Syria is knocking at the door of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Its complaint is against Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights that Israel had seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. It is true that the move of the United States (US) is a “flagrant violation” of United Nations (UN) resolutions, as Syria in a letter to UNSC calls it.

No one can deny the fact that the US accepting Israel’s sovereignty breaches international law. However, several issues need to be kept in mind as the UN prepares to meet over Trump’s irrational move. The most crucial problem in the present case is the composition of the UNSC, which comprises of five permanent members, including the US, with veto powers. Will the representative of the US in the UNSC overturn Trump’s move? Considering past history of the Israel-Palestine conflict at the UN, it seems almost impossible that the UNSC will reach a consensus on the issue at hand. The present crisis that Trump’s decision has created for the Middle East and the United Nations will measure the effectiveness of the UN in sorting out disputes among nations without going to wars against each other.

While deliberating upon Trump’s recognition of Israel’s rights over Golan Heights, the UNSC must keep in mind that if it fails in reversing Trump’s decision, the concept of territorial sovereignty will lose its sanctity in international law. This is a test for the UN and its commitment to upholding past decisions and the sanctity of international law. If the body allows such flagrant violations to happen so easily, it will have far-reaching consequences for other disputed and occupied territories across the world – including Kashmir.

The performance of the UN and its subsidiary bodies, especially UNSC, in the past two decades is far from satisfactory. Both the UN and UNSC have failed in carrying out their primary task – protecting the people from the “scourges of wars”. To put it bluntly, UNSC has already lost most of its credibility as a body to ensure global peace, precisely for the simple fact that its permanent members only try to secure their narrow national interests in the conflict zones.

If the UN cannot enforce such settled international law, the body should give up the pretence of fairness and stop censuring weaker nations. Should the UNSC fail to overturn Trump’s move, it will make the international organisation responsible for future conflicts.