The US, UK and France have drafted their own resolution on Syria condemning the alleged chemical attack in Douma after the Russian-drafted initiative was rejected. Sputnik discussed the West's actions in Syria from the perspective of international law with Dr. Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.
Sputnik: What is your take on the West's actions against Syria from the international law perspective?
Dr. Jan Oberg: It is clearly a violation of international law, it’s the whole spirit of the charter that’s been undermined by rushing to war and bombing Syria without evidence and stuff like that and it is what the international law experts would call an aggression and certainly in total violation of article one of the UN charter which says that peace shall be established by peaceful means. So I’m sorry to say that I think that it's the most important organization; we should care very much about the UN because we have nothing better, but all countries are playing their games in New York, it’s just being used for other kinds of games and nobody respects the charter anymore.
Sputnik: Do you think that the UN Security Council in itself is inherently flawed and perhaps it needs to be restructured somehow?
Dr. Jan Oberg: Oh absolutely, we all know that the veto power belongs to the past, we all know that those who are the permanent members, the 5P, by no way are representative anymore for the world. We all remember that when the UN was established and the Charter was written, I think there was something like 50-60 countries in the world, far less that there are today and the whole of the structure has changed, and new actors have come in, and new problems have turned up. The whole organization needs a shape up in good faith, a discussion about reforming and it’s decision-making, we ought to have something which is not only a Security Council but also an Ecological Council, we need to bring in people’s organizations and not government’s because governments in most cases are not people’s organizations but it’s government. You know the Charter says 'We the peoples', it’s not we the peoples that are sitting there, it’s non-elected representatives of countries who sitting in the UN, discussing what to do with the peoples back home and violating the laws one after the other. So we need definitely a huge reform of the UN, but I just say for Christ’s sake, don’t throw it out until you have something better and that’s what we’re heading for because nobody takes the UN seriously anymore.
Sputnik: And you said that you feel that the airstrike that was carried out by the US, France and the UK was illegal, can you elaborate on what exactly makes it illegal?
Dr. Jan Oberg: There’s a provision, I think it's article 2, 4th chapter says that you’re not even allowed according to international law to even threaten a country with aggression. Secondly, the whole system of the UN is built on the idea that we should have done everything we could civilianly, with civilian means, dialogue, negotiations, sanctions or whatever before we take to military means. The three countries rushed to war before even knowing that there is any evidence, it’s obvious that there is no evidence and there were no evidence that would legitimate the strike on Syria at the moment, whatever the future will show that’s happened in Douma is a different thing, but you know we’re turning the whole thing upside down because in the legal society, in the lawful community you first have a legal process and then you have a conviction, you have a perpetrator and then you mete out the punishment, we’re definitely having a new Cold War and that’s the saddest thing about Europe and the East-West relations, NATO on the one side and Russia on the other side, because it’s totally unnecessary, we all know what the Cold War was and it should never come back again.
Sputnik: So what do you think is behind the Salisbury case and now the case with Douma?
Dr. Jan Oberg: Syria is so hugely complex and I must say that the intellectual dwarfs that have created the narrative of Syria should be ashamed of themselves, named that everything is the fault of Bashar al-Assad, there is no conflict on Earth that is all due to one person, whether it’s Saddam, or Slobodan Milosevic, or Putin, or George Bush, or Bashar al-Assad. All these conflicts are hugely complex things having to do with history, traumas, constitution, economic crisis, political crisis and unless we begin to focus on all —-- 4.06?of media, unless we begin to focus on the underlying conflict we will never get these problems solved.
Sputnik: The strike comes year after a similar attack on the Shayrat Airbase can you explain the differences between the situation now and the situation then?
Dr. Jan Oberg: There’s anything particularly interesting to say there, I mean the same thing applied a year ago and that means that the US administration has learned nothing which I also would not have not expected it to have done; that you do not punish, you do not do your action before you know what happened, the Khan Shaykhun incident also was not known what it was before the bombing took place, both of the things look like some kind of symbolic business, don't misunderstand my words, it was not a huge thing to do, it was a kind of we slap your face, remember who we are and we can do it again.
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