After the United States launched a missile strike against the Shayrat air base in Syria’s Homs Province alleging that the attack was in response to a chemical strike in Idlib Province conducted by the Syrian government, there have been speculations about the legality of the offensive and whether it amounts to an act of war. To discuss that, Press TV has spoken to Michael Springmann, an American author and former diplomat from Washington, and Fredrick Peterson, a senior US congressional defense advisor from New York.
Michael Springmann was certain in his analysis that the attack was in breach of international law. “[US President] Donald J. Trump who apparently does not understand his actions or the consequences of his actions or the first things about international affairs has ... acted hastily, recklessly and ... illegally in attacking Syria.”
The former diplomat underlined that firing scores of missiles into a sovereign country based on unsubstantiated allegations is contrary to the United Nations Charter, and has no legality at international and national levels.
“Under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, countries may engage in self-defense or collective self-defense if they are attacked. Certainly, Syria did not attack the United States. Syria is six times zones away and it is the Americans who have invaded Syria, who have sent marines and army soldiers and aircraft to bomb and shoot and kill innocent civilians in Syria,” Springmann analyzed.
By attacking Syria, “Trump has ignored the UN Charter,” the former diplomat said.
The Pentagon confirmed that 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had been fired from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea at Shayrat airfield. American officials claim the attack was in response to Tuesday’s chemical assault on Khan Shaykhun, Idlib province, which they insist was carried out by the Syrian army. Damascus, however, has dismissed the allegations as false, saying the airstrike happened to target a toxic depot of the terrorists fighting the Syrian government.
“The president must consult with the Congress before using force. In this case, the force has to be the direct result of either a declaration of war by the Congress or an attack on the United States,” he argued.
Springmann further pointed to the US role in the conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011 and left hundreds of thousands of Syrians dead or wounded and millions more displaced.
Washington claims that it are fighting terrorists in Syria, but in fact it is the US that has created today’s menace in the Arab country “beginning with the Mujahedin backed in the 1980s against the Soviet Union,” he explained.
According to the analyst, the neocons, the militarists and the Zionists have gained control over the American government once again and they are behind the recent adventurism in Syria.
He warned of the consequences of US military interventions, noting that the waves of migration are the direct result of American warfare in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria. “The United States has deliberately destabilized and destroyed these countries with the aim of making sure that the whole area is one great mess and that the people have no houses, jobs, governments and society.”
Meanwhile, Peterson said, “We have a president that has demonstrated his ability to act dispositively, some would say hastily, some others would say recklessly, and others would say as a true leader of higher principle.”
However, he pointed out that the recent US missile attack against Syria is disturbing, because it can cause the situation to get way out of control.
Comparing the administrations of Donald Trump and Barack Obama in reacting to the developments in Syria, he said that under the current administration, the White House has shown an eagerness to act on very short notice “in dramatic contrast to the previous administration, which waited years and years and still no action came.”
Peterson also referred to the situation in Syria before the onset of the conflict, saying that “under the [President Bashar] Assad government, there was stability in Syria, minorities were protected” contrary to the current situation wherein they are not being protected.