Humanitarian Intervention and the Middle East: A Moral and Security Imperative

The Humanitarian Intervention Task Force (HITF) was established by Professor Steven Spiegel, Director of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development, in response to a request from the Ford Foundation to examine the question of Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect as they relate to the Middle East.

"It is important to work by evolution and not revolution."

As the enclosed report makes clear, the issue of humanitarian intervention has been placed squarely on the international agenda in the last decade, and brought further to the fore by the advancement of the principle of the “The Responsibility to Protect.”  These concepts have been much discussed internationally in this decade, and the notion of the Responsibility to Protect has only recently been raised to a maxim with global weight.  However, until now, no previous group of representatives from the region had addressed the issue of how such a principle would operate in the divided Middle East. Therefore, we believe the report that follows is path breaking, despite the fact that we all recognize that it will be necessary to broaden and deepen it in the years to come. We understand and accept that on this subject, the report before you is the first word, but not the last word.

On behalf of UCLA’s Center for Middle East Development, I would like to thank the Ford Foundation for funding this project. Without the Foundation’s support, this project would not have been initiated or concluded. We are also grateful to Peter Jones and Michael Molloy for chairing the Task Force, and helping the group to reach the point where this document could be published. And we appreciate the work of the assiduous rapporteur, Faith Rose, and the tenacious staff of CMED, Mani Jad and Krista Eulberg.

Everyone involved is deeply indebted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece for hosting the members during their work, and to Ambassador Alexander Philon in particular who greeted the participants under the auspices of Foreign Minister Theodora Bakoyannis. Above all, we celebrate the achievements and perseverance of the members of the Task Force themselves.

Given the still evolving nature of the concepts, it was decided not to strive for a consensus report, but rather to reflect the diverse range of views and arguments. Therefore, the co-Chairs are solely responsible for the content of this report. That said, the substance was discussed repeatedly by the group in an effort to ensure that the report would accurately and fairly represent the complex and stimulating discussions we had.

Without the work of all the members of the team, we would not be able to present the document before you. Therefore, our hats are off to all the participants who made this effort possible. All are encouraged by the possibility that the result of this project may produce at some point in the future a better and more humane Middle East.

Dr. Steven L. Spiegel
Director, UCLA Center for Middle East Development
and Professor of Political Science, UCLA

For more info please contact:
Mani A. Jad

Download file:1_HumaitarianInterventionReport.pdf

Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2008