Attack on Iran must have Security Council mandate

27 October 2010

Attack on Iran must have Security Council mandate

According to Peter van Walsum, former diplomat and ex-member of the Davids Commission into the Netherlands' role in the war on Iraq, an American attack on Iran is imminent and the Netherlands must now ask itself whether such an intervention would be worthy of political support.

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel

Harry van BommelVan Walsum believes that this intervention "in all probability will take place without a mandate from the Security Council." Happily, this warning comes in this case, unlike in the case of Iraq, in timely fashion. I am less happy with his implicit advice that we should support this attack. Whether an attack on Iran would eliminate its nuclear programme is to be doubted, but that the Middle East would go up in flames as a result is a certainty. This view has already been expressed in this newspaper on 6th February by Israeli professor of military history Martin van Crefeld. Van Walsum expects nothing to come of the sanctions imposed on Iran and sees no option but an attack. That an attack on Iran would take place without a mandate from the Security Council presents for him no obstacle, which concurs with his minority position in the Davids Commission. In the Commission's report it states on page 270 that he asked himself "whether the government would not have done better to explain to parliament and to the Dutch people that there was no persuasive grounds in international law for the invasion, but that a military intervention on the grounds of the reasons given was nevertheless presented and was therefore deserving of political support from the Netherlands.” That would perhaps have led to less discontent at home, but also to transgression of Article 90 of the Dutch Constitution, in which it is stated that our country will promote international law. Van Walsum's advice stands in direct contradiction of this.

This article first appeared in Dutch in the national daily NRC-Handelsblad of 27 October 2010

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