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Cuando el Congreso de los Estados Unidos examine la cuestión de autorizar o no la intervención militar en Siria, sus miembros deben tener presente una verdad fundamental: si bien el Presidente de Siria, Bashar Al Asad, ha recurrido repetidas veces a una violencia extrema para conservar el poder, los Estados Unidos –y otros gobiernos de Oriente Medio y de Europa– comparten la responsabilidad de haber convertido a Siria en un campo de exterminio.

Dichos gobiernos, encabezados por los EE.UU., han procurado explícitamente el derrocamiento violento de Asad. Sin su participación, lo más probable es que el régimen de Asad habría seguido siendo represivo; con su participación, Siria se ha convertido en un lugar de muerte y destrucción en gran escala.…  Seguir leyendo »

As America seeks a legal justification for intervening in Syria it might do well to explore a different road to Damascus.

In Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” a father and son walk along a road and see a man brutally beating an old horse. The horrified boy tries to help the nag, but his father pulls him away, saying “It’s not our business!” The boy’s moral instincts, Dostoevsky shows us, are still intact whereas the father’s have atrophied. But does the father or the other witnesses have a legal or moral obligation to stop the cruelty?

Law students studying liability read the case of a man walking along a beach who sees a person drowning just off shore.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since the United Nations was created in 1945, its Charter has been more honored in the breach than the observance. So maybe it should not surprise us that President Obama seems poised to authorize American military action against Syria, in clear violation of international law.

The Charter permits nations to use force against other nations only for self-defense or when the Security Council authorizes such force “to maintain or restore international peace and security,” as it did for Libya in 2011.

Mr. Obama seems to recognize the problem. “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it,” he told CNN last week.…  Seguir leyendo »

Syrians are fond of saying that their country is “the beating heart of the Arab world,” having played an outsize role in the history and politics of the region, from the Islamic golden age in the 7th century and the Arab Revolt during World War I to the Arab-Israeli wars. After 2 1/2 years of civil conflict, however, it is becoming more difficult to think of Syria as the spirit and soul of the region.

Among the catalogue of horrors that Bashar al-Assad and his supporters have perpetrated against their people, the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta on Aug. 21 is particularly egregious.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. military intervention in Syria would be immoral, illegal and treasonous. It would benefit our mortal enemy, al Qaeda, and possibly trigger a wider Mideast war. President Obama is playing with fire. He is dangerously putting his ego above the national interest. Bombing Syria threatens to leave his presidency in tatters.

In August 2012, Mr. Obama publicly drew a “red line” in Syria’s bloody civil war. He vowed that the use of chemical weapons would trigger a muscular U.S. response. Mr. Obama — along with the leaders of Britain and France — claims that Syrian strongman Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against rebel forces outside the capital of Damascus, murdering hundreds of civilians, including women and children.…  Seguir leyendo »

Faut-il intervenir en Syrie? Pour l’ancien président de Médecins sans frontières, aujourd’hui professeur à Sciences Po Paris, «avec l’arme chimique, un palier a été franchi, qui appelle une réaction».

Vous étiez opposé à l’intervention de l’ONU en Libye. Pourquoi êtes-vous favorable aux frappes ciblées des Occidentaux en Syrie?

