Syria and the Law 160

The legal position is perfectly clear. Syria has a recognised government, that of President Assad, represented at the United Nations. That government is legally entitled to call on Russian military assistance. Russian military action against ISIL is therefore legal.

By contrast, US and French military action has neither the sanction of the Syrian government nor the sanction of the United Nations Security Council. It is therefore plainly illegal.

Neo-con propagandists have attempted in the last fifteen years to promote a new doctrine known as the “responsibility to protect”. This is identical to intellectual justifications of Imperialism from sixteenth century Spain through to Victorian England and Imperial Russia. It holds that misgovernment of less developed nations justifies military action against them by more developed countries out of humanitarian concern. It runs directly to the established international law of non-interference and the need for Security Council sanction of military action. The “responsibility to protect” is not enshrined in any generally accepted international treaty – certainly nothing that overrides the provisions of the UN charter – and is not accepted by the large majority of the countries in the world. It is not customary international law and remains a propaganda phrase, not a legal concept.

Finally, I should add that on precisely the same arguments, Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is, beyond any doubt, illegal.

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160 thoughts on “Syria and the Law

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  • fwl

    If Russia says its hitting Isis but others say no those are US backed rebels in that area then if Russia is right that leads to a series of v unpleasant questions which I am not so foolish as to articulate and if Russia is wrong then we have more than a cold war.

  • Ishmael


    No your not…

    “So Russia foots the bill for reconstruction and takes all the refugees?”

    Bloody hell, shouldn’t the US take the bulk. They can do something good can’t they?…Massive rich nation.

  • Silvio

    Here is a Russian perspective on how the CIA/Pentagon brainiacs got taken for a ride by their supposed allies in the Syrian opposition forces who took their US supplies weaponry and handed it over to the radical Islamist forces at the first chance they got.

    American “allies” in Syria: their shameful performance is perfectly explainable

    [The recent American failure to train and equip anti-Assad forces in Syria is not an isolated incident. It is a symptom of a systemic problem. This article, which recently appeared in the Russian press, explains why.]

    Yevgeny Krutikov, Vzglyad

    The scandal around the “30th Divison,” which was prepared by American trainers for war against Assad, and which immediately surrendered to the Islamist An-Nusra Front as soon as it crossed the border from Turkey, is now resounding around the entire planet. There will be many such scandals. They have been predetermined by the methodology of American training of “allies”—in Syria, in Georgia and in the Ukraine.

    Let’s recall that as a result An-Nusra Front (a branch Al-Qaeda) received weapons, equipment and a few pickup trucks from the USA. The commander of the “30th Division” assured representatives of the Front that he fooled the American military in order to get weapons. The problems which caused this to happen can be split into three uneven categories.

    Problems with intelligence and psychology

    The image of a CIA operative who decides whom to choose as an ally in the Middle East has been unduly exaggerated by Hollywood. In an absolute majority of cases the operatives latch onto anyone who shows even the most perfunctory signs of being loyal. But if somebody seems useful but does not show enough of the required signs, then they prefer to purchase his loyalty, even though such “partners” have been considered unreliable at all times. These are, roughly, the principles according to which the anti-Assad coalition was knocked together.

    More at:

  • giyane


    ” But the onus on deposing a dictator lies with the people of a country.”

    Just because Obama stands up and declares his wish, intention, approval of the dictator Assad to be deposed doesn’t mean in today’s world of lies in politics that he has any such intention or wish. Assad has been driving around in his open-top car for years. Couldn’t a lady Di be done in some dark Damascus tunnel? I can see a drone attack on Lady Di in central Paris might have looked a bit obvious.

    The Zionist lobby has got the international community divided and ruled. Russia and China support the Syrian Muslim population while USUKIS support trash against them. => 4 years of trial and tribulation for the Muslim Syrians. But Bibi’s made a booboo, the Muslims of the world ain’t having it. The Muslim Brotherhood can go and crawl back under its Alum Rock.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Transatlantic Friend

    “I meant to say “That the claims . . . were lies . . .”


    I was going to ask you if there wasn’t a word missing there but you spotted it yourself. Thank you.

  • Mary

    Sopel is still agitated.

    How Putin blindsided the US over Syria

    ‘And yet.

    Isn’t there something totally jaw-dropping, gob-smacking, eyebrow-arching, ear twitchingly extraordinary – and not to mention, casual – about the way the Americans learnt about Russian plans?

    It began with a phone call from a Russian diplomat to his counterpart in Baghdad to say “we’ve got something interesting to tell you”.’

    Someone should tell him to calm down.

  • Peter Beswick

    Whilst Craig is immersed in Hole In The Ground politics the serious stuff is getting seriouser.

    I understand the Chinese are now wading in and part of the plan is to make sure home grown rebels (Russian and Chinese Muslims) don’t make it back home when Assad (or whoever the Russian’s want to succeed him) is placed back in charge.

    Cameron only wants to kill British fighters if they belong to ISIS any of the others (and there are lots) will be welcomed back to Britain with open arms.

    The US has lost control which makes the false flag of an ISIS nuke going off a more likely scenario, if it does expect our internet to be switched off and we will have to rely on the BBC and the Daily Mail for news updates.

    Craig’s holes are starting to have an appeal.

  • Sami

    The only reason why Syria became a target for destruction is because of its stance on the theft of Palestine. All wars allegedly waged for the benefit of the people in the Middle East were at the behest of the largest crime syndicate in the history of mankind that is the patron saint of the Frankenstein state.

    As for Russian involvement in the Ukraine, I am afraid I do not subscribe to the notion that it did anything wrong when one considers the dirty role played by the US in regime change in that country.

  • Ron Sizely

    Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is, beyond any doubt, illegal

    What intervention in Ukraine?

    Do you mean they accepted the Crimean referendum? Or are you buying the Guardian-type propaganda about Russian military units “crossing the border”?

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