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The British government plans to justify military action against Syria with “humanitarian intervention” doctrine

August 29, 2013, 17:50 UTC+3
A decision of UN Security Council is not required if a military strike alleviates humanitarian suffering, legislators claim
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS archive

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS archive

LONDON, August 29. (Itar-Tass) – The British government plans to justify the likely military strike on Syria by the “humanitarian intervention” doctrine, judging by the evaluation published by its legal consultants on Thursday.

According to their conclusion, Syrian intervention may be legal without approval of the UN Security Council if it is carried out like a “humanitarian intervention”, aimed to protect the local population. The legal counsel’s opinion has been published ahead of House of Commons debate on the subject of the governmental resolution on Syria, scheduled for August 29.

At the same time, the British Joint Intelligence Committee, coordinating the country’s intelligence and security agencies, has published their own point of view Thursday. According to it, it’s “highly likely” Syrian authorities are the ones responsible for using chemical weapons. This conclusion is based on data provided by the British intelligence, according to which the Syrian opposition simply could not carry out a chemical attack.

British governmental experts believe that a military intervention could be justified if there is no alternative to use of force, if military strikes will target specific targets and if it leads to alleviating the situation for Syrian citizens.

An official representative of the British government stated: “The Government's position on the legality of any action makes clear that if action in the UN Security Council is blocked, the UK would still be permitted, under the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, to take exceptional measures including targeted military intervention in order to alleviate the overwhelming humanitarian suffering in Syria.”

"The judgment of the Joint Intelligence Committee is that a chemical weapons attack did occur in Damascus last week; that it is highly likely that the Syrian regime was responsible; that there is some intelligence to suggest regime culpability; and that no opposition group has the capability to conduct a chemical weapons attack on this scale,” the spokesperson summed up.

At the same time British authorities announced that they believe a military intervention into Syria will not mean London supports the Syrian opposition. "Any response should be legal, proportionate and specifically in response to this attack and everyone around the Cabinet table agreed that it is not about taking sides in the Syrian conflict nor about trying to determine the outcome,” the representative added.

According to the British media, the nation’s government is examining NATO bombings of Yugoslavia, which were also classified as “humanitarian intervention,” initiated to protect civilian population in Kosovo.

Previously Peter Goldsmith, former Attorney General for England and Wales and Northern Ireland, who issued legal advice to the British Government over legality of military action against Iraq in 2003, has told Sky News TV channel that the Government should not the same mistakes in Syria.

Back in 2003, United States and Great Britain justified invasion of Iraq with the need to destroy WMDs. However, after the military operation was initiated, it was found out that Iraq had no chemical weapons.

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