West Seeks to Bypass Russian Veto on UN Moves Against Syria

Chemical weapons allegations would be referred to UN General Assembly

Western officials are reportedly considering an effort to transfer responsibility over chemical weapons allegations in Syria away from UN Security Council to the General Assembly. This would allow Western resolutions to bypass Russian vetoes.

UN General Assembly

After the alleged April 7 incident in Douma, Western nations pushed a UN Security Council resolution blaming Syria. Russia vetoed this, arguing that there should be an investigation first. Western nations rejected Russia’s alternate proposal. On April 13, the US, Britain, and France attacked Syria, despite the lack of investigation into the incident.

Those nations are still looking for a UN measure assigning blame to Syria, however. The plan is to use a “uniting for peace” tactic, as used in 1950 at the start of the Korean War. In that case, nations declared the Security Council unable to “act as required,” and referred the matter to the UN General Assembly. In that case, it established a UN force sent to South Korea, dramatically escalating the war.

In the current case, it’s not clear exactly what would be proposed beyond blaming Syria without investigation and doing something to them. The UN General Assembly resolution would require two-thirds majority.

Though some UN officials cite the disastrous 1950 example as a “mechanism” for overriding Security Council vetoes, it has not been used since.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.