WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — President Donald Trump’s decision to hit a Syrian airfield with cruise missiles last week was a clear violation of the United Nations Charter, Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy told Sputnik.
"It is a blatant violation of the UN charter, because it wasn't self-defense nor authorized by the Security Council [a]nd also of the US Constitution, because it wasn't authorized by Congress," Naiman stated.
Syria and Russia both say the toxic agents were stockpiled at the location by Islamist rebels and were set off by air strikes against the rebels.
However, the attack may prove to be an isolated response to Damascus’s alleged use of chemical weapons rather than a major change of US policy, Naiman advised.
"It depends on whether it is a one-off related only to chemical weapons or a prelude to a deeper shift. So far it looks like it might be the former," he said.
Naiman observed that it was too soon to assume that Trump had abandoned that overall strategy and was now prepared to commit major US forces on the ground in Syria, where Washington has been pushing to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"It might not change that much-this might be a one-off," he said.
Naiman said he did not believe the Tomahawk strikes would seriously damage the Syrian, Russian and US efforts to destroy the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia).
Such damage was "not likely if it is isolated. We will see," he said.
The Tomahawk attacks were also unlikely to do much damage to the efforts to end the Syrian conflict, which has cost half-a-million lives and created four million refugees over the past six years, Naiman added.
"US-Russia dialogue on Syria was already weak. The peace process was already weak. I doubt this changes much by itself," he remarked.
Naiman also stated he believed Trump decided to carry out his military response at a time when thee Congress was not in session.
"They like to do these things when Congress is in recess. That was probably the greatest influence on timing," he said.
Naiman added that he did not believe Trump had approved the bombing as a response to growing domestic criticism on his performance in office so far.
"His domestic troubles are overblown. He just got a Supreme Court justice confirmed. So he's doing alright, bombing or no bombing," he concluded.
Russia has accused the United States of breaking international law by attacking Syria with cruise missiles.