TEHRAN (FNA)- A former legal official from the Bush administration warned that the text of President Barack Obama’s resolution authorizing the use of military force on Syria is so broad that it could justify attacks on Iran and Lebanon.
Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law professor who resigned from the Bush administration over its executive overreach, wrote in Lawfare that “the proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) focuses on the Syrian Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) but is otherwise very broad” and that it “does not contain specific limits on targets”.
After Obama’s Rose Garden speech, he sent Congress the text of his proposed resolution on striking Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack on Ghouta. While Congress could modify the resolution, as it stands it’s a document authorizing the use of force on a broad array of targets and could justify deeper US military involvement in the Middle-East, the Mondoweiss reported.
In his analysis, Goldsmith wrote that whether the proposed AUMF authorizes the President to take sides in the Syrian Civil War, or to attack Syrian rebels associated with Al-Qaeda, or to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power? Yes, as long as the President determines that any of these entities has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and that the use of force against one of them would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (e.g. Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons. It is very easy to imagine the President making such determinations with regard to Assad or one or more of the rebel groups.
Goldsmith asked whether the proposed AUMF authorizes the President to use force against Iran or Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in Iran or Lebanon? Again, yes, if the President accuses Iran or Hezbollah of having a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and the use of force against Iran or Hezbollah would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (e.g. Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons. Again, it is very easy to imagine.
It brings to mind the AUMF passed in the aftermath of September 11. While that resolution directly concerned Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, it was later broadened to justify drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia–even on targets that were clearly not part of Al-Qaeda.
The Obama administration has made its case for a strike on Syria by emphasizing that it would be a limited attack. “This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope,” the president said Saturday.
But the consequences of a strike on Syria are unpredictable, as the International Crisis Group said today in a statement cautioning against the use of military force and pressing for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. Any US military action on Syria increases the chance for a regional escalation of the conflict.
If Obama gets his Syria resolution passed, he will have the political backing to embroil America in another Middle-Eastern war if the Syria conflagration spreads as a result of a US strike.
The US and its allies have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own people near the capital, Damascus but Syria has vehemently ruled out any involvement in the false flag operation by the foreign-backed militants fighting against the Syrian army.
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