Independent observers and analysts from the OPCW (Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare) predict that Syria will likely miss its New Year’s deadline for destroying and moving its chemical weapons. The deadline came from an agreement between Russia and the United States earlier this year that prevented military intervention in Syria while demanding that Syria move towards disarming its chemical weapons stockpiles.
Clearly, the time for diplomacy and cooperation with Russia is over. Though the deal for Syrian chemical weapon disarmament with Russia seemed promising, the reality is now setting in that it is difficult for the United States to meet its goals when it is forced to compromise with nations with completely different objectives.
Unfortunately, Washington often views negotiating with Russia as the only solution to resolving the conflict in Syria because of Russia’s power to veto any UN proposal regarding Syria.
This has left the United States with two equally poor options: circumventing the United Nations or giving in to negotiations with Russia that will necessarily fail due to both sides’ conflicting aims in Syria. Circumventing the United Nations has also failed because there is no other international body powerful enough to create enough pressure in Syria to outmatch al-Assad supporting Iran and Russia. U.S. unilateral action is also a no-go because the United States lacks adequate support from its citizens for an expensive and drawn out intervention in Syria.
The requirements are clear; the means of attaining them are less so. The United States needs a way to impose its will in the UN Security Council by means of a resolution- without Russia vetoing it.
The solution may lie in a Uniting for Peace resolution- a contrivance of sorts that allows resolutions usually voted upon by the Security Council (such as a resolution calling for intervention in Syria) to bypass the Security Council and be voted upon by the United Nations house.
In other words, instead of being confined to the 15 member Security Council where 5 nations- U.S., China, Russia, U.K. and France- have the power to veto, the bill would appear for a majority vote before the entire UN body.
Justifying a Uniting for Peace Resolution will be tricky. The resolution has been used only a handful of times in UN history- always on time sensitive emergencies. There is no doubt that the situation in Syria is an emergency, but it will be difficult to justify it as time sensitive.
In fact, the UN Security Council has had more than enough time to deliberate the Syrian conflict. Using a Uniting for Peace resolution would therefore be little more than a way to bypass the authority of Security Council Members, especially the veto-wielding P5 nations. But that is exactly the point.
Hopefully UN Member States can recognize the gravity of the situation in Syria and put pressure to pass a Uniting for Peace Resolution to prevent Russia from continuing to veto all resolutions working towards resolving the deadly conflict.