The case against the legality of the air strikes Theresa May ordered in Syria is growing.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made a carefully-worded statement on the strikes that could not hide his opinion.
“There’s an obligation, particularly when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general,” he stated, implying that the United States, the UK and France had not.
“The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I call on the members of the Security Council to unite and exercise that responsibility.” The United States, the UK and France are all members of the security council, along with Russia – which supports the Syrian government. The demand for all four nations to put away their bullets and bombs and find a peaceful solution could not be clearer.
UK Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn used much plainer language. In a letter to Mrs May, he wrote:
“I believe the action was legally questionable, and this morning the UN Secretary General has said as much, reiterating that all countries must act in line with the UN Charter.
“You assured me that the Attorney General had given clear legal advice approving the action. I would therefore be grateful if you would publish this advice in full today.”
He also stated: “As I said I believe that Parliament should have been consulted and voted on the matter. The UK Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament, not to the whims of a US President.”
Mrs May has yet to respond – although some others have spoken up for her:
What is Jeremy Corbyn’s basis for saying the strikes were “legally questionable”, unless he really is saying Assad was not responsible for Douma? This was a legal intervention, on humanitarian grounds. pic.twitter.com/1IBgdiKl9K
— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) April 14, 2018
Here’s the appropriate response – from Mail columnist Peter Hitchens, who is doing good work on this matter:
1. I should imagine his basis for saying so lies in international law. This, as far as I know, prohibits attacks on sovereign countries except in self-defence or in pursuit of a UN Security Council resolution authorising them. https://t.co/W6tBwrL5Sz
— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) April 14, 2018
Tory daftie James Cleverly weighed in:
I note with interest that Jeremy Corbyn makes no mention of France in his statement about military action in Syria. Is it because Macron's involvement doesn't reinforce his "America the bogeyman" narrative?
— James Cleverly (@JamesCleverly) April 14, 2018
But it turns out he was a lightweight:
The UN Charter 1945 Nuremberg is clear on' attacking sovereign states', Theresa May had no UN mandate & unlike Blair, she didn't bother with a Parliamentary vote.
The attack on Syria was ILLEGAL under international law. https://t.co/3lvaNFT5RU
— John Clarke (@JohnClarke1960) April 15, 2018
What exactly did Theresa May hit, anyway? The Barzah Scientific Research facility, that had a clean bill of health from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last November…
… and an empty snake venom antidote factory, it seems.
Hit an empty snake venom antidote factory. £800.000 of UK taxpayers cash used to demolish it. https://t.co/xxA7UXTa7e
— Carole Hawkins (@hawkins_carole) April 15, 2018
Theresa May spent £1.6 million on those strikes.
Apparently the so-called chemical weapons plants that were hit were empty and one was just a lab making antivenom for snakebites, but strangely, it was the lab which was going to be used by OPCW weapons inspectors, so why bomb that?
— Gracie Samuels 🌹#NotMyRacistPM #ToriesOutIn2Years (@GracieSamuels) April 15, 2018
Ah. So there was a reason to bomb the anti-venom factory – but only if the Tory government has been up to no good. Why would Theresa May want to sabotage the OPCW inspection? What could they find that the Tories would want to hide?
Is it possible that the Russians were right when they predicted a fake chemical weapons attack in Syria, that would be used to justify air strikes on that country?
If so – and circumstantial evidence suggests an investigation would be appropriate – then I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that very little of this entire affair is legal.
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