- By David BoscoDavid Bosco, a Foreign Policy contributing editor and assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. He is at work on a book about the International Criminal Court's first decade.
The United Nations is scrambling to find new blue helments for its Golan Heights peackeeping mission, which has seen several key contingents withdraw. But not all offers of help are welcome. The UN is rebuffing Russia’s offer to participate. As the New York Times reported earlier this month, Russian president Vladimir Putin is ready to send troops if the Secretary General will only ask. At the United Nations, Russian diplomats have reiterated their willingness.
So why can’t Moscow send troops? The Security Council doesn’t have to approve every troop contingent for every mission. And presumably the Syrian government–on whose territory the peacekeeping force operates–would be thrilled to have Russian troops nearby. With Moscow champing at the bit, I’m told that the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations recently sought clarification on whether Moscow could participate.
The answer from the UN’s legal office was no. While I haven’t seen the response, the key element is no doubt the 1974 Protocol to Agreement on Disengagement Between Israeli and Syrian Forces Concerning the United Nations Disengagement Force. It provides that members of UNDOF shall be selected by the Secretary General in consultation with Syria and Israel and shall be drawn from "members of the United Nations who are not permanent members of the Security Council."
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |