Missed Opportunity in Syria Haunts U.N. Official – NYTimes.com

If only an agreement had been reached, the UN might have prevented the Syrian chemical weapons attack on Khan al-Assal:

“In hindsight, I think I regret that,” said Ms. Kane, the high representative for disarmament affairs, who helped broker an agreement to allow investigators into Syria, just before the August attack. “It would have been good if we had investigated. Maybe by having conclusive proof the first time when it was really used on a larger scale, it might have prevented the others.”

Even so, she said, the chemical weapons crisis — and the international inquiry into it — has accelerated diplomatic efforts, including the possible convening of a peace conference next month in Geneva.

via Missed Opportunity in Syria Haunts U.N. Official – NYTimes.com.


4 thoughts on “Missed Opportunity in Syria Haunts U.N. Official – NYTimes.com”

  1. This actually makes me think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, if it hadn’t been resolved as well as it was. Would Robert Kennedy’s memoir book of the events, instead of being an expose on diplomacy, instead be looking back at those events and be the writings of a man haunted by the missed opportunity to avoid a nuclear war? While it could be argued that the events in Syria are no where near the magnitude of importance the Cuban Missile Crisis was, and we are unable to know the events of a future that didn’t take place, it would be interesting to see how the international community would be reacting to Syria if the chemical weapons hadn’t been used as they were.

  2. While it is impossible to know whether or not lives could have been spared if the UN had been able to investigate the chemical weapons attack in March, it is likely they could have. This whole crisis could have been resolved more quickly and with a lot less violence and death. Had the UN been present in Syria investigating the March incident, it is likely the September one would not have happened. We can only hope that now that the use of chemical weapons in Syria has been brought to the forefront of the international community’s agenda, more deaths do not have to occur. Hopefully these investigations this time around will prevent future deaths. Also, had the UN been able to investigate sooner, it would have sent a very powerful message to the world, not just Syria, that the international community cares about and will protest human rights in every case.

  3. Not to say a trite old saying, but hindsight is 20/20. I thought the news today was interesting how the Government admitted to doing wrongs in the past. I feel that The government regime is realizing too that hindsight is 20-20 and the death toll might have been avoided with more help in the economically struggling towns in Syria. The chemical weapons are terrible no doubt, but I see their use as not good, but the deaths to civilians during the chemical attacks were not where the majority of deaths came from during this civil war. The fact that the government is starting to look into the root causes gives me hope that a multilateral agreement will be achievable, between Syria, some of the rebel groups, and the world that stands by and watches.

  4. There is no doubt that the United Nations missed an opportunity here, and there is a possibility that it may have prevented further attacks. That being said, we cannot look to the past, and wish we had done something different. Instead, the United Nations should be reviewing what happened, and make sure that an opportunity like this is never missed again.

    In addition, I find it hard to believe that one UN inspection, regardless of the importance, would have halted the actions of a desperate leader like Bashar Assad. A man willing to launch chemical weapons on men, women, and children is unlikely to be deterred by something like this. In the end, it took the intervention of the Russians to get him to agree to any sort of deal.

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