Channel 1 Los Angeles
United Nations 1/19/2020
One free from violence fueled by external actors. We urge all parties to seize this opportunity, through UN-facilitated mediation, to address the political, economic, and security issues that divide them. said US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo.
The upheavals in the Arab world since 2011 have
led to civil wars in three countries: Libya, Syria and Yemen.
In all three cases, the United Nations (UN) are trying to mediate agreements between parties in the conflicts to bring about peace through power-sharing.
The UN has an established leadership role in mediation efforts to end civil wars.
Since the 1990s, some of the most protracted civil wars have been settled
under the UN’s overall command or with its participation. Most of these negotiated settlements were based on power-sharing agreements.
Not so for the three conflicts analysed here: all
UN efforts to end them through power-sharing have
failed. In Yemen and Libya, power-sharing agreements have not prevented conflicts from continuing or resuming. In Syria, the UN has not even managed
to hold direct negotiations on power-sharing between
the parties in the civil war. The changed military
balance of power has now made the initial goal of a political transition unrealistic.
Why are these three conflicts so resistant to resolution efforts? Which aspects of these conflicts impede UN efforts? Which factors in the UN approach
hinder progress? What lessons can be learned for
future mediation efforts? And how can Europeans
help to move the UN’s attempts at mediation forwards?
The conditions under which the UN is trying to
negotiate a resolution to the three conflicts are extraordinarily difficult. In all three conflicts, the balance of power and alliances between multiple actors change
constantly. Many local actors in these conflicts are not seriously committed to negotiations because they receive support from regional and great powers.
All three conflicts are not only power struggles between
local forces, but also offer an arena to rival foreign powers.
This international dimension makes it more difficult to include all relevant local and external actors in the negotiations, because powerful states resist this.
Furthermore, UN mediators are constrained by a Security Council (SC) that either disagrees about the right way to solve the conflict (as for Syria) or
has associated itself with one party in the conflict (as in Yemen), which rules out the UN as an impartial