Home / Sezioni / globi / Syria: the pace quickens. But towards what?

facebook-link twitter-link


Registrati alla newsletter di sbilanciamoci.info


Ultimi link in questa sezione

Turni di 12 ore e dormitori, l’Europa di Foxconn sembra la Cina
La vera tragedia europea è la Germania
Redistributing Work Hours
Institutions and Policies
A Finance Minister Fit for a Greek Tragedy?
I dannati di Calais
Are creditors pushing Greece deliberately into default?

Syria: the pace quickens. But towards what?



Evidence of massive civilian casualties in northeastern suburbs of Damascus emerged on Wednesday 21 August. By the weekend, Médecins sans Frontières offered compelling and impartial evidence of the horror – over 3,000 patients presenting symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic agents on the morning of the attack, of whom 355 died. Only five days after the attack, increased activity was reported at the UK Akrotiri air base in Cyprus. Meanwhile there was a UN investigation team in Syria investigating earlier allegations of nerve gas use by both sides; diplomatic pressure, with cooperation from Syria’s allies Russia and Iran, got it access to the new attack sites, though as it started work it was shot at by unidentified snipers.

For many people, the issue of evidence will be the big one, especially after it turned out Iraq didn’t have nuclear weapons after all. The conservative Telegraph is clear that the first condition for approving military action is that it be legal and legitimate, which means the evidence must be unassailable.

It is not clear how far the evidence will go, however. The UN investigation team is there to collect blood and soil samples so as to analyse what happened. But their mandate does not include identifying who did it. At the end of their efforts we may have proof that a horrible crime has been committed but not by whom - even if we think reasonable deduction points one way rather than the other. Reportedly, US analysis of the evidence will be released in the next few days but unless the US has agents on the ground and is willing to go public about them, it’s hard to see in advance what more its evidence will show than the UN’s.

To my mind, however, the evidence is far from the most important part of the story. It is an obvious logical point that if the evidence offers unvarnished and unspun proof of grotesque criminality, that does not mean that any action that follows is therefore justified. The argument will depend not only on the strength of the moral case but also on other factors including what action is planned and with what intended outcome.

Read more