end with dialogues only? it’s actually UN & UNSC directions been given to NATO to act in Libya. So this debate IS about steps that UN is contemplating to implement in Syrian case & how effectively mechanism should be structured to resolve case with fewer victims in place.

UN under R2P framework can act on Syrian case bypassing vetoes of PM & use of powers of NATO is most effective &fastest mean in hand.

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
No because...

Internal situation and why Syria is not Libya

Syria has a huge social gap and nine different major ethnic (Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Circassians, Turkomans) and religious groups (Sunni Muslims, Alawis, Christians, Druze [[]] ). Above all, the Syrians are divided politically:
Fawaz Gerges, director of the middle east section of the London school of economics: "About 40% of people in Syria support the Assad's regime[[]] "
Because of all this there is no recognised nor legitimate opposition to the current regime that could replace Assad. If NATO would intervene to protect civilians, they would need to overthrow the regime because Assad will not stop suppressing protests [[]].
NATO can either occupy the country as the US did in Iraq and Afghanistan which means a long-lasting civil war being costly for both NATO and Syria and not benefiting anybody. Or NATO can support one of the movements against Assad. But because none of these are clearly representing all the people, there is a huge risk of a civil war. We can only guess if the one who will replace Assad will respect rights of other minorities. In the worst case scenario, there could be even a genocide as it happened in Rwanda where the west helped the Tutsis minority to power [[]].
In Lybia, the rebels had a clear leadership and were supported by hundreds of thousands protesters (compared to thousands in Syria - see [1]) before intervention. The movement controlled part of the country (in Syria the opposition is divided, isolated and unarmed) and huge part of the military has already defected to the rebels (compared to a few isolated cases in Syria).
A famous Syrian proverb says: "The ziwan (rye grass) of your own country is better than the wheat of the stranger." In other words, Syrians may prefer the worst of the regime to the best one foreigners would offer [[]] [[]] . With all this said, any intervention would bring more harm than good.

Yes because...

Opp has turned this debate on its head. It should help to remind that R2P (of which NATO action to protect innocent, peaceful Syrians) would be a part requires that the international community act to prevent and prosecute crimes against humanity. Opp fails to grasp the real scope of human catastrophe in Syria. Govt’s repression has exceeded the allowable limits on the use of force to keep domestic order and can no longer continue to hide behind the façade of sovereignty to commit heinous crimes against humanity with impunity. It is being a long-established rule in international law that human rights give rise to obligations erga omnes, i.e. a positive obligation of states to prevent and punish massive human rights atrocities. [[]] Following the mass atrocities of WWII there is no place in international law for states to make excuses for their failure to act and prevent monstrous tragedies such as Holocaust. Opp fails to understand that the issue at hand is how to stop the ruthless, meaningless slaughter of peaceful protesters who have all the civil and political rights guaranteed to them under international human rights law, and are not armed thugs to be slaughtered and persecuted without any warning and due process guarantees in place. Opp like the majority of states is unwilling get off on the high horse of self-interested chauvinism viewing the bloody crackdown in Syria from the state-centered perspective in which there is virtually no place for human rights and accept that there are moral as well legal imperatives for the international community to act to stop further atrocities in Syria. The position Opp is advocating in this argument and all others is one of self-interested exploitation by powerful countries of vast natural resources and geopolitical properties of other countries but turning a blind eye on massive human tragedies in those countries. Opp’s suggestion is to sacrifice thousands of lives of innocent Syrians to prevent an

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
No because...

Obstacles of the possible intervention

NATO will never act without permission of the SC as the proposition agreed. This is currently impossible to obtain, because Russia has a vital state interest in Syria. Moreover, there is no risk of a “genocide supporter” status since there is no genocide happening in Syria, nor there was in Egypt or Tunisia. Considering that the whole R2P concept is relevant in this debate only in the context of military invasion which is the only possibility where NATO takes part, it cannot be exercised.

