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Syria and the Neutrality Trap

The Dilemmas of Delivering Humanitarian Aid through Violent Regimes

«Hats off to Wieland for giving us food for thought at this critical crossroad in the evolution of humanitarian aid. I hope it leads the UN, donors, and humanitarian organizations to reflect seriously about how they can change their approach to delivering humanitarian aid during an armed conflict before we repeat the deadly mistakes of Syria.»

The Middle East Journal

The Syrian war has been an example of the abuse and insufficient delivery of humanitarian assistance. According to international practice, humanitarian aid should be channelled through a state government that bears a particular responsibility for its population. Les mer

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The Syrian war has been an example of the abuse and insufficient delivery of humanitarian assistance. According to international practice, humanitarian aid should be channelled through a state government that bears a particular responsibility for its population. Yet in Syria, the bulk of relief went through Damascus while the regime caused the vast majority of civilian deaths. Should the UN have severed its cooperation with the government and neglected its humanitarian duty to help all people in need? Decision-makers face these tough policy dilemmas, and often the “neutrality trap” snaps shut.

This book discusses the political and moral considerations of how to respond to a brutal and complex crisis while adhering to international law and practice. The author, a scholar and senior diplomat involved in the UN peace talks in Geneva, draws from first-hand diplomatic, practitioner and UN sources. He sheds light on the UN’s credibility crisis and the wider implications for the development of international humanitarian and human rights law. This includes covering the key questions asked by Western diplomats, NGOs and international organizations, such as: Why did the UN not confront the Syrian government more boldly? Was it not only legally correct but also morally justifiable to deliver humanitarian aid to regime areas where rockets were launched and warplanes started? Why was it so difficult to render cross-border aid possible where it was badly needed? The meticulous account of current international practice is both insightful and disturbing. It tackles the painful lessons learnt and provides recommendations for future challenges where politics fails and humanitarians fill the moral void.

Detaljer

Forlag
I.B. Tauris
Innbinding
Paperback
Språk
Engelsk
Sider
200
ISBN
9780755641390
Utgivelsesår
2021
Format
23 x 16 cm

Om forfatteren

Carsten Wieland is a German diplomat, senior UN consultant, Middle East and conflict expert with high-ranking mediation experience. He has served with three UN Special Envoys for Syria as Senior Expert for Intra-Syrian Talks and political advisor. He has also worked on political responses to the Syrian conflict for the German Foreign Office and as Director of the German Information Center for the Arab World in Cairo. A journalist by training, he reported from the United States, the Middle East and Latin America as a foreign correspondent. He was a Government Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), Geneva, and a fellow at the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA. His publications include Syria: A Decade of Lost Chances (2012), Syria - Ballots or Bullets (2006) and Syria at Bay: Secularism, Islamism, and “Pax Americana” (2006).

Anmeldelser

«Hats off to Wieland for giving us food for thought at this critical crossroad in the evolution of humanitarian aid. I hope it leads the UN, donors, and humanitarian organizations to reflect seriously about how they can change their approach to delivering humanitarian aid during an armed conflict before we repeat the deadly mistakes of Syria.»

The Middle East Journal

«Wieland deserves ample praise for his decision to write a book that catalogs in exhausting detail the failings of an institution he admires so much. One hopes that his former colleagues understand the book as an effort to strengthen United Nations, not embarrass it.»

War on the Rocks

«A masterpiece, this book is a riveting call for action to prevent governments that massacre their own citizens from directing who shall, and who shall not, receive donor-funded life-saving emergency help.»

Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs 2012-2018

«A highly interesting and original study based on many years of practical and intensive experience of Carsten Wieland, who served as a diplomat and an academic, dealing with the Middle East, Syria in particular, also in the intra-Syrian negotiations under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy for Syria. This book clearly explains the complicated juridical, humanitarian and political dimensions of the various dilemmas of delivering humanitarian aid during wars. Wieland provides an authoritative guide on how to better deal with delicate humanitarian issues, like those in Syria. It should be highly recommended reading for politicians, humanitarian negotiators, people active in the field of humanitarian aid and other decision makers.»

Nikolaos van Dam, Former Ambassador of the Netherlands and author of Destroying a Nation: The Civil

«This in an extraordinary book on humanitarian law and practice in the Syria conflict. By a scholar-practitioner with many years of experience studying Syria and acting as advisor to the UN mediator on the country, it is a model of how theoretical concerns and practical experience in policy making can cross fertilize each other.»

Raymond Hinnebusch, Professor of International Relations, University of St Andrews Centre for Syrian

«The most convincingly argued call yet to take international humanitarian aid out of the control of unaccountable governments that use sovereignty as a pretext - the ultimate exposure of sovereignty as fake neutrality.»

Eberhard Kienle, Research Professor at the Centre des recherches internationales (CERI), Centre nati

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