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The attack on Syria

14 April 2018

The attack on Syria

Last night the US, UK and France launched a series of air raids on military targets controlled by the Assad regime in Syria. According to the three countries' own statements, this was in response to a gas attack by the Syrian army earlier this month. The Netherlands has expressed support ('understanding' in the jargon) for this military action by the western powers. This is completely misguided, because the American-led attack is, just as was the gas attack, a breach of international law.

- By Sadet Karabulut

The Netherlands should not be supporting this reckless act, which represents a gamble, with the lives of millions of people as the stakes in a dirty geopolitical game the results of which no-one can predict. The actions of the Americans, Britons and French in Syria must be condemned as vigorously as the many crimes of Assad and Russia in Syria. Pressure must be exerted for the resumption of peace negotiations, the application of the UN resolution calling for a ceasefire, and an investigation into last week's poison gas incident in Douma. On Tuesday, I want to hear the Prime Minister comment on this.

Furthermore, the bomb attacks don't solve a single problem. Formally the air raids were in defence of international law, which bans gas attacks, but few believe that they will achieve anything. A retaliatory attack took place last year and led to nothing positive. In this appalling civil war in Syria nothing any longer makes sense, the situation on the ground is complex and military interventions from Assad's positions have only grown stronger.

Lacking the approval of the United Nations and national parliaments undermines both diplomacy and the authority of the UN. It's true that Russia prevented a resolution being passed in the UN Security Council which would have launched an investigation into and eventual prosecution of the perpetrators of the poison gas attack, but it's also the case that offciials from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had arrived in Syria yesterday to conduct such an investigation, the results of which should have been awaited.

It is also probable that western attacks on Assad will only lead to more blood being spilt and a prolonging of the civil war, which has already gone on for seven years, costing some 500,000 people's lives and driving many millions more from their homes.

The chance is also great that the rapidly rising tensions between the US and Russia, which supports Assad, will further intensify. This could lead to direct armed conflict between the two great powers, which are armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. All the more reason to direct our efforts towards an unarmed political solution.

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