ByÂ Sweety Sinha:
After the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Syria, the dangers of a unilateral western military strike seem imminent. In the 21st century, it is really hard for a state to transgress the corpus of international human rights without the global community knowing about it. Under such global scenario, the U.S is strategizing on how to attack Syria and is advancing the notion of “Right to Protect”. The U.S is planning to launch a ‘Quick, Decisive and limited in scope war on chemical weapons’. However, their decision to intervene militarily has not got favorable response from the global community. It has been criticized as an intrusion into the sphere of domestic sovereignty.
The Security Council is the geo-political center of gravity of the UN and it has received a draft resolution on Syria, invoking Chapter 7 of the covenant. At the same time, UN chemical inspectors are in Syria to investigate the Ghouta attack investigating various aspects like what chemicals were used? Where was it manufactured? How it was launched? And most importantly, who used it? All these questions are under scrutiny of the UN inspectors. But the U.S is quite impatient to wait for their reports and has allegedly forced the UN to withdraw the team under the pretext that it is now too late to collect valid evidence and that it is also unsafe for the team to stay there. In fact, the U.S believes that Assad has given access to the probe after he was confident of not being exposed. Russia has already submitted an evidence report in the UN to investigate about the March attack that points towards the involvement of the rebels. Even the terrorist organizations are suspected of having access to these chemicals but the U.S is conveniently ignoring it and shifting the onus of responsibility on the Assad regime. The U.S tried to defend its intrusion based on the provisions of Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty that Syria has not even signed. The U.S is taking a legally invalid step to oblige Syria to the treaty which it is not a signatory. The UN’s inability to act has given the cause to take up a leadership role and bypass its institutional proceedings.
International actors have responded against this war advocacy. Russia has taken a clear anti U.S stand stating that the war can take up a global dimension and also destabilize the region that is already in flux. According to the Russian perspective, the U.S is serving the larger interest of its allies. While Saudi Arabia is in favor of regime change, Israel wants to topple Syria into total chaos. Iran has asked to respect the international laws. China has been signaling the threat to global economy and is in favor of political mediation. U.K, though an unconditional ally, is skeptical to repeat the Iraq experience. Arab League too was not in favor of an attack. The impact of the Syrian crisis is also seen in the Indian economy that is seeing its currency going feeble.
If attacked, peace building will be a daunting task. Operation Desert Fox was launched without the UNSC’s sanction on the pretext that Iraq possessed tons of WMD but the war exceeded its duration and intent, and was a big blot on the American policy choices. It’s high time the U.S learnt from its past mistakes and adopted a more realistic foreign policy. Washington might feel irritated by walking the institutional path of the UN that puts a brake on its unjustified and unilateral resort to war, but it must respect the world organization. It must respect the public opinion (majority of Americans being against the war) and also take into consideration the suggestions of the troops.