Rick Rozoff: UN Syria Resolution May Allow Action Against Rebel Supporters

by Rick Rozoff
Writer, Dandelion Salad
September 29, 2013

Times Square Convergence against The War on Syria

Image by The Eyes Of New York via Flickr

John Robles
Voice of Russia
September 29, 2013

The full text of the United Nations Resolution on Syria has been published and thanks to the efforts of the Russian Federation and China is one of the most balanced of such documents in the last century. However there remains the threat of a western attack on Syria. In an interview with the Voice of Russia World Service, regular contributor Rick Rozoff also stated that there exists language in the resolution that could even allow for measures to be taken against a party that provides or supports the Syrian “opposition” with chemical and or other non-conventional weapons.

Hello this is John Robles I am speaking with Rick Rozoff, the owner of Stop NATO and the Stop NATO international mailing list.

Robles: Can you tell us about the United Nations Resolution on Syria? Are there any holes or loops in it that the United States might use to go ahead with a bombing campaign on that country?

Rozoff: I fear there is indeed and actually there are two that I can think of immediately. The resolution itself was adopted unanimously by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States, and the current ten rotating member states.

It makes some effort to be balanced. It is better than what, I’m sure, The US, Britain and France would have wanted and that’s because of Russia in the first place. The Russian and Chinese influence, I think, trying to introduce a balanced and moderate resolution.

However, it mandates a number of issues, including the monitoring of chemical and other non-conventional weapons inside Syria. Presumably, by all sides. Though, when it comes to compliance issues and ultimately the use of Chapter 7, as they are called, measures against the perpetrators of the violations of chemical weapons regulations but only the state could be held accountable. I hardly see how the rag tag and irregular military forces supported by the West could be held accountable. They could be sanctioned, for example, but I don’t know if they could be bombed.

But what’s most alarming is that the penultimate demand in the resolution, Number 21, and I’m reading it verbatim, decides in the event of non-compliance with this resolution including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter and what’s important to realize in that, there are several articles under Chapter 7, but the operative one and the one that we are most concerned about right now is Article 42 which reads as follows: Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in the earlier Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, they may take such actions by air, sea and land forces as it may be necessary to maintain and restore international peace and security and these include, I’m quoting again, demonstrations, blockade and other operations by air, sea or land forces of members of the United Nations, in other words war.

And what we are talking about, of course, most recently is some equivalent of UN Resolution 1973 in March of 2011 that led to, contrary to what the Resolution asserts: a full six-month war by the Pentagon and NATO against the nation of Libya.

The resolution passed recently does not stipulate Chapter 7 measures, I mean that’s the Russian contribution to have that left out but at the end it leaves a little bit of room for the West – the United States, Britain, France and their allies – to come back to the Security Council and demand implementation of Chapter 7 Military Intervention against the government of Syria.

Robles: Right, but that would still require the approval of all the members of the UN Security Council, wouldn’t it?

Rozoff: Actually, it wouldn’t have to be all members. One permanent member alone could veto it, Russia or China.

In theory it would be unanimous but not necessarily. Russia and China could abstain, vote against and then not veto it and this is what happened with Libya indeed. So either assent or passive assent is guaranteed by voting for or abstaining. Or even voting against and not vetoing.

We’ll see but even though I think that we can pause for a little while and hope that in contravention of the UN Security Council and the recently passed Resolution 2118, the US will not once again act outside of and in direct contradiction to the United Nations, as it did 14 years ago against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and as it did 10 years ago against Iraq and as it has in any number of other cases since the creation of the United Nations.

So I think, a couple of things: there is still the real threat of a US and allied military action against Syria regardless of this resolution but I think that we can agree that the adept Russian diplomatic initiative has put a spoke in the wheel of the western war machine.

Robles: Rick, could you remind our listeners what is Chapter 7, as I’m sure not all people are aware of what it is exactly.

Rozoff: It’s a chapter in the Charter of the United Nations. It stipulates, as I mentioned, what actions the United Nations can take collectively (members of the United Nations).

