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US strikes against targets in Syria challenge international law - analysts

September 23, 2014, 16:35 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, September 23. /ITAR-TASS/. US air and rocket strikes against Syrian territory without the UN Security Council’s resolution are a challenge to international law, experts polled by ITAR-TASS believe.

On Tuesday, the United States attacked positions of the Islamic State terrorist group inside Syria. US Department of State officials said earlier that Washington would not coordinate air strikes against targets in Syrian territory with the Bashar Assad government. The Russian Foreign Ministry said, in turn, that attacks carried out without prior coordination with Damascus and UN Security Council would be an act of aggression against a sovereign state.

“The fact that Washington has notified Syria’s UN envoy of air strikes against militants’ positions in the territory of Syria does not change anything. Aggression will be aggression. The UN Security Council’s resolution 2170 of August 15 envisaged creation of a basis for a collective international response to the threat from the Islamic State that has emerged in Iraq and Syria, but gave Washington no right to use force against a sovereign country,” the president of the Middle East Institute, Yevgeny Satanovsky, told ITAR-TASS.

“Washington recognizes the rules of international law only if they meet the interests of the United States. But in most cases, for instance, take the bombings of Iraq with the aim of overthrowing Saddam Hussein, the United States acts as it pleases, because it has more money and weapons than all other countries of the world,” Satanovsky said.

“Officially Washington declares that with air strikes against Syrian territory it struggles with the terrorist threat coming from the Islamic State militants. But at the end of last week Barack Obama signed a law enabling his country to arm and train members of a ‘moderate Syrian opposition,’ for instance the Free Syrian Army. The United States is considering the possibility of training FSA militants at bases in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar,” the analyst said.

“Therefore, it should not be ruled out that in order to extend ‘assistance’ to the Syrian opposition the US Air Force may start bombing the strongholds of Bashar Assad’s army,” Satanovsky said.

“Analogies are close at hand. In 2011, US-led NATO forces contributed to the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi while professing commitment to the protection of civilian population in Libya,” the expert recalled.

“The United States regards Syrian President Bashar Assad as illegitimate. Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s ‘request’ for deposing his regime is still in effect. It is not accidental that the “Arab partners” are helping the United States with its operation against the Islamic State forces inside Syria. According to media reports, taking part in the raids against Syrian territory are Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates,” Satanovsky said.

“Dealing strikes against the territory of a sovereign state, even if part of that territory is controlled by Islamic State militants, without coordination with Damascus is unjustified. The reason is not so much violation of international law as the United States’ inability to cope with the problem of Islamic terrorism without cooperation with the main regional players - the authorities of Syria and Iran. The more so, since a ground operation is not on Washington’s agenda,” the general director of Russia’s Council for International Affairs, Andrei Kortunov, has told ITAR-TASS.

Air strikes against Syria will hit innocent civilians first and foremost. When the infrastructures and supply lines are destroyed and in the areas once controlled by the militants there will remain nothing but ruins, it will be hard to expect that the local people will extend and enthusiastic welcome to their ‘liberators’ - the United States and its Western partners,” the analyst said.

“Washington’s strikes against Syria pour more oil onto the fire of war in the Middle East and foment the Islamists’ hatred, which by no means meets the interests of either the United States, or the West or the rest of the world,” Kortunov said.


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