The Multilateralist

NATO chief: why Syria is not like Libya

Even as support for some type of Syria intervention grows in Washington, NATO’s political chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is doubling down on his view that the Western alliance will not be involved. In a virtual session with Russian students, Rasmussen clearly distinguished the situations in Libya and Syria. Via Reuters: Rasmussen said there was a ...

Even as support for some type of Syria intervention grows in Washington, NATO’s political chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is doubling down on his view that the Western alliance will not be involved. In a virtual session with Russian students, Rasmussen clearly distinguished the situations in Libya and Syria. Via Reuters:

Rasmussen said there was a clear difference between Syria and Libya, where NATO airstrikes helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

"In Libya we took responsibility for the operation based on a United Nations mandate to protect the Libyan population against attacks from its own government…and we had active support from the countries in the region," he said.

"None of these conditions are fulfilled in Syria, there is no United Nations mandate, there is no call on NATO to intervene in Syria, even the opposition in Syria does not ask for a foreign military intervention," he said.

Even as support for some type of Syria intervention grows in Washington, NATO’s political chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is doubling down on his view that the Western alliance will not be involved. In a virtual session with Russian students, Rasmussen clearly distinguished the situations in Libya and Syria. Via Reuters:

Rasmussen said there was a clear difference between Syria and Libya, where NATO airstrikes helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

"In Libya we took responsibility for the operation based on a United Nations mandate to protect the Libyan population against attacks from its own government…and we had active support from the countries in the region," he said.

"None of these conditions are fulfilled in Syria, there is no United Nations mandate, there is no call on NATO to intervene in Syria, even the opposition in Syria does not ask for a foreign military intervention," he said.

David Bosco is an associate professor at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of books on the U.N. Security Council and the International Criminal Court, and is at work on a new book about governance of the oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist