The US Aggression on Syria and the Principles of a “Just War”

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The US military forces committed a classical example of the aggression on one sovereign and independent state on April 6th, 2017 by bombing a territory of Syrian Arab Republic by 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles killing civilians who are proclaimed as usually as “collateral damage”. A formal excuse for the aggression was based as many times before (from Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya… cases) on traditional political false flags and mainstream media fake news used by the US propaganda machinery to sanction the Pentagon’s hegemonic policy of the Pax Americana.

The Fundamental Dilemma

The fundamental dilemma is why the US administrations of Obama & Trump were and are supporting different kinds of the Islamic fundamentalist jihad organizations in Syria and the Mideast regardless on the fact that they are called by the White House as “moderate terrorists”? The terrorist is simply the terrorist and there is no any difference between “moderate” or “hardcore” terrorist if the first term can exist at all from both logical and moral reasons. It is already known that all of those terrorists in Syria, including primarily the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/DAESH), are armed and sponsored by the US (i.e. Israel) and their regional quisling states (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar…). The terrorists’ original warfare of partisan strategy[1], like by the Muslim Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army in 1995−1999, was based only on direct provoking of the legal and legitimate Syrian state security forces to respond by attacking the terrorists’ posts. Later, well armed and equipped terrorists occupied huge portion of Syria and establishing full scale of ideological and religious terror against the civilians that simply forced a regular Syrian security forces to launch large scale military actions in order to stop the jihadist terror and liberate the country from the criminals but as it is expected with unavoidable number of civilian casualties. However, these civilian victims are not understood by the White House as a “collateral damage” but rather as the victims of deliberate ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed by the legitimate Syrian Government. Nevertheless, all civilian victims of the US bombing of Syria are (and will be in the future) presented by the US administration exactly as a “collateral damage” of the American “Just War”[2] against the “oppressive” regime in Damascus.

The Principles of a “Just War” and the American Aggression on Syria

Here we will present the basic (academic) principles of a “Just War”:

  1. Last resort – All diplomatic options are exhausted before the force is used.

  2. Just cause – The ultimate purpose of use of force is to self-defend its own territory or people from military attack by the others.

  3. Legitimate authority – To imply the legitimate constituted Government of a sovereign state, but not by some private (individual) or group (organization).

  4. Right intention – The use of force, or war, had to be prosecuted on the morally acceptable reasons, but not based on revenge or the intention to inflict the damage.

  5. Reasonable prospect of success – The use of force should not be activated in some hopeless cause, in which the human lives are exposed for no real benefits.

  6. Proportionality – The military intervention has to have more benefits than loses.

  7. Discrimination – The use of force must be directed only at the purely military targets as the civilians are considered to be innocent.

  8. Proportionality – The used force has to be no greater than it is needed to achieve morally acceptable aims and must not be greater than the provoking cause.

  9. Humanity – The use of force can not be directed ever against the enemy personnel if they are captured (the prisoners of war) or wounded.[3]

Nevertheless, if we analyze the last US (but probably not and the final) military campaign in regard to above presented basic (academic) principles of a “Just War”, the fundamental conclusions are:

  1. The US administration did not use any real diplomatic effort to settle the Syrian crisis as Washington simply gave the political-military ultimatum only to one side (the Syrian Government) to either accept or not in full required blackmails.

  2. This principle was absolutely misused by Washington as the USA was never attacked or occupied by Syria. The legal Syrian Government is waging a classic anti-terrorist war against the illegal military movements sponsored by the Mideast America’s quisling regimes and the US administration itself. In other words, the second principle of a “Just War” can be only applied to the anti-terrorist operations waged by the state authorities of Syria against the jihad militants and other terrorists rather than to the US military intervention against Syria.

  3. The Legitimate authority principle in the Syrian conflict case can be applied only to Syria and her legitimate state institutions and authority which are recognized as legitimate by the international community and above all by the UN.

  4. The morally acceptable reasons officially used by Washington to justify its own military action against Syria are quite unclear and above all unproved and misused for the very political and geostrategic purposes in the coming future. It was the same case with the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 but today we know that the NATO military campaign was not based on the morally proved claims to stop a mass expulsion of the ethnic Albanians from their homes in Kosovo as a mass number of refugees appeared during the NATO military intervention but not before. If Washington with its Western quislings was lying in the 1999 Kosovo case, it is logically quite expected to lie and today in the case of Syria.

  5. The consequences of the fifth principle are selectively applied as only the terrorists will benefited from both short and long term perspectives by the US military engagement in Syria if somebody will not stop further American (in fact Israeli) imperialism in the Mideast.

