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

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!
Mosul, Iraq and Obama’s Legacy of War
Barack Obama is the first two-term American president to have presided over war every day of his tenure in office. He bequeaths to a Trump administration ongoing operations in Afghanistan, continuing drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, the consequences of the 2011 destruction of Libya, the instigation of civil war in Syria, US sponsorship of the brutal Saudi interventions in Yemen, and the civil conflicts in Ukraine, the Caucuses and across Africa. Obama’s blood-soaked legacy, however, is most graphic in Iraq. There is a bitter irony in this, given the fact that he was elected in 2008 largely on the basis of ...
READ MORE
The Forgotten Postwar US-Nazi Alliance
As the Second World War advanced from its early stages, the United States was assessing which sections of the earth it would hold conquest over. American planners had to remain patient, however. A seemingly endless string of conquests for the Nazis had astonished the world – particularly those in the US – and led to Adolf Hitler being crowned as “the new Napoleon”. In the summer of 1942, under Hitler’s domineering command of the military, the Germans controlled vast swathes of Europe – from Warsaw to Oslo to Paris, and eastwards onto Athens, Kiev and Sevastopol. It was one major victory ...
READ MORE
US Foreign Policies Remain Unchanged since 1948
Ever since 1948, the US Government’s foreign policies have been consistently focused upon breaking up the Soviet Union and turning its Warsaw Pact allies against the Soviet Union; and, then, once that would be (and was) accomplished, turning any remaining allies of Russia against Russia; and, then, once that will have been accomplished, conquering Russia. Since at least 2006, US ‘defense' policy has been that nuclear war will be an acceptable way to conquer Russia if lesser measures fail to do the job. (Since 2006, the concept that a nuclear war between the US and Russia would result in “mutually ...
READ MORE
Syria and the Project to Balkanize the Middle East
A decade ago I published a book, Israel and the Clash of Civilisations, that examined Israel’s desire to Balkanize the Middle East, using methods it had refined over many decades in the occupied Palestinian territories. The goal was to unleash anarchy across much of the region, destabilising key enemy states: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The book further noted how Israel’s strategy had influenced the neoconservative agenda in Washington that found favour under George Bush’s administration. The neocons’ destabilisation campaign started in Iraq, with consequences that are only too apparent today. My book was published when efforts by Israel and the neocons to move ...
READ MORE
Ukraine’s NATO Referendum is a Vote for War
The massive artillery bombardment of the peoples of the Donbass, that has been raining down shells and fire on them since Christmas, is a war crime of horrific proportions designed to terrorise the people and bring their refusal to be subject to the NATO-installed regime in Kiev to an end. It is also becoming clear that it has a political purpose, which is to increase anti-Russian, pro-NATO propaganda among the Ukrainian people to influence them to vote to join NATO in a referendum, the consequences of which will be dramatic because a vote for NATO will be a vote for ...
READ MORE
The US and China Can Avoid a Collision Course – If the US Gives Up its Empire
The problem is America’s global hegemony comes with insistence on maintaining military and economic dominance right in China’s backyard. To avoid a violent militaristic clash with China, or another cold war rivalry, the United States should pursue a simple solution: give up its empire. Americans fear that China’s rapid economic growth will slowly translate into a more expansive and assertive foreign policy that will inevitably result in a war with the US. Harvard Professor Graham Allison has found: “in 12 of 16 cases in the past 500 years when a rising power challenged a ruling power, the outcome was war.” Chicago University scholar John ...
READ MORE
The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know
This article  by Professor James Tracy first published in August 2015 is of particular relevance in relation to the “fake news” campaign directed against the alternative and independent media. In a bitter irony, the media coverup of  the CIA’s covert support to Al Qaeda and the ISIS is instrumented by the CIA which also oversees the mainstream media. Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, ...
READ MORE
The Media Is Lying to You on Macedonia. US Is Backing an Illegal Coup D’état
Media narrative: Hateful protestors stormed the Macedonian parliament after an ethnic Albanian Talat Xhaferi was elected speaker for the first time. Truth: Protestors stormed the parliament because Xhaferi was declared speaker in an illegal, unconstitutional manner as part of an ongoing coup d'état. It had nothing whatsoever to do with his ethnicity. Even though Xhaferi was "elected" in an irregular manner, the US and EU have already stated they recognize his appointment. This now paves the way for ethnic Albanian parties and the smaller of two main Macedonian parties (Social Democrats) to proclaim a government without the constitutionally required go-ahead from the President of the Republic. The latter has defied ...
READ MORE
A Book Review: “The Biggest Prison on Earth – A History of the Occupied Territories”
The history of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is continued with Ilan Pappe’s recent work, The Biggest Prison on Earth. For those who have read Pappe’s earlier histories, it is clear the original Zionists recognized the existence of the Palestinian population and the resistance most likely to rise from it. Also recognized are the actions taken throughout the occupation and settlement that the Jewish settlers were intent on marginalizing, displacing, and cleansing as much of Palestine as they could of its residents. The revelation in this continuation of the history is the high degree to which these policies were officially planned ...
READ MORE
The History of the CIA
When I began reading the work of Douglas Valentine about six years ago, I had not read his books, only the articles that the US online journal Counterpunch had published. In fact I only began reading Counterpunch because of the accident of having been introduced to the two original editors of what was then only a printed newsletter. Later I was even able to publish a few pieces in that journal before its more famous founding editor’s demise. Why do I preface a book review with such personal observations? To that question I will return later. After reading numerous articles I ...
