Syria and Security in the “Legal” Strike of 2013

What the big 5 in the Council say about the conflict
Rahman Mohamed

After the demand of the release of political prisoners in Damascus and Derra, leading to the shootings that killed protesters, a nationwide uprising slowly began  in 2011.  Today Syria has grown to an all out civil war to which around nations around the world are debating whether or not to react, including the UN Security Council – the USA, the UK, France, Russia, and China.

Throughout the war weapons were used to kill.  According to EuroNews more than 1,000,000 refugees fled from Syria to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq.

In May media around the world, including the BBC reported that there was evidence that chemical weapons had been used in Syria.

A year before Barack Obama said

“We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,” Obama told reporters at the White House. “We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.
“That would change my calculus; that would change my equation.” (CNN, 2012 August 21)

In a live address broadcast internationally on August 31, President Barack Obama stated

Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets….the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now. And I’m prepared to give that order.
But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I’ve made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress.

Yesterday CNN reported that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution; the measure will now go to the Senate for full debate next week.

BBC reported that on August 31 “In a tweet, the prime minister [David Cameron] said: “I understand and support Barack Obama’s position on #Syria.””  coming after MPs in the UK Parliament voted against Cameron’s motion to support a military action “if it was backed by evidence from UN weapons inspectors probing a Syrian gas attack”.

Cameron took the issue of a strike against Syria.  But the motion was narrowly defeated, BBC reporting “David Cameron said he would respect the defeat of a government motion by 285-272, ruling out joining US-led strikes.

France, another permanent member of the UN Security Council.  On Saturday August 31 France 24 reported that “US Secretary of State John Kerry called France America’s “oldest ally” Friday as he praised the country for its support of military action in Syria”  The day before, when France was asked if it would act without Britain, French President François Holland replied “Yes. Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation. That is valid for Britain as it is for France.”

The reason the strike against Syria is being considered illegal is because of two other permanent members of the Security Council: China and Russia.  BBC reported that Russia not only “warned that “any unilateral military action bypassing the UN Security Council” would be a “direct violation of international law””, Putin saying “it would be “utter nonsense” for Syria’s government to provoke opponents with such attacks”.  Together with China, Russia used its veto power on the Security Council to block two draft resolutions against Syria.

With an “illegal” war that is hoping to gain “legal” approval, the question now, will Syria need a defence in the “international court of war”?

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