Obama’s (Brand New) Illegal War

Violating both international and American laws, It´s not exactly news that the American policy towards Syria is a myriad of contradictions: the US are against the government of Bashar al-Assad, that fights against the Islamic Estate, which became the public enemy number one of… the United States

This Tuesday, Washington began its air strikes against the jihadi Caliphate in Syria, as well a different armed group called Khorasan, made up of experienced al-Qaeda operatives, that was plotting an imminent attack against America – so it says the Pentagon in a statement.

According with the Syrian national news agency, SANA, al-Assad was informed about the strikes that was about to happen through a letter sent by Secretary of State John Kerry, delivered by Iraqi foreign minister, even though the target for now is Isis, it won´t take long for the US-Gulf states coalition turn its weapons against Syrian´s government, which the Obama administration is trying to topple for the last couple of years.

Last week, addressing to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said that on-the-ground combat in Syria “will be done by the ‘moderate oposition’ which is Syria´s best counterweight to extremists”. That statement was rebuffed by Middle East expert Robert Fisk last Sunday in article published by The Independent, on which he wrote that Kerry´s rhetoric about Isis was “an insult to our intelligence”. According to Fisk, anyone who has studied Syria from afar knows that there´s no such thing as “moderate opposition” in the country – supposedly deserters from the Syrian regular army, with the so-called Free Syrian Army a ridiculous myth.


“The FSA had been fighting Isis for two years”, said Kerry, while the Syrian government is not fighting or will not fight Isis. “This is nonsense. Most of the Syrian army’s 35,000 dead were killed in action against al-Qaeda and Isis”, argued Fisk, going even further saying that any alliance against the Islamic State would require an alliance with Iran, the al-Assad´s government and the “super-terrorist” Hezbollah guerrillas from Lebanon. “But for a man who thought he could stitch up a Palestinian-Israeli peace in 12 months, what else can you expect?” asked Fisk rhetorically – and intelligently.

But, as usual, such alliance would be a contradictory one, given that, according with Harvard´s research scholar Garikai Chengu, the US policy in Middle East revolves around oil and Israel. “The invasion of Iraq has partially satisfied Washington’s thirst for oil, but ongoing air strikes in Syria and economic sanctions on Iran have everything to do with Israel. The goal is to deprive Israel’s neighboring enemies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of crucial Syrian and Iranian support”.

Another ostensive contradiction is the fact that the countries that joined US air strikes in Syria, the so-called “international coalition” are the same the usual suspects that not long ago were backing up the same Isis and other radical groups to overthrow Bashar al-Assad´s regime – notoriously Saudi Arabia. But this fact might fail to reach the American mainstream media from now on.

Despite sailing on a widespread support for a military campaign in Syria, and Iraq, with almost two thirds of Americans favoring the air strikes in Syria, the fact is that such attack is a violation of both international and American laws, for it´s an act of aggression of US against a foreign and sovereign nation, without its consent nor an approval from UN´s Security Council; and domestically, conducted without a formal declaration of war nor any type of authorization of US Congress – which constitutes a violation of American Constitution. Actually, Mr. Obama is going against his own words, when he decides to wage a war without a congressional approval.


The Obama administration is using as legal justification for this attacks, a 13 year-old law called Authorization for the Use of Military Force – written in 2001 specifically to target al-Qaeda and the 9/11 perpetrators – and  to wage war on a group that didn’t even exist when the law was passed. Not to mention that Isis it´s not al-Qaeda´s branch anymore, semantics or not.

Obama´s decision to ignore the Constitution bypassing the Congress has a recent precedent though: Libya. When back in 2011, the president of the United States said: “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question”, and carried on the NATO strikes in Northern Africa anyway. At the time, Congressman Ron Paul labeled such disregard for the Constitution by labeling as “a horrible statement.”: “You take an oath of office to obey the Constitution […] the Constitution is very clear, you don’t go to war without a declaration,” said Paul. Going even further on the issue, Congressman Walter Jones said that Obama’s failure to obtain Congressional approval for the 2011  attack on Libya constituted “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”

Also, it´s always worth remembering that all of this was the exact same strategy used back in 2003, that paved the way for the Isis to flourish; just like back then there were always someone profiting with a brand new war – they usually were the same breed that went on to TV channels to talk about the threat “beyond anything we´ve seen”.

PS: Syria is an old pal of Moscow, as well.

Vini Gomes is a young journalist from Brazil, writes for Revista Fórum and collaborates with Outras Palavras.Interested in the twists and turns of international geopolitics, the invisible side of social injustices in the world and do not have the 1%´s best interests at heart. Writer and lover in the free time. He may be reached at v.gomesmelo@gmail.com