The legality of Obama’s war in Syria and the ‘Khorasan Group’

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Today the Guardian reports that America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Powers, sent the UN a letter, stating her governments reasoning for not obtaining prior approval for the airstrikes it recently begun conducting against ISIS in Syria.

This reasoning states that the US is acting on behalf of Iraq, whom cannot defend itself sufficiently by itself. This is reasonable, as the Iraqi government asked for America’s help. However, the letter also claims that the US retains the right to attack ISIS in Syria due to the weakness of Syria’s government.

Power writes: “States must be able to defend themselves, in accordance with the inherent right on individual and collective self-defense, as reflected in article 51 of the UN Charter, when, as is the case here, the government of the state where the threat is located is unwilling or unable to prevent the use of its territory for such attacks.”

What Powers has conveniently failed to mention here, is that for years now, Washington has actively been working to undermine the Assad government – covertly arming and training so called ‘”moderate” rebels in mid-2012, 2013, and now again in September 2014. Some of these “moderate” rebels whom received training from the CIA at camps in Turkey and Jordan are now acting as ISIS commanders. Therefore, Obama and co. are citing Assad’s forces as being incapable of “degrading and ultimately destroying” ISIS themselves, which is a situation that has at least partly come into being through the US’s prior involvement, and quite frankly highlights the idiocy of Congress’ most recent approval of a new arms package for the mysterious moderate rebels.

Finally, the Obama Administration has asserted that the authorisation granted for military force against al-Qaeda in 2001 gives them the right to go after ISIS in Syria. Certain media publications have noted al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, have distanced themselves from ISIS, denouncing their violence towards fellow Muslims. However, following America’s first round of strikes in Syria in Monday, the name ‘Khorasan Group’ has hit the headlines. Khorasan has been labelled as a cell of extremists embedded in al-Nusra, made up of “seasoned al-Qaeda operatives,” who Washington says had established a safe haven to plot attacks on the West. In fact, the US claims Khorasan were in the final stages of planning imminent attacks on the “homeland” and “western interests”, despite having claimed only days earlier that there was no immediate threat to the US. Is it possible that this sudden threat posed by Khorasan – apparently a group that intelligence agents have been aware of for years but not mentioned until yesterday – and the apparent killing of 50 other al-Qaeda members on Monday evening, is being cited as justification for the US’s use of 2001’s authorisation to use military force, and lack of UN approval?

If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. – James Madison

 

References:

What is the Khorasan Group? – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29350271

US ties itself in legal knots to cover shifting rationale for Syria strikes – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/us-legal-knots-shifting-rationale-syria-strikes

‘It never happened’ – US intervention in Syria – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ian-sinclair/us-syria_b_5859930.html

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