First do no harm: do air raids protect civilians?

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A recent revelation by President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari suggests that the large scale destruction of Syria could perhaps have been avoided by diplomacy. However, the negotiated solution was not accepted by all permanent members of the UN Security Council.
This view article reconstructs the Kaldorian, constructivist, cosmopolitan argument that was opposed to Ahtisaari's suggestion to negotiate and offer a face saving to President Assad. According to this argument, negotiation with Assad as a practice would have constituted a reality in which some of the basic norms against crimes against humanity did not exist, while only enforcement of such norms could have constituted a reality conducive for cosmopolitan progress. However, this article will show why such an argument was unrealistic and mpractical. It will conclude that the bi powers should have started negotiations on the platform of President Ahtisaari's formula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalMiddle East Policy
Issue number4
Early online date1 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Cosmopolitanism
  • intervention
  • humanitarian law
  • human rights
  • Syria


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