International aid groups shocked, shocked I say, that U.N. ineffective in stopping Syrian civil war

You would think that after nearly 70 years of unmitigated failure in halting conflicts around the world, that adults would judge the U.N. as ineffective in carrying out its primary mission.

But the starry-eyed teenagers who run the world's do-gooder organizations appear to be expecting something different from the United Nations.  A report issued by a coalition of international aid groups faults the U.N. for being ineffective in stopping the Syrian civil war and for ignoring the humanitarian crisis.

The naive attitude of the aid groups is proof of how the U.N. has managed to stay in business for so long while utterly failing in its mission to keep the peace among nations.

Daily Mail:

"We may live with the aftermath of the Syrian conflict for generations," Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The conflict has killed some 200,000 people, created more than 3.9 million refugees, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and displaced 7.6 million people within Syria, U.N. figures show.

New figures from UNICEF show 14 million children are affected by the conflict in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, with millions trapped in areas cut off from help due to fighting.

"This is the biggest humanitarian crisis in a generation," Egeland, a former U.N. humanitarian chief, said in an interview on Tuesday.

DON'T FORGET DAMASCUS

The conflict began in March 2011 as a popular uprising by peaceful protesters against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After a government crackdown, the war has expanded into a civil conflict with regional backers.

The militant group Islamic State joined the fighting, and now controls a self-declared caliphate in a swathe of territory in Syria and Iraq, attracting foreign recruits and world attention with military advances and slickly produced videos.

"Attention has focused so much on Islamic State that it is important to remind people what is happening on the government side," Egeland said.

Both Islamic State and the Syrian government have been accused of crimes against humanity by the United Nations.

In the fourth year of the conflict, government forces carried out at least 1,450 indiscriminate attacks from the air, Human Rights Watch said last month.

According to the New York-based group, these attacks often use barrel bombs, containers packed with explosives and projectiles that are dropped from helicopters.

[...]

The United Nations Security Council is "failing Syria" by not implementing its own resolutions, the NRC and 20 other aid groups, including Oxfam and Save the Children, said on Thursday.

The unanimously passed resolutions, which authorise U.N. aid missions to enter the country without the Syrian government's consent, have been "ignored or undermined", the report said.

"I haven't seen the Security Council so defunct since the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003," said Egeland. "I think they are not willing."

The crack about the U.N. being "defunct" in the lead-up to the Iraq war is true – but not in the way the gentleman believes.  There were several resolutions calling on Saddam Hussein to allow inspectors unfettered access to his WMD weapons sites – resolutions that he ignored.  Since the Security Council was unwilling to enforce those resolutions, the U.S. took it upon themselves to create a coalition to go into Iraq and destroy the WMD.

Relying on the U.N. when issues of war and peace are raised is a fool's errand.  What they are supposed to be good at is dealing with humanitarian issues.  Admittedly, the scope of the Syrian humanitarian crisis is unprecendented.  But instead of spending so much on feting diplomats, perhaps the U.N. should redirect its budget priorites and give more money to humanitarian efforts.

Certainly regional actors like the rich gulf states can do more to deal with the crisis.  And if the Chinese want to play with the big boys on the world stage, they're going to have to pony up, too.  Right now, the U.N. appears to be as much a hindrance as it is a good facilitator of aid.  That's got to change, or hundreds of thousands more will perish.

You would think that after nearly 70 years of unmitigated failure in halting conflicts around the world, that adults would judge the U.N. as ineffective in carrying out its primary mission.

But the starry-eyed teenagers who run the world's do-gooder organizations appear to be expecting something different from the United Nations.  A report issued by a coalition of international aid groups faults the U.N. for being ineffective in stopping the Syrian civil war and for ignoring the humanitarian crisis.

The naive attitude of the aid groups is proof of how the U.N. has managed to stay in business for so long while utterly failing in its mission to keep the peace among nations.

Daily Mail:

"We may live with the aftermath of the Syrian conflict for generations," Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The conflict has killed some 200,000 people, created more than 3.9 million refugees, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and displaced 7.6 million people within Syria, U.N. figures show.

New figures from UNICEF show 14 million children are affected by the conflict in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, with millions trapped in areas cut off from help due to fighting.

"This is the biggest humanitarian crisis in a generation," Egeland, a former U.N. humanitarian chief, said in an interview on Tuesday.

DON'T FORGET DAMASCUS

The conflict began in March 2011 as a popular uprising by peaceful protesters against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After a government crackdown, the war has expanded into a civil conflict with regional backers.

The militant group Islamic State joined the fighting, and now controls a self-declared caliphate in a swathe of territory in Syria and Iraq, attracting foreign recruits and world attention with military advances and slickly produced videos.

"Attention has focused so much on Islamic State that it is important to remind people what is happening on the government side," Egeland said.

Both Islamic State and the Syrian government have been accused of crimes against humanity by the United Nations.

In the fourth year of the conflict, government forces carried out at least 1,450 indiscriminate attacks from the air, Human Rights Watch said last month.

According to the New York-based group, these attacks often use barrel bombs, containers packed with explosives and projectiles that are dropped from helicopters.

[...]

The United Nations Security Council is "failing Syria" by not implementing its own resolutions, the NRC and 20 other aid groups, including Oxfam and Save the Children, said on Thursday.

The unanimously passed resolutions, which authorise U.N. aid missions to enter the country without the Syrian government's consent, have been "ignored or undermined", the report said.

"I haven't seen the Security Council so defunct since the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003," said Egeland. "I think they are not willing."

The crack about the U.N. being "defunct" in the lead-up to the Iraq war is true – but not in the way the gentleman believes.  There were several resolutions calling on Saddam Hussein to allow inspectors unfettered access to his WMD weapons sites – resolutions that he ignored.  Since the Security Council was unwilling to enforce those resolutions, the U.S. took it upon themselves to create a coalition to go into Iraq and destroy the WMD.

Relying on the U.N. when issues of war and peace are raised is a fool's errand.  What they are supposed to be good at is dealing with humanitarian issues.  Admittedly, the scope of the Syrian humanitarian crisis is unprecendented.  But instead of spending so much on feting diplomats, perhaps the U.N. should redirect its budget priorites and give more money to humanitarian efforts.

Certainly regional actors like the rich gulf states can do more to deal with the crisis.  And if the Chinese want to play with the big boys on the world stage, they're going to have to pony up, too.  Right now, the U.N. appears to be as much a hindrance as it is a good facilitator of aid.  That's got to change, or hundreds of thousands more will perish.