Is the United States guilty of aggression in Kobane?

Like Peace seems far away in Kobane
Monday, October 27, 2014 - 13:51

By Justice Hub

Did the United States commit an act of aggression by dropping weapons into the Syrian border town of Kobane without the approval of the Security Council and the Syrian government?

The US has air-dropped weapons to Syrian Kurds in Kobane. According to the US, the weapons will help the Kurdish belligerents to fight ISIS who has been besieging Kobane for more than five weeks.

The Syrian ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari said the US had not informed the Syrian government beforehand about the plans to deliver weapons to the Kurdish forces in Kobane.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, said Ban Ki-Moon "takes note" of the US air drop of weapons, adding that he wants all actions to be within the "broad context of international law."

During a press conference, Dujarric said he would not go further in his response concerning “whether the US air-dropped weapons without approval from the Security Council or the Syrian government is consistent with the international law”.

Is the US air-dropped weapons to Syrian Kurds in Kobane an act of aggression? And could it fit into the definition of ‘aggression’ which according to the UN General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974 is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, as set out in this Definition.

Since Dujarric declined to answer the legality of the US action concerning the air-dropped weapons into Kobane, who could? The International Court (ICJ) in the Nicaragua Case has confirmed the definition of aggression and elaborated on it. However, the facts in Kobane are completely different from the facts of Nicaragua Case. In Kobane, there is a non-state actor (ISIS) killing and terrifying civilians. The Syrian government, for its part, has failed to protect those civilians, and therefore the US is trying to revive and apply the R2P doctrine in Kobane.

It is worth mentioning here that the US does not support the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. The US is supporting the Kurds of Kobane, who do not receive any support from their own government in Damascus.

So could the US air-dropped weapons to the Kurds of Kobane be legally justified under the doctrine of R2P, and would such action ‘in the specific scenario of Kobane’ be consistent with the international law? What do you think?



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