Syrian Strikes are ‘Legal’ – But Only According to the ‘Law of the Jungle’

Hits: 726

The full extent of the damage to international peace and security caused by the US-led Syrian strikes will take some time to become clear. But its impact on the very concept of legality in international affairs is already evident.

Simply put, the most powerful county in the world and its chief satellites, the UK and France, have thrown the rule of law into the trash can. The only “law” now is the law of the jungle. There is no going back.

Ironically, the attack itself was claimed by its perpetrators as enforcement of legality, not of its obliteration. For example, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces “a clear breach of international norms and agreements” that “calls for a collective and effective response by the international community.”

Leaving aside for a moment the question of what really happened in the Syrian city of Douma, Stoltenberg knows very well what the mechanism is for a collective response by the international community. It is agreement by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression,” and to take military or non-military joint action to “restore international peace and security” under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Such action is subject to veto by the permanent members: the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France.

This means that if it were determined to the satisfaction of all five permanent members, and presumably to a majority of all the countries represented on the UNSC at a given time, that aggression or another threat to peace had taken place, joint action, including military action, could be authorized. Under the United Nations system, which is the current governing law of the international order, authorization by the UNSC is the only justification for armed action by a state or group of states against another, other than a country’s “inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs” under Article 51 of the charter. Stoltenberg knows this too, since NATO, the organization he heads, is ostensibly based on its members’ “exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51” under the North Atlantic Treaty’s oft-cited Article 5. That’s why operations by Russia and Iran at the invitation of the Syrian government are legal, but those of the US, Turkey, and any other countries not given permission by Damascus are illegal.

In short, in the absence of consensus in the UNSC, no country had or has the legal authority to attack Syria. This is even assuming the claims of chemical-weapons use were true. The Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Syria acceded in 2013, is not self-activating. Nothing gives any other country the legal right to unleash a military action against another country under its own claim that the convention has been violated.

Military action against another state that is neither in self-defense nor authorized by the Security Council has a name. It is called aggression. Based on the bitter experience of World War II, which gave rise to the United Nations in the first place, the UN Charter cites “suppression of acts of aggression” among its fundamental purposes in its Article 1, as judged by the Nuremberg war crimes court:

To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

For the informed observer, it is shocking how seldom the question of international legality comes up in Western political and media discussion on Syria. One would never know that the UN Charter is a binding treaty. Thus, under American law, it is the law of the land on a par with federal statutes. Its requirements are not optional.

But in the US, no one cares. We are a law unto ourselves. Even the application of US domestic law is hardly mentioned, except to note in passing that the constitutional requirement for congressional authorization is a dead letter and presidents do as they please.

It cannot be stressed enough: the prohibition on any country’s committing aggression against another would apply even if the targeted county were engaged in appalling crimes. Such crimes would include Saudi Arabia’s horrific war against civilians in Yemen, abetted by the very governments self-righteously preening themselves over their moral credentials with respect to Syria.

Still, anyone with a set of eyes and ears and an ability to think on his own can have little doubt that the Syrians did not use chemical weapons at Douma. This is evident in the haste of the countries attacking Syria, just as a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had arrived in Syria and would soon be in a position to shed important light on what actually had occurred. What did Washington, London, and Paris fear would come to light?

In the coming days, we will see what the OPCW and other independent investigators will turn up in Douma, as well as at other targets struck as supposed chemical weapons sites. Hopefully those investigations will be free of the politicized skew of the “Joint Investigative Mechanism” (JIM), which Russia has slammed for its reliance on “cherry-picked facts and accounts by partisan sources.”

Western governments’ arrogation of the right to attack other countries in the absence of legal authority based solely on their own subjective assertion of fact serves as an incentive to fabricate the necessary circumstances to “justify” their actions. It is also an open invitation for false claims by interested governments and for false-flag attacks by combatants. We can be sure that Douma will not be the last allegation of chemical weapons use as outside powers continue their efforts to prolong the Syrian war and thwart the legitimate government’s recovery of its territory from foreign-backed jihadists – whose own possession and use of chemical weapons is established.

Unfortunately, those allegations will not be made within an orderly legal framework that is able to investigate them objectively and decide authoritatively on an appropriate response. That framework, already coming apart under the illegal assaults of Western governments in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere, has been totally shattered in Syria. There is little prospect that it can be reconstructed.


