The Security Council and Syria

When a competent analyst like Finian Cunningham writes that: “American forces – about 2,000 on the ground as well as warplanes – are in violation of international law since they do not have a UN Security Council mandate, nor authorization from Syria’s government,” repeating the false information that even President Putin uttered in his annual press conference, we ought to be alarmed at how successful Imperialist Zionism has been.

We have been conditioned to accept that US forces could be stationed in Syria under a UN Security Council mandate. However, that is inadmissible under international law. I am not going to discuss the resolutions adopted by the SC on Syria during the last six years because I believe that the UN had no authority to adopt them which renders them null and void. Such a discussion will divert our attention from the question at hand.

But whenever we discuss an issue regarding the UN action we have to remember that the UN was created as an agreement between sovereign states and its function is limited by its Charter and by the principles of international law. The UN was neither created to act as a court of law nor to create new rules of international law.

 

At the heart of the UN Charter is the principle of non-interference in the affairs of its sovereign states. This is enshrined in Article 2(4) of the Charter which reads as: All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Article 2(4) has since been declared by the International Court of Justice as a perepmtive principle of international law that could neither be breached nor derogated from. The only use of force allowed in the Charter is one of two cases: self-defence opposing an actual attack and a UN supervised intervention to secure peace in an international conflict which failed to be settled by peaceful means.

It should be emphasised that the UN military intervention would only take place following an international conflict that the UN has concluded to be threatening peace and security. The UN has no authority to intervene in an internal armed conflict. It is not difficult to understand why the drafters of the Charter limited the intervention to international conflict. They were aware of the danger of allowing intervention in the internal affairs of the member states. Any of the world colonial powers that wanted to occupy a small and weak state could have done so by fermenting a small military uprising in order to invade and occupy the small state. Although this has happened since WWII but with more difficulty than otherwise.

As Syria has not been involved in an international military conflict, then the UN has no authority to intervene. That is the law. Raising a moral argument is neither here nor there.

It is time we pause and read carefully what we disseminate.