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Land of Blue HelmetsThe United Nations and the Arab World$
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Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286931

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286931.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

The Middle East

The Middle East

A Mandatory Return to Humanitarian Action

(p.372) Seventeen The Middle East
Land of Blue Helmets

Caroline Abu Sa’Da

University of California Press

This chapter examines how the Syrian crisis has exposed the limitations of mixing political and humanitarian activities and its damaging impact on the delivery of much-needed assistance to Syrian civilians. Some actors, such as United Nations and some of its agencies, have faced challenges in their ability to provide aid to people on the ground because their political mandate has largely overruled the humanitarian imperative. Other actors, such as Médecins Sans Frontières (or Doctors without Borders; MSF), are compelled to challenge this political frame, even if they face huge difficulties in delivering humanitarian aid in an impartial and independent manner. The chapter considers how the Middle East challenges conventional actors—in particular MSF and the UN—over the limits of their mandates and/or actions. It presents case studies to demonstrate how these limits have influenced the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Syria.

Keywords:   civilians, United Nations, Médecins Sans Frontières, humanitarian aid, Middle East, humanitarian assistance, Syria

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