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Cynical and illegal: Journalists, activists slam US-led missile strike against Syria

The US-led missile attack against Syria demonstrates Washingtons complete disregard for internationa..

The US-led missile attack against Syria demonstrates Washingtons complete disregard for international law, and its timing, before a proper investigation was conducted, raises serious questions, experts told RT.

Describing Saturday mornings missile attack as illegal, Joe Lauria, an independent journalist and former Wall Street Journal correspondent, told RT that the strike was shocking – but not surprising.

“They did not prove that they were acting under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which is self-defense – the US was not acting in self-defense,” Lauria told RT. “They did not get Security Council authorization, and the US Congress did not weigh in on this, so its illegal internationally and under US law.”

The decision to launch the missiles just hours before inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were scheduled to begin a fact-finding mission at the site of the alleged gas attack in Douma on Saturday represents “quite an extraordinary moment,” Lauria told RT. “But I should say its not unusual. The United States has done this kind of thing before,” he added.

Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, agreed, telling RT that the missile attacks on Syria by the United States, France and the UK were nothing less than an “attack on international law.” According to Sterling, “There is no justification for three countries taking it upon [themselves] to become the judge, jury and executioner of whether or not chemical weapons have been used. There is a process that should be followed.”

Malik Ayub Sumbal, a political analyst and broadcaster, said the strikes “violated all international laws, all international rules” as well as being a direct affront to the UN Charter.

“This is a cynical act. Its illegal under international law, its illegal under US law. The administration and its supporters have no plausible story that this act will make anything better,” Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy, told RT.

“Even the New York Times dismissed this act before it happened as a feel-good, limited strike, a symbolic act for domestic consumption. So what can we say about the United States, the United Kingdom, and France? These are cynical actors. Theyre not interested in what happens to civilians in Syria, or in Yemen, or anywhere else in the Middle East. Its a sad day for the world, to know that these countries are so cynical and callous.”

The decision to launch the missiles just hours before inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were scheduled to begin a fact-finding mission at the site of the alleged gas attack in Douma on Saturday represents “quite an extraordinary moment,” Lauria told RT. “But I should say its not unusual. The United States has done this kind of thing before,” he added.

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F. Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon security analyst, said that the timing of the strikes clearly showed that the US and its western allies “didnt really care” about a proper investigation into the April 7 incident. Finding out who is actually behind the alleged gas attack is “not really their motivation,” Maloof said.

The OPCW said on Saturday that their fact-finding mission will continue despite the airstrikes.

“They will make their decision, and if it aligns with what Russia said, that there was no chemical attack – we dont even know if there was one, let alone if it was chlorine or Sarin – you can be sure it wont be broadcast or printed pretty much in the US media,” Lauria told RT. “We dont even hear very much here in the US about the inspectors arriving. That was buried here.”

Asked if he thought the US would strike Syria again if more cases of alleged chemical weapon usage emerged, Lauria pointed out that “we dont even know that [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] used chemical weapons this time. Or the last time. So theyre talking about if he does it again. Well, how about waiting to find out whether he did it this time? So in other words, they dont need proof. That is clear,” he said.

Ultimately, the humanitarian pretext behind the strikes, coupled with Washingtons disinterest in waiting for a proper investigation into the Douma incident, should raise alarm bells, Naiman told RT.

“These are the same three governments who are arming, and facilitating, and participating in the Saudi war in Yemen. The cause of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Millions of human beings on the brink of famine, worst cholera outbreak in human history, millions of human beings suffering from the blockade of fuel, medicine and fuel. These are the governments that [would] have us believe that this bombing has something to do with protecting civilians,” Naiman said.

“Does anybody in the world actually believe this military action has anything to do with protecting civilians? I cant imagine anyone would be so foolish to believe such an assertion.”

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