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In the first part of 2009, the Sri Lankan military began its final assault on a beachfront ‘no fire’ zone to root out the remnants of a long-standing insurgency within its territory. The counterinsurgency campaign was especially brutal, and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 civilians. Yet in the midst of this, members of the UN Security Council stymied all attempts to even formally discuss the conflict, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remained utterly silent throughout (some worry due to a conflict of interest that had him aligned with some of the political imperatives of the Sri Lankan government). In the end, the Responsibility to Protect was shown to be an empty promise, with the UN rendered mute and moot.