“Syria. It is illegal to back rebels figthing a legitimate government”


"Syria. It is illegal to back rebels figthing a legitimate government"

Dr. Curtis Doebbler, international Lawyer

Note from Sibialiria.org. Several countries, mostly from the Arab League (dominated by the Gulf kingdoms) and the West, are recognizing the new Coalition of the Syrian opposition, which was born in Doha (Qatar), under the auspices of the Western and Gulf countries.  We asked the international lawyer Curtis Doebbler,a peace and human rights activist, to tell us whether now, it could be legal to provide weapons tho the armed opposition as France seems to ask EU. Here is dr. Doebbler's answer.

"International law does not provide for the recognition of foreign-backed rebels fighting a legitimate government. Although such recognition in itself may not be illegal as recognition is within the domestic discretion of a State, any action taken to support armed rebels' use of force against a legitimate government is illegal and a very serious violation of international. A State supporting violence against another State is responsible under international law for the harm done to the legitimate government and its people. Moreover, all other States in the international community are prohibited from recognizing a situation created by such a serious violation of international law.   

In short, the support of foreign-backed rebels in Syria is illegal because these rebels are using force against a legitimate government.  

The only exception is if the foreign-backed rebels can describe themselves as a national liberation movement. These would have to show that the exercise of their right of self-determination made the use force necessary as the only way to achieve this right. In fact, the foreign-backed rebels have been given many chances to participate in their own governance in Syria and the government remains open to providing greater participation rights.   

Moreover, the foreign-backed rebels do not represent either a clearly defined group in Syria or a majority. They are best described as a proxy for foreign powers seeking to intervene in Syria to change the government. This violates the international legal obligations of States not to interfere in the internal affairs of other States in Article 2 para. 7 of the Charter of the UN, and the prohibition of the use of force in article 2, para. 4 of the same treaty.   

The US has already been found to have violated these legal obligation in 1986 in the Nicaragua Case before the International Court of Justice". 

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