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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 11 - 17  > Unilateral attack on Syria will only complicate situation further
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2018 April 11 - 17 TOP3 [WORLD]
editorial 

Unilateral attack on Syria will only complicate situation further

April 15, 2018

Akahata editorial

The United States, Britain, and France on April 13 (April 14 JST) carried out military attacks on research and development facilities and military sites in Syria, claiming that the Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons near Damascus.

Chemical weapons are categorized as weapons of mass destruction. Any use of those weapons violates humanitarian principles and international law and must not be allowed without exception regardless of whoever may resort to using them. The three nations conducted the attacks before the international society could confirm whether those weapons were actually used. Any military intervention without UN Security Council resolution is illegal. The three countries’ reckless and illegal act will not help solve the Syria crisis but may add fuel to the civil war and runs counter to efforts to secure peace and stability in the Middle East.

Strikes will make fact-finding extremely difficult

In April 2017, the U.S. attacked Syria, by blaming the regime for using chemical weapons, which led to increased tension. It is reported that the latest operation involved cruise missiles, U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers, and British and French fighter jets.

Syria is a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention so the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) planned to start inspections in the country on April 14 based on the convention. In October 2017, the joint oversight team of the UN and OPCW pointed a finger at Syria’s use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government should cooperate in the investigations to help disclose what occurred.

The three nations decided to take military action without waiting for inspections set to start the next day. Their act will make it difficult to find out what actually happened in Syria.

The U.S. and Russia each proposed to set up an independent investigation body in past UNSC meetings, but they prevented the realization of each other’s proposal. The international society needs to unite and work to reveal the hidden truths and eradicate chemical weapons.

President Trump seems to believe that the use of military force is a matter of course, again bringing the dangers of his "America First" policy into relief. Before carrying out strikes in Syria, he several times made threats on twitter such as, "Get ready Russia, because they (missiles) will be coming," as if he was seriously considering the possibility that the military action could develop into a confrontation between the two major powers. The person who has no sense of self-control over the urge to resort to arms is serving as the sitting U.S. President. This has created strong concerns worldwide.

Syria has been in a state of civil war for seven years. Russia and Iran side with the Syrian government, and the United States, the Kurdish force. European states, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia side with antigovernment armed groups. In addition, terrorist organizations affiliated to Al-Qaida came in and they are all mixed up. Such outside interference is making the situation internationalized and even more complicated.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on April 13 said that there is "no military solution" to the Syrian conflict. Based on the UN Resolution 2254 adopted in December 2015, the process of Syrian peace talks is progressing step-by-step. External parties concerned should not resort to military interventions but seek a ceasefire to pursue a political settlement in spite of many difficulties that need to be faced.

Diplomatic efforts, not subservience to US, needed

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo expressed his support, just like last year, for the illegal strikes launched by the U.S., the U.K. and France by saying, "In my understanding, this is a measure taken to prevent further aggravation of the situation." His statement justifies military interventions carried out without any UN resolution in violation of international law and places Japan in a position to fuel the continuation of the civil war. Japan should not support the United States by endorsing the U.S. strikes against Syria. The need is for Japan to strengthen diplomatic efforts and call on all parties concerned, including the United States and Russia, to work toward achieving peace in Syria.

Past related articles:
> US strike on Syria may destabilize Middle East: Foreign affairs expert [April 9, 2017]
> Shii comments on US military attack on Syria [April 8, 2017]
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