Lets get this war started!
The world’s most militaristic nation, the United States of America, is once again beating the war drums to the tune of international intervention and peacekeeping, but do they really have a case for action?
The world’s most militaristic nation, the United States of America, is once again beating the war drums to the tune of international intervention and peacekeeping, but do they really have a case for action, or is the call for military action built on flimsy evidence like so many before it?
The U.S.A has been slow to react to the question of Syria, with the administration preferring to remain removed from the nation’s civil war for the past 2 years of the conflict.
This policy has garnered much criticism internationally with some calling it hypocritical, given NATO’s lightning fast response to the Libyan, Egyptian and Bahrain civil conflicts in the last 2 years. Other critics would be quick to point out that there is no legal basis for military intervention, no accompanying U.N security resolution to support that action, with military intervention in the sovereign nation’s affairs out of the question without due cause.
It would appear, at least on the surface, U.N officers gave that cause this week. Recent investigations into the horrendous chemical weapons attacks on Syrian civilians have proven accurate, but no clear picture is likely to be drawn indicating which party actually pulled the trigger, the Assad government, or the U.S. funded anti-government rebels.
There is some question surrounding claims that the Assad regime is to blame for the attacks, with Assad himself denying his government’s involvement and blaming the rebels, but with the U.S state department emphatically insisting that there can be no other explanation and suggestions to the contrary are simply “fanciful”.
In March 2013 a similar chemical weapons incident occurred killing hundreds and the U.S or its allies uttered not a single word and ruled out international military action.
Perhaps this was because that particular attack originated with the U.S supported rebels.
French and Russian chemical scientists working for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed the attack. The organization stated "It was established that on March 19 the rebels launched an unguided Basha'ir-3 projectile towards Khan al-Assal controlled by the government forces," "The results of the analysis clearly indicate that the ordnance used in Khan al-Assal was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin."
The United States has made no secret about its military ambitions in the region and has been applying considerable pressure on Syria’s closest ally Iran claiming the country is secretly developing nuclear weapons, claim which the U.S is yet to substantiate. Syria has a mutual defence agreement with Iran, with Russia also allying itself to the regime, publically warning the U.S and its NATO allies that military action in the region must remain within the bounds of international law and would carry considerable consequences.
Iran has added to the tension by sending Syria troops and provisions to bolster the Assad regime and publically stating that the U.S cannot be trusted to act within the bounds of international law sighting examples of the Iraq war and chemical weapons use in the 1980’s.
Recently declassified CIA documents detailing the close relationship of the CIA to Hussein’s Iraq from 1983- 1988, reveal that the Nixon administration not only knew of Hussein’s use of chemical weapons against Iran and his own citizens, but actively provided operational training and funding for their use.
Russia has accused the United States of fighting a proxy war in the region for some years now; the Obama administration have openly discussed and admitted to funding the radical Islamic mujahideen FSA rebels against the Assad government. In March this year secretary of state John Kerry stated “the aid would help fighters in their effort to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”
Before we find ourselves embroiled in another decade long war in the Middle East we should be putting the onus on our governments and their allies to prove beyond any doubt that these latest chemical attacks are not the work of the previously guilty rebel forces or other equally untrustworthy organisations, and not simply accept the rhetoric for military intervention.
While the deaths of innocent civilians by chemical weapons and any other means should be denounced as the war crimes they are, and met with swift remediation, we should be wary about the true costs of military intervention as well.
The cost to the civilian population following military intervention in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt should be an example of the reinforced and continued suffering caused by cruise missiles and targeted drone strikes, they are not conducive to a stabilizing action nor are they beneficial to the people themselves. Amnesty International calculates the deaths of civilians in the Iraq war in excess of 600,000 with a further 3 million displaced or made refugees, and every effort should be made to avoid a similar impact on Syria.
It seems somewhat a forgone conclusion that military action is about to take place in Syria with the French and American governments cruise missile destroyers already holding position off Syria’s Mediterranean coastline. The British government is holding emergency meetings about the possibility of military involvement, while the U.S is beginning to drum up support for another war in its media and in the senate.
U.N guidelines are clear on this matter, Nation States may not legally take military action against one another unless in self-defence. Whatever the case or the reasons, can we count on America to make the decisions for us when their assertions have all too often, with hindsight and further investigation, proven fictitious?