R2p in the Middle East and North Africa

Authored by: Mojtaba Mahdavi

THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT

Print publication date:  June  2012
Online publication date:  June  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415600750
eBook ISBN: 9780203117637
Adobe ISBN: 9781136304873

10.4324/9780203117637.ch19

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Abstract

The events unfolding before our eyes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, Syria, and Libya have turned the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) into a social laboratory of theories of social movements and doctrines of humanitarian intervention. Tunisia and Egypt are two prime examples of relatively successful grassroots socio-political changes from within. The use of naked violence against civilians by Gaddafi’s regime facilitated foreign intervention in Libya; this has turned Libya into the first test case of the implementation of the R2P doctrine in the MENA. Civil unrests in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, and Iran have not achieved a swift victory against their regimes. These regimes have systematically murdered their population and failed to live up to their obligations to protect civilians. Iran and Syria, two opponents of the US hegemony in the region, and Yemen and Bahrain, two allies of the United States, committed crimes against humanity by killing civilians in peaceful civil protests. Moreover, the military intervention of the closest US ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, in Bahrain and its full support to the Yemeni regime exacerbated the systematic violation of human rights in Bahrain and Yemen. However, the R2P doctrine has not been implemented in any of those cases to protect civilians from the regime’s atrocity. Moreover, the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the war in Afghanistan and the Global War on Terror (2001–present), as well as the old question of Israel–Palestine, and particularly the Israel–Gaza war of 2008–9, remain points of contention for the implementation of the R2P doctrine in the region.

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