Military intervention and international law : a critical analysis of the role of the international community in political uprisings in Libya and Syria.
The role of the international community in internal crises of sovereign states has been a subject of great debate in international relations studies. The legality and morality (from a United Nations Charter and customary international relations perspectives) of military intervention, either actively or through the support of an uprising or a rebellion, has been a subject of debate. The major debate on the role of the international community has been on the subject of military intervention for humanitarian purposes. Military intervention for humanitarian purposes which was popular in the 19th century and was seen by scholars as the justification of the military interventions in Iraq, Somalia and Kosovo during the 1990s was rekindled with the Arab Spring and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states’ intervention in Libya and the alleged military support to Libyan rebels. NATO member states’ intervention in Libya polarized the Security Council and led to paralysis on the Syrian crisis. This thesis critically analyses the concept of military intervention for humanitarian purposes taking into consideration the transformations that have taken place in the international system specifically on the concept of sovereignty, human rights, and the United Nations (UN) law as well as the rise of the “Responsibility to Protect” as the repackaging of the concept of military intervention for humanitarian purposes. The research argues that the concept of military intervention for humanitarian purposes is controversial and has not gained full recognition by member states of the UN. It also argues that the concept of military intervention for humanitarian purposes is subject to abuse by ambitious powers. Its use in Libya was controversial. However, the international community could have learnt from the Libyan mistakes to come up with an accepted intervention programme in Syria in order to save civilian lives.