For the U.N., a Meaningful Role in Postwar Syria Would Come With a Cost

For the U.N., a Meaningful Role in Postwar Syria Would Come With a Cost
Members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces ride near the main traffic circle in Raqqa, Syria, Oct. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Asmaa Waguih).

The Syrian war has torn the United Nations apart many times over. There is more damage for it to do yet. While Syria may be stumbling toward some sort of peace, the U.N.’s role in assisting this process is likely to be controversial for many years ahead.

U.N. peacebuilders are likely to hold a very weak hand when it comes to dealing with the Syrian regime and its international backers. The organization has been accused of kow-towing to human rights abusers in cases such as Sudan and Myanmar, neither of which benefits from as much support. What principles should guide its potential future role in Syria?

The U.N. has been intimately engaged in Syria since the violence began in 2011. International officials have been dealing with the conflict from multiple angles, ranging from cataloguing human rights abuses to disposing of chemical weapons. From an early stage, there was also an assumption that the U.N. would have a major role in rebuilding Syria once the war stopped, even if stopping it proved harder and harder as the years went by.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.