The Sorrows of Egypt: A Tale of Two Men
Back to the Bazaar
Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East
Adrift on the Nile
The Limits of the Opposition in Egypt
Is El Baradei Egypt's Hero?
Mohamed El Baradei and the Chance for Reform
Morning in Tunisia
The Frustrations of the Arab World Boil Over
Letter From Cairo
The People's Military in Egypt?
The U.S.-Egyptian Breakup
Washington's Limited Options in Cairo
The Muslim Brotherhood After Mubarak
What the Brotherhood Is and How it Will Shape the Future
Egypt's Democratic Mirage
How Cairo’s Authoritarian Regime Is Adapting to Preserve Itself
Overcoming Fear and Anxiety in Tel Aviv
How Israel Can Turn Egypt's Unrest Into an Opportunity
Mubarakism Without Mubarak
Why Egypt’s Military Will Not Embrace Democracy
Postcolonial Time Disorder
Egypt and the Middle East, Stuck in the Past
Egypt's Constitutional Ghosts
Deciding the Terms of Cairo’s Democratic Transition
A Tunisian Solution for Egypt’s Military
Why Egypt's Military Will Not Be Able to Govern
The Fall of the Pharaoh
How Hosni Mubarak’s Reign Came to an End
The Black Swan of Cairo
How Suppressing Volatility Makes the World Less Predictable and More Dangerous
Green Movement 2.0?
How U.S. Support Could Lead the Opposition to Victory
Letter From Sana’a
Saleh on the Edge
Bahrain’s Shia Question
What the United States Gets Wrong About Sectarianism
Rage Comes to Baghdad
Will Iraq's Recent Protests Lead to Revolt?
The Sturdy House That Assad Built
Why Damascus Is Not Cairo
Rageless in Riyadh
Why the Al Saud Dynasty Will Remain
Syria's Assad No Longer in Vogue
What Everyone Got Wrong About Bashar al-Assad
Meanwhile in the Maghreb
Have Algeria and Morocco Avoided North Africa’s Unrest?
Bahrain's Base Politics
The Arab Spring and America’s Military Bases
Let Them Eat Bread
How Food Subsidies Prevent (and Provoke) Revolutions in the Middle East
Libya's Terra Incognita
Who and What Will Follow Qaddafi?
What Intervention Looks Like
How the West Can Aid the Libyan Rebels
The Folly of Protection
Is Intervention Against Qaddafi’s Regime Legal and Legitimate?
To the Shores of Tripoli
Why Operation Odyssey Dawn Should Not Stop At Benghazi
A New Lease on Life for Humanitarianism
How Operation Odyssey Dawn Will Revive RtoP
The Mythology of Intervention
Debating the Lessons of History in Libya
Flight of the Valkyries?
What Gender Does and Doesn’t Tell Us About Operation Odyssey Dawn
Winning Ugly in Libya
What the United States Should Learn From Its War in Kosovo
Demystifying the Arab Spring
Parsing the Differences Between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya
Understanding the Revolutions of 2011
Weakness and Resilience in Middle Eastern Autocracies
The Heirs of Nasser
Who Will Benefit From the Second Arab Revolution?
The Rise of the Islamists
How Islamists Will Change Politics, and Vice Versa
Terrorism After the Revolutions
How Secular Uprisings Could Help (or Hurt) Jihadists
In classic United Nations Security Council language, Resolution 1973, passed on March 17, 2011, authorized UN member states to “take all necessary measures . . . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas” in Libya by establishing a no-fly zone and enforcing an arms embargo against Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime. The resolution gave teeth to the much-heralded “responsibility to protect” -- which, according to the 2005 UN World Summit Outcome, is the responsibility of the international community to “help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.”
The UN General Assembly adopted the principle of the responsibility to protect -- or RtoP, its UN abbreviation -- in 2005 in a unanimous resolution advocated by nongovernmental organizations; UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the high-level panel he appointed in 2005 to investigate how the United Nations could pursue reform; and Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun, co-chairs of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, whose 2001 report urging adoption of RtoP drove the campaign for the concept. The 2005 document articulating RtoP carefully deliniated grounds for action under the doctrine, limiting it to four situations suitable for intervention: genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. The Libyan intervention represents only the third time since 2005 that the Security Council has invoked RtoP to enforce the protection of civilians. The second case occurred just weeks ago, when the Security Council’s first resolution targeted Qaddafi’s crackdown against Libya’s rebellion by calling for financial sanctions and an arms embargo. Resolution 1973, however, marks the first Security Council approval of force in the name of RtoP.
In passing RtoP, the Security Council helped bridge the gap between so-called legitimate (ethically justifiable) and legal (legally authorized) intervention. The Kosovo Commission, a group of independent experts under the chairmanship of the South African justice Richard Goldstone, first identified this dichotomy in 1999 while investigating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s intervention in Kosovo. It deemed NATO’s actions “illegal but legitimate,” in the sense that the Western countries had performed a legitimate
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