The Scientific Services of the German Bundestag are the equivalent to the Congressional Research Service in the United States. Members of Parliament can ask the services to give their neutral expert opinions on legal questions and other issues. Opinions by the Scientific Services are held in high regard.
Alexander Neu, a Member of Parliament for the Left Party in Germany, requested an opinion on the legality of the military presence and operations by Russia, the United States and Israel in Syria.
The result (pdf, in German) is quite clear-cut:
- Russia was asked by the recognized government of Syria to help. Its presence in Syria is without doubt legal under International Law.
- U.S. activities in Syria can be seen as two phases:
The provision of arms to insurgents in Syria by the U.S. (and others) was and is illegal. It is a breach of the Prohibition on the Use of Force in international law specifically of the UN Charter Article 2(4):
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.Fight against ISIS
The U.S. argues that its presence in Syria is in (collective) self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter because the Islamic State in Syria threatens to attack the United States. That, in itself, would be insufficient as Syria is a sovereign state. The U.S. therefore additionally claims that the Syrian state is "unwilling or unable" to fight against the Islamic State.
The Scientific Services says that the claim of "unwilling or unable" was already dubious when the U.S. operation started. This for two reasons:
- It is not law or an internationally accepted legal doctrine. (The 120 members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and others have argued strongly against it.)
- The Syrian government itself was fighting ISIS, but it could not operation in large parts of its territory where the Islamic State had taken control. Some argue that this justified the "unable" argument. But ISIS is largely defeated and it no longer has any significant territorial control.
Can't get more clear than that.
The US presence in Syria is illegal.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
All that 'success.' Hard to believe the Iraqi people didn't storm the polls on May 12th to vote for Hayder and give him a second term?
It's only hard to believe if you bought the crap the corporate media was selling in the long lead up to the Iraqi elections.
Mosul still in ruins one year after 'liberation' from ISIL aje.io/n5qe5
That's what 'liberation' looks like. What a proud moment for the whole world.
XINHUA reports that the "smell of rotting bodies comes from under the rubbles" and:
In a coffee shop, where many workers used to gather after a hard day of cleaning up ruins of devastated buildings, blames were heard for the Baghdad government's neglecting the city.
A young man smoking a traditional water pipe, or Shisha as Iraqis name it, said he heard media reports on funds allocated by the Baghdad government to rebuild Mosul, but "actually we haven't seen any progress by this money. I wonder was it true or stolen by corrupt officials?"
"Dozens of thousands of people cannot come back to their homes, because they don't have money to rebuild their houses, not to mention the lack of basic public services in their neighborhoods," the young man said while he was inhaling deeply from the mouthpiece of the Shisha and exhaling a jet of white smoke.
"Can you imagine the misery of the people here, they even using water wells while the world is watching us?" the young man said, blaming the situation on corruption and failure of Iraqi politicians.
Islamic Relief notes, "Tons of explosive remnants are still littered all over the city and hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced because it is too dangerous for them to return home. Schools, hospitals and other public facilities have been damaged and destroyed."
Liberation, or 'liberation,' resulted in what is called the worst battle since WWII. What did that battle look like? A massacre. A massacre where civilians couldn't be distinguished from combatants.
That's called a War Crime, by the way.
Wilson Fache (THE NATIONAL) reports on the battle and notes:
One of the soldiers, his face scarred by shrapnel, recounted the final days of fighting. “Around 15 per cent of the civilians managed to flee, the others are in there,” he said, pointing to the murky waters of the Tigris. “We had to kill everyone. We couldn't tell friends from enemies.”
The violence never ends in Iraq. Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes, of Monday's violence, "At least 34 people were killed, and 11 were wounded in recent violence."
New content at THIRD:
- Truest statement of the week
- Truest statement of the week II
- A note to our readers
- Editorial: Another turned corner!
- MEDIA: Hannah Gadsby is the 21st century's Jimmy S...
- They killed Hillary in 2008 (Ava and C.I.)
- Freaks: They're still with her! (Ava and C.I.)
- 10 To Read (Cedric)
- Tweet of the week
- 10 To Read (Marcia)
- Video to catch
- Read a book?
- This edition's playlist
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and NPR 'Music' (it's not a music story, the Tab Hunter piece), PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: