09/04/2013, 00.00
SYRIA-UN-USA
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Obama prepares to strike Syria. The UN holds back

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution for the use of force against Damascus. Public opinion in the United States is 60% against it. Ban Ki-moon recalled that a military action is licit if it is approved by the Security Council of the UN. In Syria there is the worst crisis of refugees in the last 20 years.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate has prepared a resolution in which there is the approval for the use of force against Syria, which is blamed for having used chemical weapons. The draft of the resolution will be voted on next week and establishes a period of 60 days for military action while excluding the sending of troops on Syrian soil. John Kerry, the Secretary of State, and Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense, also participated in the committee meeting.

Kerry stated that there are "undeniable" proofs about the responsibility of Assad in the chemical attack of last August 21 and that it was time to intervene rather than being "spectators to slaughter." Hagel has stressed that, "A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America's other security commitments, including the president's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."

According to analysts, it is not very probably that the desire of Barack Obama to intervene could be stopped by a vote in Congress, but 60% of  American public opinion is not convinced about military action. Various newspapers have published a photo (see above) of some years ago when Kerry was talking to Bashar Assad at a time when he was considered to be a friend in making peace with Israel and especially in opposing the policy of George W. Bush.

In Europe there is French President Francois Hollande, who however made it clear that if the United States does not intervene, France would not take action on its own.

In a meeting with journalists in New York, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon suggested to the United States to use caution and above all to follow international law: "Everything should be handled within the framework of the United Nations Charter." He added, "The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and, or when the Security Council approves such action." He also said that, "We must consider the impact of any punitive measure on efforts to prevent further bloodshed and facilitate the political resolution of the conflict."

Among observers it is thought that a military action of the US against Syrian plants for the production of chemical arms would also cause the death of many civilians who live in the area. Moreover, as had been stressed by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, even a brief targeted attack would risk creating a regional and world-wide war if Israel and Iran become involved.

The conflict in Syria has already made more than 100 thousand dead, mostly civilians, and created more than 2 million refugees and four million internally displaced persons within the country. According to the UN, this is the worst refugee crisis in 20 years after the one which followed the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

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