Russia FM: Military Strike on Syria without UNSC Approval Is Act of Aggression
Moscow Informed Washington Saturday through diplomatic channels that any military operation against Syria, without the authorization of the UN Security Council, is an act of aggression and a violation of the principles of international law.
“The Russian side has confirmed that any use of force against Syria by the United States, without authorization of the UN Security Council, is an act of aggression and flagrant violation of the principles of international law,” a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry official website after the meeting between the deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and the U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul read.
It also indicated that “Michael McFaul presented all the arguments which the US administration relies upon in accusing the Syrian government of involvement of the use of chemical weapons on August 21, 2013 in East Ghota.”
According to all those arguments, Sergei Ryabkov called the American side to “refrain from attempts to use this incident in order to justify military pressure on Damascus, and to allow the full implementation of the agreement reached by the G8 summit in June.”
Ryabkov also stressed the need to submit the report of UN experts working in Syria to the UN Security Council for consideration.
American Navy ships still ready to attack Syria
The US military warships are reportedly staying in the eastern Mediterranean as President Barack Obama is waiting for a congressional approval to attack Syria.
A defense official told Politico that the five American guided-missile destroyers and one amphibious transport are going to continue to stay in place for now.
The USS Stout, USS Gravely, USS Mahan, USS Barry and USS Ramage are all in the region with dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The amphibious transport USS San Antonio, which is carrying about 700 troops from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is also there along with some of their aircraft and amphibious equipment.
On Saturday, the Obama White House asked Congress for authorization to conduct military strikes against Syria.
“The objective of the United States use of military force in connection with this authorization should be to deter, disrupt, prevent and degrade the potential for future uses of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction,” the White House said in a draft resolution.
Washington accuses Damascus of launching a chemical weapons attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus last week, an allegation denied by the Syrian government.
President Obama also said the US military “has positioned assets in the region.”
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey “has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. Moreover, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now. And I’m prepared to give that order,” Obama said.
Reacting to US allegations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it would have been “utter nonsense” for Syria to use chemical weapons.
“I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,” Putin said.
“Russia is urging you to think twice before making a decision on an operation in Syria,” he said.
Obama bypassing UN, making Congress his world court: Venezuela
Venezuela has condemned US President Barack Obama for bypassing the United Nations and asking US Congress to approve a military offensive against Syria, saying the move can lead to destruction of international institutions.
During a visit to the South American country of Guyana on Saturday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that the US president was shamelessly bypassing the UN and turning Congress into his personal world court.
“If multilateral bodies and the international system are disregarded like this, what lies ahead of us in this world is war, is destruction,” Maduro warned.
“It is a very serious thing indeed when President Obama tries to take the place of UN bodies, and that he has tried and convicted the Syrian government, and that he has decided to invade, to militarily attack the people of Syria, and that he has chosen the US Congress as a sort of high world court in place of the UN Security Council,” Maduro said after holding a meeting with his Guyanese counterpart Donald Ramotar.
Earlier in the day, Obama said he has decided that Washington must take military action against the Syrian government, which would mean a unilateral military strike without a UN mandate.
Obama said that despite having made up his mind, he will take the case to Congress. But he added that he is prepared to order military action against the Syrian government at any time.
Obama once again held the Syrian government responsible for the chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in the suburbs of Damascus.
On Thursday, the second meeting of the UN Security Council’s permanent members ended without reaching an agreement on Syria.
Representatives from the US, Britain, France, Russia, and China met on Thursday afternoon at the UN headquarters in New York for the second time in two days, but the meeting broke up after less than an hour, with the ambassadors steadily walking out.
The Western members of the council have been pushing for a resolution on the use of force while Russia and China are strongly opposed to any attack on Syria.
The call for military action against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.
Syria has strongly rejected the allegations and says terrorists carried out the deadly chemical weapons attack.