Deliberate starvation: impact on peace and reconstruction in Syria

The Hague Institute for Global Justice

With the collapse of the peace talks in Geneva and the resignation of UN peace envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, we argue that there is a timely need for fresh thinking and to seize the opportunity to introduce new entry points for inclusive dialogue and cooperation. Reaching agreement among all parties to uphold international humanitarian law should be an absolute priority. As a way forward, we demonstrate that deliberate starvation is not in the respective interests of the Syrian government or the rebel groups. Based on an analysis of the evidence so far and from other situations of deliberate starvation, the outcome will be a fragile or even collapsed state, propped up at best by a weak system of humanitarian relief. Further, for the international community, realizing the magnitude of the challenges and the spiraling economic costs may also be the necessary leverage to forge political consensus for peace making and support for reconstruction. 


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