Update Report in Word • PDF Expected Council Action Security Council members seem likely to intensify the discussions on Libya this week.
Some lawmakers have raised the legal question in the hope of stopping the war on principle, while others view the argument as a useful partisan critique of the president’s leadership.
The report is unlikely, as a result, to appease all congressional leaders concerned about Obama’s strategy in Libya and the rising cost of the war, one of three the administration is fighting at a time of severe fiscal strain at home.
The Obama administration argued Wednesday that its nearly three-month-old military involvement in Libya does not require congressional approval because of the supporting role most U. forces are playing there, a position that puts it at odds with some Republican leaders and the antiwar wing of its own party.
The White House reasoning, included in a 32-page report to Congress, is the administration’s first detailed response to complaints from lawmakers of both parties, who say President Obama has exceeded his authority as commander in chief by waging war in Libya without congressional authorization.
It issued a statement which noted Libyan authorities’ use of military aircraft, mortars and heavy weaponry against civilians and called on the Security Council to impose a no-fly zone.
The statement rejected foreign intervention and indicated that failure to take appropriate action now to end the crisis would lead to such intervention in internal Libyan affairs.
There is little doubt that the Syrian regime has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against its own people over the last two years. policy makers and other supporters of the strikes have advanced the NATO air campaign in Kosovo in 1999, undertaken to prevent a potential Serb slaughter of ethnic Albanians, as a precedent that would justify intervention in Syria under that principle.
If it is proven that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in the attack last week, that would constitute a separate and grave violation of international law. But the principle of humanitarian intervention and R2P are not yet established law, and the Kosovo intervention is generally recognized as having been unlawful.
In addition the statement called for communication and cooperation with the Benghazi-led Interim Council, said the Qaddafi-regime had lost its legitimacy, urged humanitarian assistance and that the Arab League would continue coordination with the UN, the AU, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and the EU.
On 11 March UN Special Envoy Abdul Ilah Khatib was set to leave New York immediately for Tripoli to assess the situation on the ground accompanied by UN humanitarian officials and staff from the Department of Political Affairs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
There has been insufficient analysis, by both policy makers and the media, of the legality of the looming use of military force against Syria. But this not only ignores a key factor, but is rather paradoxical given that one of the primary justifications for the strikes is that they are to punish the Syrian government for its violations of international law.