Writes David Singer:
Botched airstrikes by American, Australian and British warplanes in Syria have accidentally killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded more than 100 – leading Russia to making the accusation that the “White House is defending Islamic State”.
The boot was however on the other foot when America blamed Russia for an airstrike a few days later that killed 20 Syrian Red Crescent aid workers and truck drivers delivering humanitarian aid relief to 78000 civilians trapped in Aleppo province.
A very angry American Secretary of State – John Kerry – addressed the UN Security Council on 21 September:
“For weeks over the summer, experts from my government worked with our counterparts from Russia in good efforts to develop a plan that would take into account the lessons learned from the original cessation, and the key elements of that plan launched in Geneva two weeks ago include the renewal of a cessation of hostilities, excluding only Daesh [Islamic State – ed] and al-Nusrah.
Importantly, it included arrangements for the unfettered delivery – unfettered delivery – of humanitarian aid to people in Aleppo and elsewhere in the country, and it envisioned the possibility – providing humanitarian assistance was unimpeded and sustained, and provided there were at least seven days of consecutive adherence to the cessation – that the United States and Russia would begin to coordinate their efforts against Daesh [Islamic State] and al-Nusrah. And I want to make it clear, under President Obama’s orders, all preparations were being made in order to achieve that cooperation in terms of our military and intelligence community and the work we would do. So we’re committed to that."America and Russia had again put the cart before the horse – and these two tragic events have happened as a result.
Russia, America and their respective cohorts now need to get on with the job of first destroying their commonly agreed enemies - Islamic State and al- Nusrah – but only after first obtaining a UN mandated Security Council Resolution - rather than acting independently of the UN by pursuing some joint co-ordinated action of their own.
President Putin warned in his speech at the UN just one year ago of the perils of operating outside a UN Security Council resolution:
“Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organizations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.”Obama and Putin should urgently co-sponsor a Security Council resolution under Article 42 of the UN Charter before the Syrian sinkhole opens even wider.
Such a Resolution would enable the UN to take action by air, sea, or land forces to defeat and remove Islamic State and al-Nusrah as a threat to international peace and security. All UN Members would be obliged to make available to the Security Council, on its call, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage.
Only a UN-mandated military force led by a single commander-in-chief can ever hope to defeat Islamic State and al-Nusrah.
America seems unable to understand that resolving this world threat to international peace and security in Syria must first happen before it becomes possible to start resolving the 5 year old civil war in Syria.
Meantime Islamic State and al-Nusrah survive – and the inhumane suffering in Syria continues.
Russia and America must use the United Nations Security Council for the purpose it was created – not as a debating forum to play the blame game.