Attack on Syria lacks a legal basis in intl. law: US expert

TEHRAN, Apr. 18 (MNA) – Professor Paul Pillar, who was CIA intelligence analyst for 28 years, tells the Tehran Times that the attack on Syria was “neither in self-defense nor authorized by the United Nations Security Council, it did not have a basis in international law.

Pillar added, “It does not change the balance of power within Syria at all.”

Following is the text of the interview:

What was the main goal of US, England and France attack to Syria? Was this attack legal according to international law?

The main goal was to punish the Assad regime and thereby, it is hoped, to deter that regime from using chemical warfare in the future. More generally, the objective was to uphold the principle that chemical weapons should not be used.  In a sense the attack was undertaken on behalf of upholding one aspect of international law, which is the treaty that prohibits chemical warfare. However, this sort of attack is not recognized as an enforcement mechanism.  Because the attack was neither in self-defense nor authorized by the United Nations Security Council, it did not have a basis in international law.

This attach occurred before the inspection of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Why US do not wait for the result of the inspection of this organization

President Trump had already talked and tweeted so much about a response that if he had waited much longer it would have looked like he was stalling. One is entitled to ask, however, what difference just a few more days would have made if this gave OPCW investigators a chance to come up with some sort of finding. One also is entitled to ask whether the governments that launched the attack also were concerned that the results of the OPCW inspection might have been inconclusive, thereby reducing public and political support for the attack.

The attack to Syria was limited. Some argue the limitation of this attack was because of the fear of the reaction of Russia and Iran. What do you think?

The missile strike clearly was carefully calibrated in an effort to avoid escalation. The main concern was to avoid any direct clash with Russian military forces.

Will this attack change the balance of power in the Syria?

It does not change the balance of power within Syria at all. The Assad regime, with the help of its external backers, was on its way to winning the civil war before the attack, and it is still on its way to winning it now.

Interview by: Javad Heirannia

MNA/TT

News Code 133463

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