Originally published on 2018-04-16

Author: James George Jatras

Source: RT

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
Trump the Great
If Trump can defeat the oligarchy and save America, he can go down in history as Trump the Great. Liberals, progressives, and the left-wing (to the extent that one still exists) are aligning with the corrupt oligarchy against president-elect Trump and the American people. They are busy at work trying to generate hysteria over Trump’s “authoritarian personality and followers.” In other words, the message is: here come the fascists. Liberals and progressives wailed and whined about “an all white male cabinet,” only to be made fools by Trump’s appointment of a black male and two women, one a minority and one a Trump ...
READ MORE
The Dishonest Career of the Remarkable Srđa Popović
Many readers likely never heard the name of the remarkable Serbia-born political operator named Srđa Popović. Yet he and his organization, CANVAS, have played a lead role in most every CIA-backed Color Revolution since he led the toppling of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, at least fifty according to last count. Now he has turned his sights on Hungary and Hungary’s popular and defiant Prime Minister Victor Orban. On September 8, the professional regime-change specialist Srđa Popović came to Budapest and joined with the anti-Orban opposition groups in front of the Hungarian Parliament. It‘s clear that Popović was not ...
READ MORE
The Trump Administration: “Ship of Fools”
The reaction to the Syrian gassing incident shows that the U.S. ship-of-state is being piloted by fools. Fool-in-Chief is President Donald Trump, who has duly followed the Neocon script by leaping to the conclusion that President al-Assad’s Syrian government is responsible when in fact there is no evidence of an intentional attack. Even if Syrian planes hit a munitions warehouse, the gas had been stored there by anti-government rebels /terrorists. It would be impossible and contrary to common sense that the Syrian government could have done this on purpose, if they did it at all. Fool-at-the-Podium is Sean Spicer, helplessly trying to ...
READ MORE
Accusing Russia: Listening to History
The prophet Cassandra’s curse was that when she told the future, no one listened; history’s curse is that when it tells the past, no one does. The West has no shortage of charges it hurls against Russia, but most of them can be grouped into one of three categories: that Russia intervened in the American elections, that Russia is dragging the world into a new cold war, and that Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive and expansionist. Sometimes when charges are brought against you, the best witness you can call to your defense is history. Election Intervention This history of Russia, America and political ...
READ MORE
Israeli Historians’ New Study Claims 30-year Genocide against Anatolian Christians
The Christian population that had made up one fifth of the Ottoman Empire’s population was wiped out in waves of violence by successive Ottoman and Turkish republican governments that left Christians a tiny minority in Anatolia, two Israeli scholars have said in a new study.The controversy over the killings of the Armenian Christian minority living in Anatolia during the last days of the Ottoman Empire is already well known – while the majority of the scholarly community and many international states recognise the killings as genocide, Turkey accepts that killings took place but rejects they constituted a genocide.Israeli historians Benny ...
READ MORE
Is it an Empire? See the Facts
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. Save Save
READ MORE
America’s Hegemonic Ambitions: The US “International Dictatorship”, Its Friends, Its Enemies
In a speech delivered in the southern suburbs of Beirut on October 23, 2015, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, a resistance organization rooted in Lebanon’s Shia community, presented a description of US imperialism that largely comports with that of secular leftwing anti-imperialists in the West. Hezbollah was established in the early 1980s to end Israel’s occupation of Lebanon. With Israel’s withdrawal in 2000, and a subsequent Israeli incursion in 2006 repulsed by Hezbollah fighters, the resistance organization remains on the qui vive against future Israeli aggressions. It is now assisting the Syrian Arab Army in its death struggle against ...
READ MORE
Yet Another President Commits the Ultimate War Crime of Launching a “War of Aggression”
President Donald Trump campaigned last year making the sensible argument that the US should no longer engage in a policy of regime change, and should attempt to have friendly relations with other countries like Russia and China. Yesterday he blew those ideas out of the water by launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase and by calling for the removal of Syria’s leader, Bashar al Assad. The pretext for the US cruise missile blitz, an alleged attack on a rebel-held town called Khan Shiekhun in Idlib province, where some 70 people, including children, were reported to have died from illegal ...
READ MORE
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999. Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a ...
READ MORE
Remembering the 1999 War on Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro)
March 24, 2018, marks the 19th anniversary of NATO illegal and illegitimate bombing of Yugoslavia, Serbia and its Kosovo, province during 78 days. It has – one is tempted to say: of course – been conveniently forgotten by the West itself. It was masterminded by the United States under Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright after the so-called negotiations between Serbs and Albanians in Rambouillet outside Paris (the parties never met face-to-face). While Clinton may be best remembered for his relations with Monica Lewinsky and his wife, Hillary Clinton, some of us also remember him (and Albright) for bombing Afghanistan, ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An Illegal Entity Annexed and Ruled by NATO is to Create a Regular Army
Kosovo is to set up a regular standing army, officially defying everyone, including NATO, although the bloc’s objections are only half-hearted. The alliance would prefer that the illegal entity of Kosovo change its constitution in order to create an army. Just amend it, and then you’re free to have one. This stance looks more like connivance than any real opposition to the move. Washington’s position is more or less the same. It supports "the gradual, transparent transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into a multiethnic force in line with NATO standards" as long as it complies with the provisions of Kosovo’s constitution, reflecting that “entity’s multiethnic ...
