Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, April 15th, 2018 - 160 comments
Categories: International, Politics, Propaganda, Syria, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags: accountability, chemicals, military action
Launching missile strikes on three pieces of infrastructure is an act of humanitarianism. The US is ready to do it again if anyone says “Boo!” to a monkey. The UN Security Council has endorsed itself being by-passed by countries (or at least by some countries) wanting to unleash military strikes against other countries they are not at war with, and that constitute precisely zero threat to their own national security.
So is the UN broken? I don’t know.
Is military action ever humanitarian? Well, I guess it could be, but I’m not readily thinking of the circumstances where that would be the case. Certainly not this instance where action has been taken off the back of a tweet; where nothing has been verified (ie, video footage etc) and where no evidence has been collected or evaluated.
And I’m curious about those pieces of infrastructure. According to the OPCW – the internationally recognised body responsible for overseeing the implementation of the CWC treaty that Syria signed up to, Syria had destroyed all of its chemical weapons back in October 2014. Are we now to believe that wasn’t the case and that the OPCW are chumps?
So what was being targeted?*
I haven’t had time to hunt through decent or informed opinion yet, but I’m taking these claims about chemical weapons research and storage facilities with a dose of salt. Every country in the world has chemical factories and chemical research facilities, and a large part of me wonders if we’re just seeing a Bill Clinton/Sudan redux – when in 1998, he launched cruise missiles to destroy the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical facilities, that incidentally provided 50% of Sudan’s medical supplies, on the grounds that it was producing the nerve gas VX. It wasn’t.
So bang some missiles onto an innocuous chemical facility, claim it was also producing something else “on the side”, and conveniently take out whatever it was that was the intended target; the target that couldn’t wait until any evidence of a chemical attack (if there is any) was processed; the target that couldn’t even be held back on for a few days so that (in the case of the UK) proposed military action was put to a Parliamentary vote.
Some members of the US Congress are less than impressed with Trump’s unilateral, hasty decision making too.
Anyway. Just as well “our” glorious leaders remembered to not say they were launching missiles to help bring about democracy. That might have been a bit of a sell given how they’re acted.
* Scientific Studies and Research Centre compound in the Barzeh district, north Damascus. It was the countries leading research facility, and since Syria signed up to the CWC, probably focusing on it’s civil goal of (from Wiki) “advancing and coordinating scientific activities in the country. It works on research and development for the economic and social development of Syria, especially the computerization of government agencies”.
According to the Financial Times, “The second [target] was a chemical weapons storage facility at Him Shinshar west of the city of Homs which the US said was the primary location for the Syrian manufacture of the nerve agent sarin. The third was a chemical weapons bunker facility close to the second target”.
Pass the salt.