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Is there an Assad solution?

April 10, 2017

There are a wide range of favorable comments being reported among the national and international community relative to President Trump’s highly structured response to the Syrian dictator’s sarin gas attack on his own people.

The general consensus seems to be it’s about damn time somebody did something about Assad’s campaign of extermination in general, and the use of chemical weapons in particular.

Of course, many of the nations now patting the President on the back have competent air forces and navies too.

So where have they been all this time?

It seems to still be the norm that the United States has to take the lead.  Maybe that’s just the way of the world.

Perhaps in this case it is because Russia is involved, and Russia is certainly capable of shooting back for Assad, if Putin chooses to do so.

What nuclear capable nation would want to touch off WWIII? . Well for starters, Russia and Iran.

The upshot of that reality is nobody wanted to shoot first, and even President Trump took great pains to keep his actions localized to Syria.

With that in mind, what other means are at hand?

There is a nonmilitary, perfectly legal avenue for handling Assad, leaving us free to concentrate on ISIS, but it hasn’t been used yet.

Why hasn’t this dictator been charged under the auspices of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity? It certainly isn’t because his actions don’t warrant it.

For a somewhat clear understanding of that term, one can read this United Nations explanation as it was applied to actions relating to incidents that occurred in the Congo from 1993-2003.

The paper includes this definition of crimes against humanity:

The definition of ‘crimes against humanity’ is codified in article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). “The notion encompasses crimes such as murder, extermination, rape, persecution and all other inhumane acts of a similar character (willfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health), committed ‘as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack’.”

Note that the paper is a U.N. published document, originating from the offices of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, calling for a more thorough investigation of similar events that occurred in Rwanda in 1996-97.

That’s not to say that the U.N. could do anything about the two verified instances of chemical attacks in Syria, anymore than it has stood up against terrorism anywhere.

The International Criminal Court is not a United Nations agency, but in this latest case, it can be made impotent by that body.

To better understand the scope and limitations of the ICC, it’s mission and scope are discussed in a 49-page online FAQ document.  Suffice it to say, it has the unique ability and limitation of only having jurisdiction over individuals, not groups or nations.

The question of who has standing to request an investigation by the ICC and whether it could go forward  is more complicated than can be explained in a blog post, but the operative question is, has anyone even tried to pursue this route?

The answer is yes, but there is a bit of a problem. The request has to go through the United Nations and Russia would surely veto it, particularly since it may be complicit in the attack.

Which leaves the U.S. with a bit of a problem.

We just spent a minimum of $60 million dollars in one hour on ordnance to blow up a few planes and hangars.

In contrast we spend about $8 billion annually on the United Nations, and it can’t even help control one Middle Eastern despot.

That’s because voting members can scuttle even the most minor attempt oppose Assad, simply due to the vote of one member.  In this case, that’s Russia, one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

Indeed, just prior to the airfield operation, the U.N. failed to even pass a resolution condemning Assad.  It was voted down by Russia.

Maybe, if the world expects us to be the international cop shop,  it’s time we stockpiled that money paid to the U.N and spend it on strengthening the military.

Failing that, there could be a real coalition of nations to  control Assad. We don’t need a fictitious roster of 60 nations to be effective. What we do need are a dozen or so nations with the wherewithal and the will to form an effective military presence.

Concerning the defeat of ISIS, what about NATO? Isn’t it supposed to provide the military muscle necessary to defend any of its 28 North American and European member nations against threats?

Apparently, ISIS isn’t a large enough threat to pry the necessary funding and troop commitments loose from countries other than the U.S..

According to recent published reports, the United Nations receives 22% of its normal operating funds from the U.S. Germany contributes just under 15% and the other 26 nations share the remaining costs.  Only five of the member nations other than the U.S. meet their obligation to contribute 2% of their GDP to keeping world peace.

As far as the mission of NATO to defend member nations, many of the countries in Europe, plus the U.S. have suffered attacks by ISIS or it’s splinter allies.

So there you have it. Of all of these nations and touchy-feely organizations, only the U.S. has responded to Assad’s use of chemical weapons in a meaningful way.

In what world is the stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by a rogue dictator who also just happens to also harbor the face and body of Islamic terrorism, not a threat and worthy of international military intervention?

Apparently, in this world of global fantasies about international kumbaya.

From → op-ed

  1. ‘highly structured response’? really?

    • 59 targets, 58 hits, no civilian casualties at the airfield where the sarin gas was loaded. Seems pretty structured, vs indiscriminate carpet bombing, for instance.

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