The United Nations and the Threat of a Syrian Civil War

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In the aftermath of last week’s Houla massacre, Syria appears on the brink: the threat of a full-scale, open civil war looms and fears are growing that the country’s violence will spill out across the Middle East.

The international community appears to be stepping up its efforts to address the nation’s internal strife. Yesterday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the European Union is drafting new, harsher sanctions against Syria. Just hours before Hague’s announcement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke in Istanbul, Turkey, urging the Syrian government to abide by the terms of a U.N.-brokered, six-point peace plan. And the United States is again putting pressure on Russia and China to change course and support a Security Council push for harsher measures against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. 

As the calls for international action against Syria increase, the United Nations is quickly being ushered into the center of the conflict. How will the U.N. respond to the violence? And how should it? 

Ami Horowitz, a first-time filmmaker whose debut documentary, “U.N. Me,” traces and critiques the history of the U.N., discusses the organization and Syria.