As the western alliance of France, UK, and the United States struck Syria with a series of missiles, they cited “international peace” and retaliation for alleged chemical weapons attacks as their motives. However, significant questions of peace, legality, and evidentiary support of those allegations remain.
In a government-held poll, only 22% of Britons support military action against Syria.
Many politicians spoke out against President Trump’s actions, and his supporters are left split, with many saying that they will not vote for him in 2020.
In France, it is not clear what “absolute evidence” they purport for their retaliation.
Only questions seem to be left after the U.S., UK, and France bombed Syria overnight in response to alleged chemical attacks.
Laura Ingraham questioning the Syria strike: "I guess it feels good because there are horrible things happening there. But what do we really accomplish here tonight in Syria? This is not why Donald Trump got elected." pic.twitter.com/IXQGqrw2W9
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) April 14, 2018
A major question is about the timing of these strikes.
The investigative team for the United Nations Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were within days of starting a full assessment of the alleged chemical weapons attacks in Douma.
Since there was no resolution decided in the UN Security Council meetings, this was the result of the UN Security Council deliberations. The OPCW was deployed to start discovering what happened in Douma.
Trump and his allies reigned the Syrian skies with about 110 tomahawk missiles before the world could fully know the truth of what happened in Douma.
While many, about 40,000, did choose to leave Douma with Jaish-al-Islam, we might never get to ask the question why the supposed majority of civilians decided to stay with the “monster animal” Assad.
Why is it that right now in Douma people are choosing to stay under the protection of the Assad government, instead of leaving with Jaish-al-Islam?
What were the chemicals used in the attacks? How many victims and deaths were there?
These questions and others may never get answered because of the direct attacks from the US, UK, and French governments.
It is currently unclear if the strikes will have affect investigation. The Fact-Finding Mission released a statement saying they will continue their investigation.
However, the timing of the strikes, and then the apparent disregard for the UN investigation, casts a large shadow on the transparency of the joint attack on Syria, especially if done so to protect “international peace”.
Another question is why, if France, UK and the US, have “absolute evidence” were the UN members not fully supportive of their military intervention? Or is their evidence circumstantial?
During the UN meetings, following the allegations put forth by the West against the Syrian government, the UN discussed the situation. However, evidence was never explicitly put forth.
However, they did put forth circumstantial evidence. For example, France said it could be assumed that Syrian government forces did perpetrate the attacks because they did before their commitment to destroy their chemical weapons arsenal.
While some sources suggested that France may have thought to back out of the trilateral intervention, it also has said it has “absolute evidence” that the chemical attacks happened.
But, what is this “absolute” evidence?
The chemical attacks were first reported by the British funded White Helmets, a self-proclaimed humanitarian group that is regularly used as the source for Western media.
The group is funded and was set up by James Le Mesurier, a former British intelligence officer. Currently, funding for the groups comes from the West and mainly from the countries that use it as it’s “impartial” source for the retaliation attacks.
This position is publically held by the Russian and Syrian governments, as well as independent research agencies such as the Canadian Global Research.
Some also suggest that the White Helmets are biased because of their failure to report the actions of the “rebel” and militant groups attacking Syrian forces and civilians, such as the shelling of civilian neighbourhoods in Damascus.
This could be the main reason for the questions that UN members had for the sources of the chemical attacks, specifically about the details of the event.
Previously, both the French and US Defense Secretaries cast doubt on the reliability of evidence on past alleged chemical attacks that the West blamed on the Syrian government forces.
Probably the most important question at home for all of the leaders following their attack on another country is this: did they have the legal authority to do so?
It is absolutely true that chemical weapons use stands against the Geneva Protocol and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
However, military intervention decided unanimously by the UN members also stands against international norms and the UN Charter.
This is why many, including UN Members states such as Bolivia, stood against the idea of intervening in Syria.
This could also possibly by why Germany did not join its allies in the current strike. Although she did not give military support, Chancellor Angela Merkel did publically say that Germany supports the US, UK, and France by word.
Regarding the recent strikes, the Russian Federation has called for a UN Security Council meeting, stating that the tripartite conducted an illegal “military aggression,” as defined by the United Nations.
It remains questionable the identified interest in “international peace” of the three states attack on Syria, as it explicitly goes against the “international order”.
However, international norms are not the only legal formalities in question regarding the strikes, but the laws at home.
As I previously mentioned, only 22% of Britons agree on taking action against Syria. Out of all of those questioned in the government survey, 66% believed that Assad did probably carry out those attacks, yet did not support intervention.
It is not that the public supports Assad’s use of chemical weapons, if true, or that they even support Assad’s leadership in Syria.
However, given the actual enemy in Syria, Islamist terrorism, the continuation of civilians returning to Assad’s protection, and the risk of increasing the refugee crisis, it can be seen why there is so little public support for Theresa May’s actions.
During today’s press conference Theresa May repeatedly said she did what she believed to be the “right thing to do.”
When asked why she did not seek approval from Parliament, she said she believed it was the “right thing to do.”
When asked why she went against the majority of the British population’s position, she said she believes it to be the “right thing to do.”
Apparently to the British leader, it is only her opinion on what is the “right thing to do” that matters in taking part of military aggression.
However, this is not the case, not in Great Britain, not in France, and not in the United States.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn spoke out against Theresa May’s executive decisions and “trailing after Donald Trump”. He also questioned the legality of her actions.
Other British politicians, such as former MP George Galloway, questioned the attacks on Syria.
You be with Al-Qaeda Jaish-al-Islam (Army of Islam) and ISIS if you like. I stand with Syria against them. All righteous people will do so. You bombed before your inspectors even started work, fully exposing your mendacity. You hadn’t the guts to put it to your parliament. ENDS.
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) April 14, 2018
For days President Trump has been toying with the public Tweeting full-out threats of missile attacks and then suggested he might be joking.
Then, the British government, who said it would full assessment of the situation in Douma during a UN Security Council meeting, but then publicly stated it’s full support in tripartite action against the Syrian government.
It is imperative for the leaders of these countries to not only seek the public’s approval, but their legislative bodies’ as well, especially given the large questions posed by many specialists, UN member states, and their very own politicians and citizens.
So far, the only possible violation of “international peace” that is “absolutely evident” are the strikes held by the Western allies. Without true international consensus, it seems like the offensive strikes were for their personal goal to make it known that they do not tolerate the Syrian government.
However earnest their position in stopping further chemical attacks could be, their tripartite attack leaves many major questions.