READ MORE
Western Democracy is an Endangered Species on its Way to Extinction
The British Labour Party no longer represents the working class. Under UK prime minister Tony Blair, the Labour Party became a vassal of the One Percent. The result has been a rebellion in the ranks and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, a principled Labourite intent on representing the people, a no-no in Western “democracies.” Corbyn is too real for the Labour Party Blairites, who hope to be rewarded with similar nest eggs as Blair for representing the capitalist One Percent. So what is the corrupted Labour Party doing to prevent Corbyn’s election? The answer is that it is denying the vote to ...
READ MORE
The Brexit Vote: What does it Mean?
  The EU and NATO are evil institutions.  These two institutions are mechanisms created by Washington in order to destroy the sovereignty of European peoples.  These two institutions give Washington control over the Western world and serve both as cover and enabler of Washington’s aggression.  Without the EU and NATO, Washington could not force Europe and the UK into conflict with Russia, and Washington could not have destroyed seven Muslim countries in 15 years without being isolated as a hated war criminal government, no member of whom could have travelled abroad without being arrested and put on trial. Clearly, the presstitute media ...
READ MORE
The U.S. War Crimes against North Korea: Sinchon Massacre by the U.S. Military Exposed
SINCHON COUNTY, North Korea–Over the past few years the Korean people have been able to expose the truth about a number of atrocities by Washington’s military forces during the 1950–53 Korean War. Many others, however, remain covered up and receive virtually no mention outside the Korean peninsula. One such massacre took place in Sinchon, a city located in what is today North Korea. During the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists leadership delegation’s visit to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), we toured the Sinchon Museum, which documents what north Koreans consider the worst atrocity to have taken place in ...
READ MORE
What is July 4th to US Imperialism? What is It to the Oppressed?
“The Declaration of Independence implicitly legalized the enslavement of Black people and the genocide of Native people within the context of the developing American capitalist nation-state.” July 4th is once again approaching and principled left forces need to use the day as a teaching moment. In a speech given on July 4th, 1852, Frederick Douglas spoke before a packed Rochester Hall and did just that, highlighting the hypocrisy that stains the July 4th celebration of the American Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence, as Douglass emphasized, held no worth to the millions of Black people in the United States whose existence was ...
READ MORE
A Collection of Thoughts about American Foreign Policy
Louis XVI needed a revolution, Napoleon needed two historic military defeats, the Spanish Empire in the New World needed multiple revolutions, the Russian Czar needed a communist revolution, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires needed World War I, Nazi Germany needed World War II, Imperial Japan needed two atomic bombs, the Portuguese Empire in Africa needed a military coup at home, the Soviet Empire needed Mikhail Gorbachev … What will the American Empire need? I don’t believe anyone will consciously launch World War III. The situation now is more like the eve of World War I, when great powers were armed and ...
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
Warning! Neocons are Close to Starting a Nuclear War with Russia
We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy ...
READ MORE
The Disaster That Bill Clinton Created in Bosnia by Backing Muslims Against the Serbs
Two decades later Bosnia is still suffering the consequences. ISIS has declared the Balkans the next front for the Islamic Caliphate, and in remote mountain villages, Muslims are already flying the ISIS flag. Central Bosnia in 2015 Russia Insider (h/t Maksim)  The Balkans is the latest arena where the West is trying to circumcise any attempt of Russia to regainits influence. This anti-Serbian resolution and initiative is the part of the broader strategy and the latest Western attempt to demonize Serbs and delegitimize pro-Russian Republic of Srpska (Serbian part of Bosnia) in an effort to forcefully centralize Bosnia and give the driving seat to ...
READ MORE
NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden”
During the final years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the US reached a verbal agreement whereby Moscow would allow for the reunification of Germany in exchange for the US agreeing to never expand NATO further East. As history attests, the US shamelessly reneged on its guarantee the moment the Soviet Union collapsed and was powerless to effectively stop it, swallowing up almost the entirety of Eastern Europe (save for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine) and all the Baltic States by 2004. What’s less studied by observers is NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden” (Drive to the South), which represents one ...
READ MORE
Angela Merkel Ignores Otto Von Bismarck’s Advice Never to Quarrel with Russia
It has been 200 years since the birth of Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who unified Germany. Otto von Bismarck emphasized the importance of good relations with Russia. "The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia", he said. Bismarck was convinced that a European security system without Russia would be impossible and war with Russia would be disastrous. Bismarck had been Prussia's ambassador to the Russian Empire. He was no Russophile, but he had an understanding of the geopolitical situation that almost no politician today possesses. Let's imagine that Bismarck left a letter to the following rulers of Germany, ...
READ MORE
Mosul, Iraq and Obama’s Legacy of War
The Forgotten Postwar US-Nazi Alliance
US Foreign Policies Remain Unchanged since 1948
Syria and the Project to Balkanize the Middle East
Ukraine’s NATO Referendum is a Vote for War
The US and China Can Avoid a Collision Course – If the US Gives Up its Empire
The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know
The Media Is Lying to You on Macedonia. US Is Backing an Illegal Coup D’état
A Book Review: “The Biggest Prison on Earth – A History of the Occupied Territories”
The History of the CIA
Western Democracy is an Endangered Species on its Way to Extinction
The Brexit Vote: What does it Mean?
The U.S. War Crimes against North Korea: Sinchon Massacre by the U.S. Military Exposed
What is July 4th to US Imperialism? What is It to the Oppressed?
A Collection of Thoughts about American Foreign Policy
“Yugoslavia” Again: Terrorist 007
Warning! Neocons are Close to Starting a Nuclear War with Russia
The Disaster That Bill Clinton Created in Bosnia by Backing Muslims Against the Serbs
NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden”
Angela Merkel Ignores Otto Von Bismarck’s Advice Never to Quarrel with Russia
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

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