The Responsibility to Protect Syria

Sirid Sæderup Halager, Sandra Sichlau, Johan Theil Nielsen & Jeppe Holm Nielsen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Abstract Through almost three years of civil war and numerous accounts of mass atrocity crimes, committed by the regime, the United Nations Security Council has yet to reach a clear agreement on resolutions that can effectively put an end to the Syrian conflict. However, the conflict has been viciously debated within the Security Council and several draft resolutions has been proposed and vetoed, while accusations of hidden agendas of regime change and economic self-interests has been hurled back and forth. It is within this evident conflict that our research paper takes its point of departure. The suggested reasons for the division within the Security Council are many, but several are concerned with the UNSC resolution, which by reference to The Responsibility to Protect equipped NATO with a mandate to intervene in Libya. Although the intervention effectively halted the Libyan state from committing mass atrocities, it has since been loudly critiqued for going to far in paving the way for regime change. By arguing that the R2P norm holds a role in the apparent conflict within the United Nations Security Council and that the issue of regime change poses a significant challenge for the Security Council in committing to unified action towards the Syrian crisis, we commence our research through study of the perceptions articulated in relation to the Syrian crisis, within the United Nations Security Council. By developing the perceptions held by the respective permanent member states of the Security Council, we find that both the Responsibility to Protect and the issue of regime change are significant factors in causing the division within the Council. Specifically, the different perceptions of the Syrian crisis are very much related to differences in the perceptions of the issue of regime change and the responsibility to protect, thus making them central to the conflict between the states. We undertake our research through the Grounded Theory Method. Thus we underpin our arguments in a grounded empirical manner. The paper contains an analysis of the presented R2P norm within the UN, followed by a thorough analysis of the five permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council’s perceptions of the Syrian crisis. Thus meaning derived from these perceptions will be analysed in relation to the R2P norm and the issue of regime change. We argue that these aspects are interlinked, hence our argument above.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato27 jan. 2014
VejledereLaust Schouenborg


  • Intervention
  • United Nations Security Council
  • R2P
  • RtoP
  • United Nations
  • Grounded Theory Method
  • Regime Change
  • Responsibility to Protect
  • Syria