- Title: Analyst, Syrian opposition figure share mixed reaction to U.S. attack on Syria
- Date: 7th April 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (APRIL 7, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION FOREIGN POLICY SENIOR FELLOW, SAYING: "I think you can debate the legality of these strikes. You know, I think they were justifiable, but they are on an uncertain legal foundation. There was no U.N. Security Council resolution, obviously. There was no direct defense of the United States, or even of the Americans for that matter, that we could really invoke a traditional interpretation of a self-defense right under international law. And so what we're essentially resorting to is the argument that because Syria had violated so many international laws, norms, and conventions, starting with the Chemical Weapons Convention, but also arguably the Genocide Convention, certainly the Geneva protocols, the 'rules of war' so to speak, because they had massacred so many civilians, and because, as Donald Trump said yesterday, they had used weapons of mass destruction in a way that breaks down international norms against their use, that the United States had the right to intervene both to essentially exercise retribution against those Syrian violations, and to protect our standard; the nonuse of weapons of mass destruction, which Trump sees as crucial to American security, no matter where it might happen. I think this is a very reasonable argument, especially because we're dealing with Bashar al-Assad, one of the greatest mass murderers of the 21st century. And we've been through an international debate on his chemical weapons use for several years already. But I could acknowledge and understand that someone might say 'it's not a legally pristine or waterproof case."
- Embargoed: 21st April 2017 20:39
- Keywords: Michael E. Oâ€™Hanlon Syria Reuters attack U.S. President Donald Trump Syrian opposition figure Bassma Kodmani Brookings
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES; AT SEA
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES; AT SEA
- Country: USA
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0026BEK7D3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Michael O'Hanlon described the U.S. launch of dozens on missiles on a Syrian airbase as "justifiable" but on "uncertain legal foundation."
"The United States had the right to intervene both to essentially exercise retribution against those Syrian violations, and to protect our standard; the nonuse of weapons of mass destruction, which Trump sees as crucial to American security, no matter where it might happen," the foreign policy expert told Reuters Video News in Washington on Friday (April 7).
The U.S. military launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles from the USS Porter and USS Ross warships in the Mediterranean Sea that hit the airstrip, aircraft and fuel stations of the Shayrat air base, which the Pentagon says was used to store chemical weapons.
The American strikes were in reaction to what Washington says was a poison gas attack by the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad this week that killed at least 70 people in rebel-held territory.
Bassma Kodmani, a members of the Syrian Opposition's High Negotiations Committee in Washington for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told Reuters the attack struck "a legitimate target." Kodmani said the missile launch struck an airbase responsible for a sarin gas attack that killed at least 70 Syrians. "If that is not a legitimate target I don't know what is," she said.
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