READ MORE
Vietnam War and Yemen False Flags
The missile attack on a US ship off the coast of Yemen was a major news event, but the subsequent follow up story, that it may never have happened, was either ignored by mainstream media or intentionally covered up. The whole thing has the same odor as the Gulf of Tonkin incident that never occurred. Does history repeat itself?  Sure does seem like it. That is if you compare America’s entry into the Vietnam civil war, with America’s latest entry into the war in Yemen. Don’t be mistaken, we have been at war with Yemen for a year now. America sided with ...
READ MORE
A Clinton Presidency: Humanity’s Worst Nightmare. Hillary’s “Rage for War”
Since Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, successive US administrations governed increasingly lawlessly and recklessly – Bill Clinton worse than his predecessors, Bush worse than him, Obama worst of all, at war with multiple invented enemies throughout his tenure – from inaugural day to the present. A neocon Hillary Clinton presidency succeeding him risks the unthinkable – possible WW III. America’s rage for dominance, its wanting planet earth colonized, and increasing belligerence toward Russia and China points to eventual confrontation. Unknown is to what extent, but when conflicts begin, they take on a life of their own. Starting them is easy, resolving them another ...
READ MORE
Israel: The Nuclear Hegemon That Poses a Potential Threat to Europe
It is calculated that in addition to the secret arsenal of up to 400 nuclear warheads, according to American Scientists, the Israeli state also reportedly possesses chemical and/or biological WMD, making it a dangerous nuclear hegemon that poses a potential threat not only to the Middle East but also to Europe.  Neither France nor Britain nor Germany can equal Israeli state nuclear weaponisation on both land and sea. This calculation is based on the fact that the state of Israel is the only WMD state to refuse to be a party to either the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) or the Biological ...
READ MORE
Israel is a War Criminal
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. Save
READ MORE
“Yugoslavia” Again: Terrorist 007
The US media has done it again. In a breaking news story on Fox News on Friday, September 28, 2007, Fox reporter Catherine Herridge used the term “former Yugoslavia” twice in the Fox story “Terrorist 007”. The term Yugoslavia was used deliberately to conceal the fact that the Al Qaeda terrorist known as Terrorist 007, or Irhabi 007 in Arabic, Younes Tsouli, had ties to Bosnia and to Bosnian Muslims who planned terrorist attacks. Fox News sought to conceal this Al Qaeda connection to Bosnia by using the term “former Yugoslavia” in place of “Bosnia”. This was deliberate and planned. Someone ...
READ MORE
Crimea: Was it Seized by Russia, or did Russia Block its Seizure by the U.S.?
Both before and after Crimea left Ukraine and joined Russia in a public referendum on 16 March 2014, the Gallup Organization polled Crimeans on behalf of the U.S. Government, and found them to be extremely pro-Russian and anti-American, and also anti-Ukrainian. (Neither poll was subsequently publicized, because the results of each were the opposite of what the sponsor had wished.) Both polls were done on behalf of the U.S. Government, in order to find Crimeans’ attitudes toward the United States and toward Russia, and also toward Ukraine, not only before but also after the planned U.S. coup in Ukraine, which occurred ...
READ MORE
Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights
The Conservative party released its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act if it won the General Election. Secretary of State Chris Grayling said they’d also be prepared to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, unless they were allowed to veto judgements from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). They won and the plan is going ahead. Included in the Human Rights Act are fundamental rights and freedoms that all individuals within the UK have access to – such as the right to life, the freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to a fair ...
READ MORE
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Whenever bombings and shootings escalate in the Middle East, Israeli propagandists say that Israel is exercising its right of military self-defense against indiscriminate attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. But as this article documents, the right to use force in self-defense is contingent on Israel ending its military occupation and blockade of Gaza. DON’T MISQUOTE ME ON THAT! Doubtless some unscrupulous person or persons will quote or interpret this article out of context and claim that I’m saying that Israel has no right to self-defense at all. So, let me be clear: Israel is a nation-state like any other, like it or ...
READ MORE
Greece in the Mediterranean Security System
With respect to Greece’s role in the Mediterranean security system, the multilateralist formula applied to the region including the Balkans as well as is the orienting principle for the Greek foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Since 1994, the opportunities for NATO’s and EU’s initiatives were more than apparent for Athens when Greece (wrongly) understood the Euro-Atlantic community as a fundamental security player for the extending the values of security and co-operation into this structurally unbalanced region. During the Cold War, the Greek policy-makers also found (wrongly) since 1952 that the US-led NATO offered allegedly excellent opportunities ...
READ MORE
Trump the Great
The Dishonest Career of the Remarkable Srđa Popović
The Trump Administration: “Ship of Fools”
Accusing Russia: Listening to History
Israeli Historians’ New Study Claims 30-year Genocide against Anatolian Christians
Is it an Empire? See the Facts
America’s Hegemonic Ambitions: The US “International Dictatorship”, Its Friends, Its Enemies
Yet Another President Commits the Ultimate War Crime of Launching a “War of Aggression”
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
Remembering the 1999 War on Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro)
Kosovo: An Illegal Entity Annexed and Ruled by NATO is to Create a Regular Army
Vietnam War and Yemen False Flags
A Clinton Presidency: Humanity’s Worst Nightmare. Hillary’s “Rage for War”
Israel: The Nuclear Hegemon That Poses a Potential Threat to Europe
Israel is a War Criminal
“Yugoslavia” Again: Terrorist 007
Crimea: Was it Seized by Russia, or did Russia Block its Seizure by the U.S.?
Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Greece in the Mediterranean Security System
Global-Politics.eu

Written by Global-Politics.eu

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu