Why Russia Will Ultimately Need the U.N. to Wind Down the War in Syria

Why Russia Will Ultimately Need the U.N. to Wind Down the War in Syria
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, speaks to the Security Council at U.N. headquarters, New York, Dec. 8, 2017 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

It is hard to feel excited about United Nations Security Council resolutions anymore.

On Saturday, after days of exhausting diplomacy, the council unanimously passed a resolution calling for a 30-day cease-fire across Syria. Most diplomatic observers reacted either cautiously or outright cynically.

Previous U.N.-backed cessations of hostilities in the country have evaporated quickly. A veteran of the siege of Sarajevo in Bosnia in the 1990s once told me that he had kept a list of how long each cease-fire there had lasted before a shot was fired. The shortest was less than a minute. The record in Syria is no better.

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