Rony Brauman: Ni les justifications ni les objectifs ne sont les mêmes qu’en Libye. J’étais d’ailleurs partisan d’un recours militaire en Libye tant que la menace d’un massacre de la population de Benghazi me semblait crédible. C’est quand j’ai constaté que cette menace était inventée pour justifier une entrée en guerre de l’OTAN destinée à renverser le régime que j’ai condamné cette intervention.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si, pour les experts en armement et les bons connaisseurs de la Syrie, la responsabilité du régime de Bachar Al-Assad dans les massacres à l'arme chimique du 21 août est incontestable, certains doutes subsistent et s'instillent dans les esprits, à l'appui de nombreuses allégations d'observateurs, "analystes" et hommes politiques qui interrogent la responsabilité présumée de groupes djihadistes. Telle est la position du député de l'Essonne Nicolas Dupont-Aignan qui, en réaction aux velléités du gouvernement français de prendre part à la riposte contre le régime de Damas, s'est empressé de mettre des "groupes islamistes" sur la sellette. De prime abord, ces doutes paraissent légitimes en raison de la propagande médiatique du régime, qui nie toute responsabilité, de la gravité des faits et de l'imminence d'une très probable expédition punitive contre Damas, mais ils n'en demeurent pas moins illégitimes car infondés, incohérents et périlleux.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tras dos años y medio de guerra civil y 100.000 muertos, se revigoriza el interés internacional por la suerte de la población civil en Siria. Hasta ahora no se ha sabido –o querido– evitar su sufrimiento pero parece qué, por fin, se va a “castigar” al régimen sirio con un ataque militar para que no vuelva a emplear armas químicas contra su población. Dicho así, esta acción confirmaría en su fe a quienes todavía creen en la justicia y el orden internacional: una mala acción de los malos recibe su justo castigo a manos de los buenos. Sin embargo, incluso entre esos creyentes, surgen dudas sobre si el castigo es justo, proporcionado y útil como preconizan sus mentores.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is true that the UN security council is not a reliable global policeman. It may be slow to take action, or paralysed because of disagreement between members. But do we want the US or Nato or "alliances of willing states" as global policemen either? Unlike George Bush in 2003, the Obama administration is not trigger-happy and contemptuous of the United Nations and the rules of its charter, which allow the use of armed force only in self-defence or with an authorisation from the security council. Yet Obama, like Bush and Blair, seems ready to ignore the council and order armed strikes on Syria with political support from only the UK, France and some others.…  Seguir leyendo »

The House of Commons will be at its most serious on Thursday when it debates the proper international response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. MPs will speak with passion and conviction. The whips, in all parties, will struggle to maintain party discipline on what is a matter of conscience not just policy. It will be one of those relatively rare occasions when the house and the country do not already know which side of the argument will win the vote.

Inevitably, comparisons will be made with the debate that led to Britain joining the US in the invasion of Iraq.…  Seguir leyendo »

Are we certain Assad, and not the rebels, used chemical weapons?

The slaughter of hundreds of innocent civilians with chemical weapons “shocks the conscience of the world.” It has provoked a debate that is dominating our press on how the United States should respond to punish the Assad regime. It appears that we are preparing to take some kind of action. However, before we commit American lives and treasure, I hope we know the answer to a basic question that no one is discussing. What is the evidence that it was Syrian President Bashar Assad who used the weapons and not the rebels?…  Seguir leyendo »

The faces of the victims of last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria are haunting. We still do not know how many people died. Médecins Sans Frontières, an independent humanitarian organisation working with hospitals in Syria, estimates that there were 3,600 casualties, including 355 fatalities, among them many children.

According to the UN, the Syrian conflict is already the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, creating nearly two million refugees and killing more than 100,000 people so far. But it is now infamous for another, equally chilling reason: this is the first time that chemical warfare has been used anywhere in the world in the 21st century.…  Seguir leyendo »

Although we do not have independent information as to whether Bashar al-Assad's regime fired chemical weapons on the eastern suburbs of Damascus and killed hundreds of civilians, as the opposition claims, the burden of proof, morally and legally, lies squarely on the shoulders of the Syrian president.

If the regime's counter-claims of denial are to be believed, Assad must convince the Syrian people and the world. He can do this by allowing the United Nations inspectors access to the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta, where this apparent massacre occurred. A 20-strong UN team is already in Damascus, investigating three other incidents of alleged chemical weapons attacks said to have taken place six months ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

According to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama risks looking like a “fool” if he decides not to intervene militarily in Syria’s continuing civil war. Likening the situation to his decision to intervene in Kosovo in 1999, Mr. Clinton said Tuesday that if he hadn’t used force to stop Serbia’s campaign of ethnic cleansing, critics might have said: “You could have stopped this by dropping a few bombs. Why didn’t you do it?” Mr. Clinton believes that Mr. Obama could end up looking like a “total wuss” if he doesn’t intervene. And it seems he’s going act.

The recent recapture of the strategic town of Qusair by forces loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad and the White House’s public acknowledgment that chemical weapons have been employed by the Syrian regime — thereby crossing a “red line” — persuaded Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

La preocupación sobre las armas químicas en Siria ha existido desde el inicio de un conflicto que entra ya en su tercer año: un miedo asentado principalmente en el hecho de que el caos o incluso una posible desintegración del país dejaran desprotegidos los arsenales de armas químicas y no convencionales, que podrían caer en manos de radicales. Pero es ahora cuando suena con más fuerza su posible uso y, como consecuencia, el traspaso de la “línea roja” marcada por Barack Obama.

Se sabe que Siria posee el mayor programa de armas químicas en activo y el cuarto arsenal más grande del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »