President Michael D Higgins was right when he criticised the Turkish military intervention in Syria: “I am appalled by any possibility of coercion or forced returns of refugees and underline, in the strongest terms, that any attempt at demographic change is not acceptable.”
Civilians have been killed and there are reports of Kurdish prisoners being executed. This military action by Turkey is in breach of the UN Charter, but Turkey is not alone in disregarding international laws.
While the US has been criticised for betraying the Kurdish people, far more serious is that the US and its allies,especially EU members Britain and France, have been waging wars of aggression not only in Syria, but also in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, all in contravention of UN Charter Article 2.4, which states:
They are also in contravention of Nuremberg Principle VI: “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law: (a) Crimes against peace: (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression…”.
The US, Britain, and France, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, have special responsibility to uphold international laws, yet they are abusing their powers of veto, so as to ignore and abuse the rule of international law.
The peoples of the Middle East, and the people of Syria, especially, have suffered far too much. It’s time to stop making war and make peace, instead.
This reader's opinion was first published in the print edition of The Irish Examiner on 16 October 2019