President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that the recent airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense. He said that those non-state militia groups were involved in recent attacks against United States and Coalition personnel in Iraq, included the Feb. 15 “attack in Erbil, Iraq, which wounded one United States service member, four United States contractors, and killed one Filipino contractor. He further stated that these groups are also engaged in ongoing planning for future such attacks. While defending his action of ordering military strikes in Syria, Biden observed that he directed this military action consistent with his responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to his constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. He stated that the United States took this action pursuant to the United States’ inherent right of self-defense as reflected in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.
According to reports, US fighter jet’s strikes destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point used by militant groups allegedly back by Iran, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS). While responding to media, the Pentagon official statement defined the US military response as “proportionate” and coordinated with its diplomatic measures and carried out in consultation with coalition partners. It further stated that US had acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq. Here question arises, that whether, US consultation with its coalition partners justified the legal grounds for this attack or had the US appraised United Nations about these attacks resulting in violation of sovereignty of a UN’s members state.
The United States self -designed definition of self-defense and its unilateral actions in various countries of the world has created negative impressions against the United States and the UN, the world body responsible to maintain peace and stability at international level, due to its week response to such US unilateral actions in the past. The US attacks inside territory of other sovereign states under Self-Defense doctrine had encouraged other states such as Israel and India to exercise such self-defined right of self defense and violate the sanctity of the sovereignty of other countries. These acts by some of the countries has badly diminished the importance and validity of the United Nations. If similar situation exists for longer time, the world would represent a scenario of jungle law where every powerful animal prey the weakest ones by demonstrating its right of self-defense and the weaker would be unable to get its right of existence even at the world forum of United Nations.
The US President Biden gave reference of UN article 51 of Chapter 7, while supporting his stance of right to self-defense. If we examined the situation referred by the Biden, it does not comply with that article. The right of self defense only can be exercise at the time of aggression/ attacks, if one’s allegations proved to be true even then the action thereafter is only a retaliation by the victim state but it can’t be termed as an act of self-defense.
The United Nations needs to fully assume its core responsibilities for maintaining peace and stability in the world and must preserve the sanctity and integrity of its weak member states on the hands of power countries of the world.