The 15 members of the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Friday to approve a resolution requiring Syria to eliminate its stockpile of chemical weapons.
The resolution states that Syria “shall not use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, or retain chemical weapons.” If Syria does not comply, the resolution states that the Security Council can decide to invoke Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.
Judith Kullberg, a Russian politics professor at Eastern Michigan University, explained that Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter allows the Security Council to invoke economic sanctions or use military force.
“[Chapter VII] is the teeth of this resolution,” Kullberg said. “If Syria does not comply, the council will use those powers within 24 hours.”
The U.S. and Russia worked together and agreed upon the framework of this resolution earlier in the month. Kullberg said she feels that relations between the U.S. and Russia could improve from here as the initial impasse evolved into an agreement between the two countries.
President Obama’s threat to invade Syria after the chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 struck a nerve with the Russian government, as illustrated by Vladimir Putin’s opinion editorial in The New York Times earlier in the month.
“The conflict between Russia and the United States arises from the tendency of the U.S. to act outside of the U.N.,” Kullberg said. “Russia sees it as a threat to international order.”
This is important to note since President Obama backtracked on his original threat to invade Syria in order to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia and the rest of the U.N.
“The implications of acting independently were way too high,” said Brittany Motyka, a senior and international affairs major.
Omar Tibi, a 2012 EMU graduate, feels that without the immediate threat of force, Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, will not give up his chemical weapons that easily.
“Something very fishy is going on here,” Tibi said. “Syria is not going down without a fight.”
Tibi agrees with skeptics who believe that the Russians may use their veto power in the Security Council to buy the Assad government more time if they do not comply with the terms of the resolution.
“I think that’s already what they have been doing,” Tibi said. “Syria is one of Russia’s largest buyers of equipment.”
Contrarily, Motyka strongly supports this U.N. resolution and said she believes that Assad will comply to avoid a larger war.
“Hopefully, this will change the course of the game,” Motyka said.
According to the U.N. News Center, after the U.N. voted on this resolution, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the international community is planning to hold an international peace conference on Syria in mid-November.
“This is progress and a stepping stone,” Motyka said. “I am hoping that peace in Syria is possible.”
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