Syria strikes lack le­gal, moral jus­ti­fi­ca­tion

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - COMMENT -

Sir, – What is the UK’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, le­gal or moral, for the air strikes on Syr­ian bases?

If it was to wipe out sites where chem­i­cal weapons were al­legedly stored, what can the ef­fect of bomb­ing be but to dam­age poi­sonous gas con­tain­ers which would leak and af­fect hu­man life and health in the vicin­ity? Does such ir­re­spon­si­ble ac­tion not make the UK, the US and France as cul­pa­ble as the Syr­ian regime?

If, as we are told, suf­fi­cient time was given to al­low the Syr­ian regime to move poi­sonous gas can­is­ters or the means of mak­ing poi­sonous gas, what is the pur­pose of bomb­ing empty army bases?

It is sim­ply not enough to say that col­lat­eral dam­age to civil­ians was min­imised by ‘pin­point’ at­tacks.

As I un­der­stand it, there are three rea­sons recog­nised in in­ter­na­tional law for launch­ing armed in­ter­ven­tion against a for­eign power:

When a state is under im­me­di­ate threat of armed ag­gres­sion by an en­emy bel­liger­ent;

When the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil au­tho­rises such an at­tack;

And for hu­man­i­tar­ian rea­sons when a pop­u­la­tion is be­ing mas­sa­cred by its gov­ern­ment, which is in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised as a mur­der­ous regime and such in­ter­ven­tion is au­tho­rised by the United Na­tions.

Re­gard­ing the last two points, the po­si­tion of the US, the UK and France, I un­der­stand, is that au­thor­ity was sought from the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil by first seek­ing an in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­leged use of chem­i­cal weapons by Syria in Douma. This was blocked by the Rus­sians who pointed out just such an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was under way by the in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised body, the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chem­i­cal Weapons.

The Rus­sian po­si­tion ap­pears to have been seen as cor­rect by Ger­many and the Nether­lands.

Nev­er­the­less, the UK ap­par­ently takes the view that Se­cu­rity Coun­cil per­mis­sion is not nec­es­sary in an emer­gency. This view is with­out le­gal ba­sis.

We have al­ready in­ter­vened in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya (and by ‘we’ this in­cludes Rus­sia) and all we have achieved is to make life even more in­tol­er­a­ble for the un­for­tu­nate peo­ple who live there. Alexan­dra MacRae. 8 Ju­bilee Park, Letham, For­far.

A RAF Tor­nado comes in to land at RAF Akrotiri af­ter the con­trolled air strike on Syr­ian in­stal­la­tions on April 14. Cor­re­spon­dents ques­tion the UK’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the strikes.

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