While terming the US attacks as violations of international law and a reckless provocation, several UN member-states highlighted its support for the Israeli genocide in Gaza as the root of conflict in the region
The United Nations Security Council met on Monday, February 5, to discuss the US violations of Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty during last week’s attacks. The meeting was called by Russia which claimed that through its reckless acts of aggression and violations of the UN charter, the US threatens international peace and security.
Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzya, called the February 2 attacks the latest instance of the US engaging in unlawful and irresponsible acts. He stated that it showed the US’ complete disregard for international law. He added that the US intends to drag Iran into a regional conflict through these repeated provocations.
On Friday, the US had carried out 85 attacks at different locations in Syria and Iraq, killing 37 and 17 people respectively. It claimed that the attacks were carried out in response to attacks on its bases by the Iraqi militias and resistance groups. In one of those attacks, at least three US soldiers were killed and dozens of others were wounded.
The US has been accusing Iran of aiding militias and groups involved in the attacks on its forces in the region.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks on US bases in the region. Participating in the meeting, the country’s ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, called the US strikes “illegal and unjustified.” He claimed that the attacks “blatantly violate the basic norms and principles of international law, and the UN charter.”
Iravani also accused the US of ignoring the root causes of the conflict in the region which is “occupation, aggression and continued genocide and horrific atrocities committed by Israeli regime and fully supported by the US against the Palestinian people.”
Iravani asked the US and NATO to respect the will of the Iraqi people and the government and withdraw their forces from the country.
US attacks neither retaliatory nor in self-defense
Trying to justify the strikes in Iraq and Syria, the US representative in the UN claimed that they were carried out in “self-defense” and under article 51 of the UN Charter.
Article 51 of the UN charter talks about individual or collective self-defense of a member country in case of an armed attack.
Robert A Wood, the US representative, also tried to differentiate the US and UK joint attacks inside Yemen from the attacks carried out in Iraq and Syria
Speaking at the meeting, Iraqi representative Abbas Kadhim Obaid called the US strikes a violation of his country’s sovereignty and security, and asked the Security Council to do its work and protect the territorial integrity of all the countries including Iraq and Syria.
Syrian ambassador Qussai al-Dahhak rejected the claims that the attacks on Syria and Iraq were retaliatory, terming them “flimsy and misleading.” They are “flagrant violations of international law, humanitarian law and the principles and purposes of the United Nations,” SANA reported him as saying.
Al-Dahhak underlined that the “root causes of conflict, suffering and instability” in the West Asia region are the “wrongful, destructive policies” of the US. He accused the US of providing blind and unlimited support to Israeli occupation and the atrocities it is committing against the Palestinian people, including the ongoing genocide in Gaza.
Al-Dahhak also held the US responsible for creating military alliances in violation of the UN Charter and of interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, through means including aggression and occupation, and demanded that action be taken against the US.
The Syrian ambassador accused the US government of misusing their power and using the territories of Iraq and Syria to launch election campaigns in the country.
Threats to international peace and security – Security Council, 9542nd meeting
“The Middle East remains highly volatile,” the UN senior official for political affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said, reiterating the Secretary-General’s call on all parties to “step back from the brink and to consider the unbearable human and economic cost of a potential regional conflict.”
Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo today (05 Feb) spoke at a Council meeting, requested by Russia, on the recent US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
DiCarlo said, “Long-term regional stability demands the implementation of a clear political roadmap in each of these situations.”
She added, “The Secretary-General continues his extensive outreach to all key stakeholders to urge all parties to take concrete measures to de-escalate tensions, and to work towards sustainable political solutions that aim to resolve, rather than merely manage, longstanding conflicts.”
The UN senior official appealed to the Council to “continue to actively engage all concerned parties to prevent further escalation and the worsening of tensions that undermine regional peace and security.”
Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told the Council, “we decisively condemned this new brazen act of aggression of the US against a sovereign State, creating a further risks and increasing the level of instability in a region that is already on fire.”
He continued, “It is clear that this incident which we are here discussing today, only increases regional tensions caused by unprecedented violence in Gaza, which for more than four months has been suffering from inhumane bloody operation of Israel who the US is covering through all their efforts as well as their satellites, including blocking efforts of the Security Council to impose an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”
“It is clear that unilateral acts of violence by Washington and their allies only worsen the chaos in the region, nullifying international short efforts to reestablish peace in the Middle East, and to find a just solution to the Palestinian question,” the Russian Ambassador said,
He called on the international community to “unequivocally condemn these senseless acts of Washington and its allies in the Middle East, which violate the sovereignty of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic.”
US diplomat Robert Wood told Council members, “Russia called this meeting under the false pretense that the United States has no ground to respond to attacks that have killed US personnel.”
“It bears repeating, therefore, that the actions US forces took on February 2nd are necessary and proportionate, consistent with international law and an exercise of the United States inherent right to self-defense,” Ambassador Wood reiterated.
He called on members of the Council, “especially those with direct channels to Iran to press the Iran’s leaders to rein in their militias and stop these attacks,” adding that “they should also press the Syrian regime to stop giving Iran a platform to destabilize the region.”
“As President Biden has made clear, we will not hesitate to defend our personnel and hold responsible all those who harm Americans. That certainly goes for Iran and its proxies,” the US diplomat said.
He concluded, “we will continue to exercise our right to self-defense at a time in a place of our choosing. And we will continue to hold Iran and its affiliates accountable for their destabilizing actions.”
Syrian Ambassador Koussay Aldahhak said, “Successive US administrations have misused their permanent membership of the Security Council and interfered thoroughly in the internal affairs of other countries including my country, Syria.”
He added, “They have formed military coalitions outside the umbrella of the United Nations and international relations legitimacy, perpetrating acts of aggression and occupation, exerting pressure and blackmail, collectively punishing and smothering peoples with unilateral coercive measures and inhumane immoral blockades.”
“Such violations impose the law of force over the force of law,” the Syrian Ambassador added.
Ambassador Aldahhak reiterated that the Syrian Arab Republic “completely rejects all the pretexts and lies that the US administration is trying to use to justify its aggression, which aims to protect its agents in the region, including Da’esh, Al-Nusrah Front, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, other terrorist entities and groups associated with them and the separatist militias.”
He said, “these agents would not have continued their crimes against the Syrian people without the multifaceted support provided by the United States and its allies to them.”
Iraqi Ambassador Abbas Kadhom Obaid Al-Fatlawi “strongly” condemned “the American attacks which targeted military positions in Iraq on the night of the third of February, which led to dozens of deaths and martyrs amongst personnels and civilians.”