Obama Launches Naked Aggression on Syria

Stephen Lendman

It's no surprise. Obama's intentions were clear for weeks. Naked aggression is longstanding US policy. In his September 10 address, he said Washington was prepared to "conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes (against Islamic State terrorists) wherever they are." "That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq." Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said US Central Command has a plan to take "targeted actions against ISIS safe havens in Syria." Obama added another high crime against peace to his rap sheet. It overflows.

Attacking a country posing no threat to America constitutes a grave breach of international, constitutional and US statute laws. US-led airstrikes began at around 8:30 PM local time. Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed them, saying:

"US military and partner nation forces…undert(ook) military action against (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles. Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time," he added. "The decision to conduct theses strikes was made (Monday) by the US Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief." "We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate," he said.

Reuters reported a US official, "speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain were all involved, although their exact roles in the military action were unclear. Qatar played a supporting role in the air strikes, the official said. Another unnamed US official said at least one US warship launched surface-to-surface Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Targets struck include Raqqa and surrounding areas. It's 250 miles northeast of Damascus. Reuters called it Islamic State (IS) headquarters. Reports said about about 20 locations were attacked. Washington used Tomahawk cruise missiles, B-1 bombers, F-16 and F-18 warplanes, as well as MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones. The US aircraft carrier George HW Bush is involved. So is the USS Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer. It has Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) capability.

Ahead of UN General Assembly meetings, John Kerry was in New York. He was enlisting support for US aggression. An unnamed senior administration said Washington plans "expand(ed) efforts to defeat" IS. He provided no further details.

On August 26, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his government "is prepared to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international levels to combat terrorism as per Security Council resolution no. 2170 within the framework of respecting Syria's sovereignty and independence." Washington rejects cooperating or coordinating air strikes on Syrian territory with Damascus. Syria calls launching them without its consent naked aggression.

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin said bombing Syrian territory shouldn't be conducted without Damascus' consent. Washington operates extrajudicially. All its wars are illegal.

On August 15, 2014, SC Resolution 2170 was unanimously adopted.

It "condemn(s) gross, widespread abuse of human rights by extremist groups in Iraq (and) Syria." It "called on Member States to take national measures to prevent fighters from traveling from their soil to join (terrorist) groups…" "It expressed readiness to consider putting on the sanctions list those who facilitated the recruitment and travel of foreign fighters."

It left unexplained Washington's direct responsibility. That rogue NATO partners, Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and Jordan share it. Al-Moallem correctly called "any violation of Syrian sovereignty (by) any party (an act) of aggression." At the same time, he welcomed all countries willing to fight terrorism in Syria cooperatively with his government.

Weeks earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow supports Syrian and Iraqi efforts against Islamic State terrorists. He was clear and unequivocal stresssing...

"...each military effort cannot be granted without the consent of the country concerned. We will be fully prepared to work together and coordinate efforts with the countries which came under direct terrorist threats, and here I particularly mean Iraq and Syria, which we will be helping to consolidate their capabilities against armed terrorism," he said. "We will stand firmly for all anti-terrorism operations to be conducted in agreement with the country concerned and in full respect to its sovereignty."

On Sunday, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said it's "necessary to strictly observe the United Nations Charter and norms of international law to respect Syria's sovereignty in (conducting) plans of the US-formed coalition, including a force operation." In mid-September, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Syrian authorities "made several public remarks in support of the unanimously adopted UN Security Council resolution 2170 on fighting terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq."

They back coordinated anti-terrorist regional efforts. They oppose US unilateral or coalition of willing partners' actions alone. Luiashivich called it "necessary to fight (IS) evil in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq."

On September 23, a Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) statement said: "Foreign and Expatriates Ministry: The United States informed Syria’s permanent envoy to the UN before launching airstrikes against ISIS terrorist(s) in Raqqa." No further details were provided.

Russian Duma Council member Sergey Gavrilov said Moscow opposes air strikes on Syrian territory without coordinating them with Damascus. He called US-led bombing "a dangerous game." Arab populations know who their friends and foes are, he added. He warned about unfolding events in Iraq and Syria. He said they pose grave threats to both countries and regionally.

A previous article explained the following:

IS is the pretext for US-led attacks. Syria is the target. Regime change is the objective. IS is a US creation. Washington bears full responsibility. Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan and rogue NATO partners share it. Turkey, Jordan, and other Gulf states march in lockstep with US imperial policy. America's regional goals include controlling its oil. Destabilizing Iraq’s US-installed puppet regime. Balkanizing Iraq into the Kurdish north, Baghdad center, and Basra south. Ousting Assad. Replacing him with convenient US-friendly stooge governance. Eliminating a key Israeli rival. Isolating Iran. Replacing its government with one Washington controls, and redrawing the Middle East map for greater US dominance.

Doing so serves Western monied interests. Plundering nations for profit is longstanding US policy. Stealing their resources. Exploiting their people. Eliminating nonbelievers. US wars have nothing to do with humanitarian concerns. Or responsibility to protect. Or external threats. Or internal ones. Or spreading democratic values. Or wanting peace and stability. They have everything to do with destabilizing and destroying nations to control them. To advancing America's imperium. To do so based on Big Lies. To eliminate all challengers. To let war profiteers gorge at the public trough.