The world possibilities and resources are limited. By using Syria as a precedent, we would have to act alike in every country where the regime uses violence to suppress the opposition (China, the DPRK or the DRC). No matter how nice it sounds, it is impossible to save the whole world. If the UN intervened in every such country, it would soon lack resources, while the NATO’s sphere of influence would dangerously expend if it occured. We are afraid of the possible global conflict that could arise from applying R2P in the way our opponents propose.

Security of a country is only as high as its economy is strong and, for global economic stability is unsure, spending the rather scarce resources on defense is much better than doing so on offensives without support. Namely for NATO, waging a new war and maintaining security of its member states at the same time would be unmanageable.

We cannot dictate the right way of governing. Intervention would impose values we believe are good. Syrian rebels reject the intervention for this reason [[]] Exactly as laws differ among countries and the international community cannot do much about it, we should not meddle into their internal affairs. Even though violence is taking place in Syria, we cannot act militarily in hope of calming things down.
NATO intervention in Syria is unlikely to happen. Not only is it lacking reasons for it, it could also bring a significant harm to its member states, potentially to global peace.

Yes because...

Nowhere have we stated that wanton killing of civilians in Syria amounts to genocide but clearly classified them as crimes against humanity (CAH) in line with UN Human Rights Council’s report. CAH on par with genocide, war crimes and aggression belong to international crimes for which international law provides no impunity for individual and state perpetrators alike and requires international community to prevent and prosecute at all costs.[[

Opp’s absurdly suggests denying protection to Syrian people solely because thousands of victims of crimes by the Syrian government happen NOT to qualify as victims of genocide. But just like genocide CAH (defined in Art. 7 of the ICC Statute as odious offenses against civilians such as murder; extermination; torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution committed as part of widesepread or systematic government policy)[[]] cannot be tolerated and require action to prevent and stop.

Opp’s judgment is totally misguided as it allows states, under the pretext of sovereignty, to engage at will and with absolute impunity in systematic torture as the Syrian regime currently does. Yet, international law unequivocally proscribes torture and requires states to do all in their power to prevent, stop and punish it as in cases of arrest and prosecution under universal jurisdiction of heads of state and highest state officials.[[]]

R2P is thus a natural and necessary part of the principle that international crimes are to be universally prevented and stopped by broader community of states. NATO can and should perform this role better than any international actor in Syria as shown in Libya.
As Syria continues to defy international sanctions and repeated calls to end violence acting in violation of its human rights obligations under conventional and customary international law international community is obliged to authorize NATO to act to protect civilians in S

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
No because...

Reality of the Syrian situation

The opposition firmly believes that compromising national sovereignty is acceptable only if mass murders or genocide can be witnessed. As the so-much-called-upon UN defines, the crime of genocide is committed once there is an “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such” [[]]. Taking a closer look at the Syrian unrests, it is clear that no such thing applies, since every armed resistance has to count on a corresponding reaction of the attacked. Nor can we talk about “a holocaust” since no large-scale annihilating of Jews is taking place in Syria.

Still, let’s have a look at the aspects of the possible intervention. Firstly, Syria does not use airplanes or helicopters to suppress the opposition so there is no point in enforcing a no fly-zone - unless we want to go beyond its definition again and bomb the industry together with land units. As there is a highly populated strip near the coast, bombing it to prevent civilian deaths would ultimately just turn into killing civilians in collateral damage.

With intervention we give precedent of compromising sovereignty of the world’s nations which can cause a international conflict with more casualties then those now in Syria. This answers the level of dead bodies that would trigger an intervention pointed out. It is not the same as The Holocaust, but once foreigners intervene, the death rate can be then similar.

Syrians don' t want an intervention which enlarges the breaking-of-sovereignty issue and the impacts of intervention on the country. The reality is that the situation has to be solved on its own. If we removed Al-Assad (and this is not desired), the system and government wouldn’t be changed. In the improbable case of removing the whole government, it is likely for some radical group to seize power and a situation similar to Afghanistan with Taliban is definitely not a yearned-for solution.

Yes because...

