Recent military airstrikes on Syria have sparked opposition and suggestions for an alternative path forward.
In response to a chemical attack from the Syrian government that killed dozens of civilians on Apr. 4, President Donald Trump authorized the launch of nearly five dozen cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield on Apr. 7, according to reports. This marks Trumps’ first attack on a foreign nation through executive order. Syria is still in a civil war that started in 2011 between the forces of Bashar al-Assad and rebel factions. Russia supports al-Assad.
Some criticized the attack on constitutional grounds. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said that the attack would require a declaration of war, said reports. He also condemned Syria’s use of chemical weapons through social media and said that prior interventions in the region did nothing to make us more safe.
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) condemned the airstrikes as “an act of war” and stressed the need for congressional debate on the issue. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) called the strikes “reckless and shortsighted,” according to reports.
CREDO, MoveOn.org, Peace Action and Win Without War Coalition condemned the attacks in a joint statement.
“Yesterday, Donald Trump unilaterally and recklessly launched a military action in Syria with no apparent plan for what comes next and with no legal authorization. This is not leadership and it will not make our country safer nor end the tragic human suffering in Syria,” said a press release from the four organizations. “Make no mistake, this was an illegal act of war, launched in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law. Congress should immediately cancel its planned recess and debate and vote before any further military engagement by Donald Trump in Syria.”
The press release also said “Trump cannot bomb his way to peace” and said Trump had “no apparent plan for what comes next.” The Center for the Development of International Law released a report on the Syrian bombing and addresses questions of its legality in terms of international law.
“The act does not have any justification of self-defense, and can potentially be viewed as an illegal act of aggression under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter,” the report from CDIL said. “Article 2(4) binds the United States to international law that prevents members from utilizing ‘threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purpose of the United Nations.’”
The World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy issued a report “Unite for Peace in Syria, Global Civil Society Appeal to Member States” that suggests a multilateral solution. The report condemned the U.N. Security Council for failing the Syrian people during the Syrian Civil War. It stated that in seven years of civil war, close to 500,000 people have been killed and 11 million people have been forced to leave their homes. Russia has impeded the path to creating a solution. Russian and Syrian forces carried out an attack on the Syrian city of Aleppo with scant attention to the 250,000 civilians trapped there, the WFM/IGP report said. Efforts to halt these atrocities have been stopped by Russia, who use their veto power to obstruct U.N. efforts to solve the problem.
The report calls for U.N. member states to call a special session of the U.N. General Assembly, which can demand collective action when the U.N. Security Council has failed to uphold its Uniting for Peace Procedure, the report said. The report also calls for “an end to all unlawful attacks in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria” and for a humanitarian mission where life-saving aid can reach all those who need it. It also says that “member states should explore possible avenues to bring perpetrators of serious crimes under international law on all sides of justice.”
Sources: Twitter, World Federalist Movement/International Institute for Global Policy, Rare, CBS News, Center for the Development of International Law.