The world condemns the strikes against Syria carried out Friday night by US, French and British forces. The attack is a flagrant and illegal act of aggression. The administrations of American President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May are guilty of a war crime, which poses the danger of triggering a conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.

The pretext for the attack on Syria is unproven allegations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military forces used banned chemical weapons against US-backed rebel militias in the city of Douma. Russia, which has significant military contingents in Syria to support the Syrian government in its seven-year against the foreign-instigated and supported militias, has categorically rejected the US and allied propaganda. It has openly accused British intelligence of pressuring the militants to manufacture a video that purports to show victims of a chemical weapons attack.

A team from the ostensibly independent Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was scheduled to arrive in Douma to carry out an inspection of the alleged site this weekend. Trump’s order to initiate strikes was calculated to pre-empt such an inspection and a confirmation by the OPCW that the entire pretext for any attack on Syria was a lie.

The fraudulent basis for the assault was underscored shortly after Trump’s broadcast, during the subsequent press briefing by his defense secretary, General Jim Mattis. Mattis could not provide any coherent details as to the US accusations. Moreover, contradicting the president’s vow of a protracted campaign against Syria, the general appeared to indicate that there would be no more action apart from the missile strikes that had already taken place. If this does prove to be the case, the action ordered by Trump will fall far short of what was being demanded within the American political and media establishment. Given the extreme vitriol directed against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, there is no doubt that advocates of a military strike expected that any attack would include an attempt directed at the Syrian president.

Far from the destruction of the Syrian government, however, the strike against Syria appears to have had minimal impact. The Russian military has boasted that Syrian air defenses shot down most of the missiles fired into Syria, and that none of its personnel or assets in the country were impacted. Bashar al-Assad walked to his office on Saturday morning.

At this point, the attack has served primarily to underscore the debacle facing the US-led imperialist intrigues for regime-change in Syria. It will most likely not be long before sections of the American political and media establishment are accusing Trump of a climb-down and capitulation to Vladimir Putin. Demands will inevitably be made for far more extensive, and murderous, operations.

The propaganda campaign justifying the attack on Syria was concocted to provide a pretext for a massive military onslaught—not one-off missile strikes. Facing the prospect of a military rout of its proxy forces fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, the decision for an escalation was made in Washington and London, and it was left to the CIA, MI6 and their agents now in Syria to manufacture a pretext. On Friday, the Russian Ministry of Defense provided the most coherent and logical account given so far regarding the incident in Douma on April 7, which the Western press has unanimously proclaimed a chemical weapons attack on civilians by the Syrian government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We have irrefutable evidence that it was another staged attack, and the special services of a state which is in the forefront of the Russo-phobic campaign had a hand in staging it,”

The Russian Defense Ministry showed a video interview with two people, one of whom was a medical student working at Douma’s only operational hospital. The witnesses said that after a Syrian Army artillery barrage hit a building, people suffering from smoke inhalation were being treated at a hospital. Then, unknown individuals—later revealed to be associated with the CIA-backed so-called “White Helmets”—ran into the hospital screaming that there had been a chemical weapons attack. They encouraged the victims to douse each other with water, which they then proceeded to film.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov stated: “We know for certain that between April 3 and April 6 the so-called White Helmets were seriously pressured from London to speed up the provocation that they were preparing.” According to Konashenkov, the group, which was a primary source of photos and footage of the purported chemical attack, was informed of a large-scale artillery attack on Damascus planned by the militants, which controlled Douma at the time. The so-called White Helmets were ordered to arrange the provocation after retaliatory strikes by the Syrian government forces, which the shelling was certain to lead to.

Despite vehemently denouncing the Russian claims, neither Washington nor London made any attempt to factually refute them. In contrast to the categorical statements of the Russian government, backed up by video testimony, Theresa May has only claimed it was “highly likely” that Syria carried out the attack. But even that was more definite than the statements of Defense Secretary Mattis, who declared the United States was still “looking for the actual evidence.”

With the initiation of attacks on Syria, the US and its allies have signaled that the unravelling of the nominal reasons for war is irrelevant. Their onslaught is driven by far deeper causes than the lies used to justify them.

As it seems, the ‘world imperialism’ is undertaking a new re-division of the world. Britain and France want to be recognized as full-scale participants in the new carve-up of the Middle East and its effective recolonization: their oil corporations do not want to be left out of the plunder.

All of the governments participating in this new onslaught are crisis-ridden and lack any electoral legitimacy. The vast gulf between them and their populations is expressed in the fact that none of them has been able to create any broad-based support for war. According to one YouGov poll, only 22 percent of the British population supports a military strike on Syria.

Moreover, the launching of a major new military campaign is seen in London, Paris, and Washington as a means of implementing police-state rule. It included mass censorship, to prop up their crisis-ridden governments in the face of mounting popular opposition and a growing strike movement by the public. This new conflict will not stop with the attack on Syria, just as the expansion of war did not stop with the invasion of Iraq. The stage is being set for a confrontation with other countries including Russia and, ultimately, China. More and more, imperialist policy is acquiring a completely reckless and unhinged character.

Apparently, the new world imperialism has been able so far to rely on the absence of any organized resistance to war. But popular anti-war sentiment is inevitably expected to take on active forms and resist the new trend of the destruction of the democratic rights whether inside the intruding countries, better to say the elements of the new ‘world imperialism’ or globally.

In a statement, a group of international law experts warned that a U.S. military strike on Syria would be illegal if not in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization.  The statement said, “We are practitioners and professors of international law. Under international law, military strikes by the United States of America and its allies against the Syrian Arab Republic, unless conducted in self-defense or with United Nations Security Council approval, are illegal and constitute acts of aggression.”
The statement went on to say:

The unlawful killing of any human being without legal justification, under every legal system, is murder. And an act of violence committed by one government against another government, without lawful justification, amounts to the crime of aggression: the supreme international crime which carries with it the evil of every other international crime, as noted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946. The use of military force by a state can be used in self-defense after an armed attack by another state, or, with the approval of the United Nations Security Council. At present, neither instance would apply to a U.S. strike against Syria.

We, the international law experts, understand the urge to act to protect innocent civilians. We strongly condemn any and all violence against civilians, whoever the perpetrators. Even responding to an alleged unlawful violence with more unlawful violence, bypassing existing legal mechanisms, is a road to a lawless world. It is a road that leads to Hell.

Accordingly, we, the international law experts, urge the United States and its allies to refrain from illegal conduct against Syria. We must point out that for the last several years, as is now common knowledge, the United States has armed rebels/insurgents to overthrow the current government of Syria. This is illegal under international law. We take pains to note what should be obvious: the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis is through commitment to well-settled principles of international legal norms.

We urge the United States to abide by its commitment to the rule of international law and to seek to resolve its disputes through peaceful means. These means include recourse to the use of established and legitimate institutions designed to maintain international peace and security, such as the U.N. Security Council or the International Court of Justice. The international law experts insisted that unilateral action is a sign of weakness; recourse to the law is a sign of strength.

Among the signatories of the statement we see the names of: Inder Comar, Executive Director of Just Atonement Inc.; Dr. Ryan Alford, Associate Professor in Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University; Marjorie Cohn who is a Professor Emerita at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Jeanne Mirer, President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers; Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler who is a Research Professor of Law in University of Makeni and also a UN Representative of International-Lawyers.org.

Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler, a Research Professor of Lawin University of Makeni and also a UN Representative of International-Lawyers.org; Abdeen Jabara, Civil Rights Attorney and Co-Founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and finally Ramsey Clark, the 66th Attorney-General of the United States are also among the signatories of the statement released just recently to warn about any unauthorized military adventurism by the US and its allies against the war-stricken Syria.

(Courtesy: Information Clearing House)

EA/ME

Apr 16, 2018 12:49 UTC
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