US-led attacks came ahead of an expected Wednesday Security Council vote. In emails exchanged with this writer, Francis Boyle said he expects it to be adopted. It's a Chapter VII resolution. It "arguably establishes the predicate for (using) force," said Boyle. It should have been a UN Charter Chapter VI resolution. It rules out using force. Security Council resolutions...

"...are binding under either Chapter VI or VII according to an International Court of Justice (ICJ) Namibia Advisory opinion," Boyle explained. "So obviously, Obama wants to set the predicate here for using force against ISIS in Syria…"

Doing so will "ultimately lead to (ousting) the Assad government, the crack up of Syria, and genocide against the Alawites and the Christians," Boyle added.

Obama's puppet Iraq government "could be the basis for this resolution." It could use UN Charter Article 51's collective self-defense right as alleged justification. Boyle calls it "the bogus doctrine of hot pursuit." The scheme involves bombing Syrian targets. Allegedly it's...

"...to prevent (IS) cross-border movement(s) from Syria into Iraq and back." "Under international law there is no doctrine of hot pursuit on land…" It's lawful "only at sea." Obama's scheme is clear. He's "trying to create a right of hot pursuit across land borders where it did not previously exist…" "(A)t least (he'll) interpret it that way…(T)o justify bombing ISIS in Syria…Allegedly at the request of (its puppet) Iraq(i)" government.

Nothing rules out this scenario, said Boyle. He believes this resolution was "drafted for precisely that purpose." It's Obama's pseudo-legal fig-leaf. He intends for Syria what he did to Libya. He wants Assad eliminated like Gaddafi and Saddam. Most likely murder in cold blood is planned.

Boyle expects resolution adoption on Wednesday. He believes Russia and China "signed on to it." He said "massive bombing" will begin after the Security Council acts.

Obama didn't wait. On Tuesday, attacks began straightaway. It bears repeating. Conducting them constitutes premeditated naked aggression. All US wars are extrajudicial. Attacking a nonthreatening country is the highest of high crimes. It's a Nuremberg level crime. The Tribunal's Chief Justice Robert Jackson called Nazi war crimes "the supreme international crime against peace." His November 21, 1945 opening remarks said:

"The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated."

He called aggressive war "the greatest menace of our times." International law defines crimes against peace as "planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing."

This definition applies to all US post-WW II direct and proxy wars. They raged worldwide. They continue doing so. No end of conflicts loom. They killed tens of millions in East and Central Asia, throughout Africa, the Middle East, Europe, as well as Central and South America. They're wars without mercy. They exceeded the worst of Nazi and imperial Japanese high crimes. They included willfully slaughtering civilians, genocide against entire populations, occupations, colonization, plunder, exploitation, and officially authorized torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

WW II criminals were hanged for their crimes. America remains unaccountable. Its war criminals are considered hostis humani generis - enemies of mankind. War crimes violate jus gentium - the law of nations. Inviolable international laws explain them. They're clear and unequivocal. They explain under what circumstances one nation may attack another.

UN Charter Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use. Article 51 allows the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member...until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security." Justifiable self-defense is permissible. Charter Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit unilateral threats or use of force not:

specifically allowed under Article 51;
authorized by the Security Council; or
permitted by the US Constitution's Article I, Section 8.

It grants Congress alone power to declare war, "raise and support armies," appropriate money for their use, and regulate "land and naval forces…to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." Congress has no authority to declare war on nonthreatening nations. Or presidents.

It bears repeating. Doing so constitutes naked aggression. It's longstanding US policy. Geneva's Common Article 1 obligates all High Contracting Parties to "respect and ensure respect for" inviolable international laws. To enforce their principles universally. To "search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts."

Nuremberg Tribunal Principles mandated holding

"(a)ny person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law…responsible therefor and liable to punishment." "Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit (them) can the provisions of international law be enforced."

The Rome Statute's Article 25 of the International Criminal Court (ICC) says

"person(s) who (commit) crime(s) within the jurisdiction of the Court shall be individually responsible and liable for punishment in accordance with this Statute."

Commanders, their superiors, and top government officials to the highest level are culpable it they

"either knew of…should have known (about) forces…committing or about to commit (high) crimes, (and) failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures (to) prevent…their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigations and prosecutions."

Past and current US government and military officials remain unaccountable. The highest of high crimes against peace go unpunished. Obama added more to his rap sheet. He violated international, constitutional and US statute laws. The US 1996 War Crimes Act calls them "grave breaches." They include "willful killing, torture or inhumane treatment (causing) great suffering or serious injury to body or health." Washington's ongoing wars are Nuremberg-level crimes. They're among history's greatest. Obama is a world-class thug. He's a war criminal multiple times over. Holding him accountable is a national imperative. He belongs in prison, not high office. Justice remains denied!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He has devoted his time and efforts to progressive causes and organizations, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. His efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. He also co-hosts The Global Research News Hour, gives occasional public talks, and appears frequently on radio and at times television. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. Also visit his blog and listen to The Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening. His new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" can be ordered here. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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