The UN must investigate allegations of atrocities by US-led forces in Syria — Analysis
If any ‘rules-based world order’ is to be preserved, the rules must apply to everyone
We all know that the international order in disarray is on the horizon. A formal investigation into the allegations of US atrocities against Syria should be conducted to ensure international law is upheld.
Press TV reports that on Tuesday, the Syrian government wrote to UN officials to request a formal investigation into the allegations of atrocities by the US-led alliance in Raqqa.
“The time has come to shed light on the humanitarian, political, and legal aspects of the matter,” Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in two identical messages, addressed to UN Secretary General António Guterres and to the rotating president of the UN Security Council, Barbara Woodward.
Ministry officials noted that almost the whole city was completely destroyed in US bombing raids that were conducted between June 2017 to October 2017, which resulted into thousands of civilian casualties.
According to the Associated Press, serious concerns were raised about the city’s devastation. “the cost of victory.”AP flew a drone over Raqqa in order to show the extent of damage that had caused the city’s once-thriving past to a skeleton. This footage is, according to all accounts, quite disturbing.
“More than 80 percent of the city (Raqqa) is estimated to be uninhabitable as a result of the fighting,” Linda Tom, a Damascus-based official with the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told the Century Foundation’s Aron Lund at the time.
In addition to those atrocities, the report from the Syrian side included several others. These were in northeastern Syria in 2018 and 2019, under the US and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces. The report cited a Baghuz incident in which US fighter jets killed 70 civilians fleeing conflict.
There is certainly a lot to digest in America’s role in Syria. Numerous credible claims of war crimes, and atrocities committed by US-allied troops and bombers on the ground have been proven over the years.
There’s also the fact that America’s presence in Syria, which is without the consent of the UN-recognized Syrian government, is a clear violation of elementary international law – and its role in interfering in the country clearly violates international laws regarding non-intervention and crimes against peace.
If the UN and international laws are to be understood, then Raqqa’s events must be investigated seriously. This situation and the complete lack of coverage in Western media about it, at least as regards to the American actions, highlights the double standards which undermine multilateralism, international law, and other principles.
It’s not hard to see how repeated violations of international law, including international humanitarian law, the laws of war and basic laws about interference in sovereign countries create an inherently chaotic world order. Every day, the United States speaks of the importance of the “rules-based world order”While deliberately and continuously disregarding rules.
This is the case of Ukraine. For example, I am of the opinion that Russia’s incursion into Ukraine is a clear and easily identifiable violation of international law. The law has already been proven to be meaningless because the United States continues to violate international law.
The prospect of a formally Western-aligned Ukraine was one of Russia’s primary national security concerns prior to the initiation of the “special operation,” and America’s actions prove that this threat is more than hypothetical.
It is also clear that criminal activities increase when perpetrators are not held accountable. The US is credibly being accused, since Raqqa has, of numerous war crimes committed in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Raqqa’s operation also came after a US-led coalition carried out a bloody operation in Mosul, Iraq. This operation was even accused of war crimes.
US says it is equipped with internal compensation mechanisms for victims. “collateral damage”This is bunk. The US has just completed an internal review of the drone attack on Kabul in November 2021 that claimed 10 lives, seven children and injured ten civilians. It found that no misconduct or negligence took place and thus recommended no disciplinary action – which is a complete mockery of the laws of war, and of victims.
Here’s another notable example. One US Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher committed so many terrible acts in Mosul that his soldiers exposed him for shooting innocent civilians without discrimination and stabbing to death an ISIS soldier captured at 15 years of age. He was later pardoned by then-President Donald Trump for these acts – oh, and he also imposed sanctions on members of the International Criminal Court who were investigating US soldiers for war crimes, though these were lifted in April of last year.
We must all be able to admit that entire cities being razed without consideration for civilian infrastructure or the lives of non-combatants, in some sort of strategy akin to Dresden in World War II, is unacceptable – as are attempts to downplay it. The UN must take the allegations of atrocities in Raqqa seriously if it wants to maintain its legitimacy as an institution and ensure that international law has any serious meaning in today’s world.
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