The actual and full title of Chapter 7 is “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression”. So you see how far we have descended the pathway to international lawlessness, when you see that Chapter 7, which was explicitly introduced in the aftermath of World War II, the deadliest war in history, of course, and the one that resulted from acts of territorial aggression by the axis powers, by the fascists and Nazis and imperial Japanese aggressors, has now been turned around, where the major western powers, the United States in the first place, apply Chapter 7 to strictly domestic developments within the borders of a country, a country moreover has not threatened any of its neighbors.

So, I think that’s an important consideration, particularly, the by now – and I’ll tip my hand – infamous “responsibility to protect” provision adopted by the United Nations, which equates the mistreatment of nationals and citizens within a nation to acts of military aggression against other countries, either neighboring or around the world, which in the latter category is something the United States is quite adept at.

I think another concern that we have is the final article in Chapter 7 by the way, and this cuts both ways, this is the sort of logic that could be used by the US and its NATO allies, I mentioned there were two persistent problems that we have to deal with: one of them is that the United States might succeed, in conjunction with its allies, in provoking another situation such as that in the summer of last year (2012), where a Turkish warplane violated the airspace of Syria and was shot down, and then provide the United States and other NATO allies to invoke their Article 5, the mutual military assistance clause, ostensibly in defense of a NATO member, that being Turkey, the only NATO member that borders Syria.

Article 51 reads real quickly: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations,” and so forth.

So, failing to get UN Security Council approval, or even the preparatory stages of approval for a military attack against Syria, the US could contrive a situation in conjunction with Turkey, in the most apparent case, to provoke a military action or response from Syria and then go to Brussels and invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter, and the US could even push for Article 51 of Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter “Defending an Ally.”

Robles: Regarding the language in the text, as I understand, you just said that if “any party” in Syria uses chemical or forbidden weapons the government of Syria will be held responsible. There is no language in there about non-state actors, meaning all these al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates?

Rozoff:No, actually no. Once again thanks to Russian intervention – clearly you see all the fingerprints of the respective permanent members, I think, on this resolution 2118 – but part of the Russian contribution is indeed a statement that neighboring countries have a responsibility to prevent the transfer of chemical and other non-traditional weapons into Syria.

This clause, I would have to assume, was authored by Russia and I’m rather surprised at the western countries for this (for a resolution which contains such a provision) but the immediate countries one suspects, of course, are Turkey and Jordan and possibly Israel – that would permit the transfer… They are already actively aiding the armed insurrection inside the country – and that they will now be held accountable, if I the read resolution properly, for that action.

My only question about that is how practically that could be implemented and which acts of diplomatic demarches, or sanctions, or even military actions would be enforced.

Robles: But there’s no language in there as to the consequences of those guilty of such support.

Rozoff: No specifics but we know what Chapter 7 permits, so technically that could be used even in reference to neighboring countries that are aiding and abetting the bloody uprising and threat against the national sovereignty of Syria.

Robles: Well, technically I think that would be a logical and proper implementation of Chapter 7, wouldn’t it?

Rozoff: Yes, I agree, rather than the way it has been misused, or the way people are talking about misusing it.

For example, the language exactly in the UN Resolution passed recently underscores, and I quote: “No party in Syria should use, develop, produce or so forth chemical weapons”.

It does dictate that the government shall comply with all aspect of the decisions of the Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

One of the problems is – we talked about adept Russian diplomacy, let’s give it the devil’s due and talk about the equally efficient, I’m afraid, maneuvers by western nations of the US, in the first instance, to create an amorphous, proxy organization, “the Free Syrian Army” and such like, inside the country where it’s very difficult to identify a command structure, much less to hold any individual or individuals responsible.

So, when we see people carving out the internal organs of murdered Syrian soldiers and eating them, when we see captives, civilian and military, beheaded when, as Russia asserts and I am sure it is the case, Syrian rebels are using chemicals weapons, as they did in March in a suburb outside the city of Aleppo and quite possibly did in August of this year, who do you hold accountable?

You can’t sanction them, they are not a state actor and what military action can you take? I mean, the government of Syria is taking the ultimate military action against these people. They are trying to neutralize groups of bandits and brigands with chemical weapons.


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