Opp has twisted facts in ignorant attempts to deny urgent need to act to stop the despicable state violence against innocent people. Opp’s talk of “armed resistance” is shameful as victims of atrocities in Syria are peaceful protesters who cannot resist violence. As Syria’s former attorney-general states, “420 bodies were buried in mass graves in public parks, 10,000 peaceful protesters are being held in prisons and 320 prisoners died after being tortured. Assadi loyal troops buried people alive by demolishing homes in Hama with people inside.”[[]]

Opp grossly misrepresents terrible reality in Syria thus:

(1) peaceful protesters demand international protection and urge a UNSC-mandated intervention because oppression has reached intolerable levels requiring urgent action.[[]]

(2) regional organizations condemn the deadly crackdown, proving gravity and nature of atrocities are intolerable. Thus Arab League called on Syria to “end the spilling of blood and follow the way of reason before it is too late.”[[]]

(3) spill-over effects of the deadly crackdown on the entire region unless action is taken are enormous. Arab League and neighbors such as Turkey realize impending regional instability and humanitarian crisis caused by influx of refugees from Syria, presenting threat to international peace and security which UNSC should act upon.[[]]
(4) that Russia would never go against Syria is proven false by its condemnation of massacre in Hama showing resolve to toughen measures to stop atrocities.[[
The gravity of state violence and its destabilizing effects on the region make even Iran, the closest ally of Syria, accept that Arab League is unable to find an effective solution to the Syrian crisis. This is a telling example of failure of regional alliances to resolve major humanitarian crises in the region.[[]] Thus the imperative fo

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria
No because...

Czech Republic 2011's summary

The proposition has not set clear grounds to this debate by showing possible NATO action, which changes in each argument (pressure of NATO, R2P and Libyan intervention). Prop had 2 burdens of proof - why there should be an intervention and why NATO should act. Sadly, none of them was done sufficiently to win the debate.

The situation in Syria is not as bad as prop showed. We logically explained without great emotions that the opposition is willing to overthrow the government as in Egypt or Tunisia whereas the government is trying to protect themselves and this is not a genocide. Therefore, it can not be considered as a R2P situation.

Even if, there should not be any intervention. The violation of national sovereignty causes more deaths than respecting by triggering international conflicts and civil wars. There are always other solutions to prevent the violations of HR which can be considered. R2P itself promotes national sovereignty as the highest value and therefore intervention is not considered as an option.

Even if, NATO is not seen as objective on its own, which was never answered by prop. It doesn’t have SC’s support in the Syrian case as well as no support of the locals, The Syrian opposition, regional countries or The Arab League deem any act illegitimate. NATO doesn’t have as good geographical knowledge as the regional countries, causing action less effective. In R2P, NATO can take part just as in a military intervention, which was not linked and argued enough to keep their case standing.

Even if, the intervention would not be feasible, because Russia would veto in the SC making the action illegitimate and, as such, NATO won’t take part. The recommendations don’t change it. Even R2P is similarly limited, because it must be approved by the SC as well. NATO’s priority in these days is security of its members. The resources are limited and it isn’t possible to intervene everywhere where HR are violated.

Even if all this passes, impacts will be worse. Balance of internal situation would be destroyed by preferring one group causing higher chance of a civil war.The problems with neighbours(Israel, Iran) have not been reacted on. On the global level, the worsening of relations with Russia and China can have a catastrophic end. Thus, the death rate would be higher with the act.

We also showed that the Libyan case is different, what wasn’t tackled. Lack of regional and local support, political difficulties, geographic difference and no clear opposition make Syria unique and therefore the general solution cannot be applied.

Prop saw everything black and white instead of being realistic. The usage of an “ad hominem” argument, locked evidence, copying of text and unclear plan/argumentation decreased their credibility. They have not proved that it may be successful as well as they haven’t fulfilled their burdens.

To conclude, we don’t support killing of innocent people, but NATO intervention is not the solution.

Yes because...

NATO should act to protect civilians in Syria

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