  6. The sixth principle is also practically applied only to the jihad terrorists in Syria, especially to the Islamic State, what is in fact and the ultimate task of the US policy in the Syrian conflict from its very beginning in 2013. In other words, the benefits of the American military intervention in Syria are overwhelmingly single-sided. From the long-term geostrategic, political as well as economic aspects, the intervention is considered to be very profitable with minimum loses for the US military during the further aggression on Syria.

  7. The practical consequences of the seventh principle is and it is going to be mostly criticized as the US obviously did not make any difference between the military and civilian targets similarly as it was in the case of the aggression on Serbia and Montenegro by the NATO in 1999 when it was even deliberately bombed much more civilian objects and non-combat citizens than the military objects and personnel – something what Syria can expect if Washington will continue with its aggression on the country. In this case, all civilian victims of the bombing of all nationalities will be simply presented by Washington as an unavoidable “collateral damage”, but in fact it is already and probably it will be a clear violation of the international law and one of the basic principles of the concept of a “Just War”.

  8. The eighth principle of a “Just War” surely was not respected by Washington on April 6th, 2017, and it is not going to be respected in the future, as the used force was much higher as needed to achieve proclaimed tasks and above all was much stronger that the opposite side had. However, the morally acceptable aims of the American policymakers are based on the wrong and deliberately misused “fact” in regard to the use of the chemical weapons (ChW) against civilians by the regular Syrian army. In this context, we have to remind ourselves that Washington used the same false flag strategy against Serbia and Montenegro in 1999 when the “brutal massacre of forty-five civilians in the Kosovo village of Račak in January 1999”[4] by the Serbian security forces became a formal pretext for the NATO aggression. Nevertheless, it is known today that those Albanian “brutally massacred civilians” were in fact the members of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army killed during the regular fight but not executed as the civilians as it was deliberately presented by the neocon warmongers in Washington.[5]

  9. Only the last principle of a “Just War” is respected by the US in the case of the American recent aggression on Syria but for the very reason that there are no captured soldiers from the opponent side. The same case was and concerning the NATO aggression on Serbia and Montenegro in 1999 when the Serbian authorities respected this principle as all (two) NATO captured pilots were treated as the prisoners of war according to the international standards and even were free very soon after the imprisonment.[6]

Make America a Global Empire Again!

The US post-WWII imperialistic foreign policy of global hegemony is obviously not to be changed by a new 45th US President who only after three months obliterated all his electoral campaign promises to keep hands off from Syria and to finally stop with the American practice of interventionist policies across the world. Unfortunately, the unlimited US imperialism is going to be on agenda and of the 45th American President whose motto “Make America Great Again” is nothing else but only the intention to restore the US role of the post-Cold War global policemen “for behalf of the American people” as it is written on his presidential Twitter account (@POTUS). Therefore, Donald Trump(enstein) as international law breaker and another war criminal in the Oval Office is going to be a good American President like his predecessor Barack Obama the Bomber who created the civil war in Syria by direct sponsoring the jihad Mideast terrorists.

Endnotes:

[1] The “partisan” or “guerrilla” war is fought by irregular troops using mainly tactics that are fitting to the geographical features of the terrain. The crucial characteristic of the tactics of the partisan war is that it uses mobility and surprise but not direct frontal battles with the enemy. Usually, the civilians are paying the highest price in the course of the partisan war. In the other words, it is “war conducted by irregulars or guerrillas, usually against regular, uniformed forces, employing hit-and-run, ambush, and other tactics that allow smaller numbers of guerrillas to win battles against numerically superior, often heavily-armed regular forces” [P. R. Viotti, M. V. Kauppi, International Relations and World Politics: Secularity, Economy, Identity, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2009, 544]. With regard to the Kosovo War in 1998−1999 the reconstruction of the Albanian guerrilla strategy is as following:

“…a police patrol is passing a village, when a sudden fire is open and some policemen killed and wounded. The police return the fire and the further development depends on the strength of the rebellious unit engaged. If the village appears well protected and risky to attack by the ordinary units, the latter stops fighting and calls for additional support. It arrives usually as a paramilitary unit, which launches a fierce onslaught” [P. V. Grujić, Kosovo Knot, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: RoseDog Books, 2014, 193].

[2] A “Just War” is considered to be a war that has a purpose to satisfy certain ethical standards, and therefore is (allegedly) morally justified.

[3] A. Heywood, Global Politics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 257.

[4] R. J. Art, K. N. Waltz (eds.), The Use of Force: Military Power and International Politics, Lanham−Boulder−New York−Toronto−Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004, 257.

[5] В. Б. Сотировић, Огледи из југославологије, Виљнус: приватно издање, 2013, 19−29.

[6] On the NATO “humanitarian” intervention in the FRY in 1999, see more in [G. Szamuely, Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013].


Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2017

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