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5 Feb, 2024 23:41

US ‘threatens peace’ in the Middle East – Russia

The Pentagon’s strikes in Syria and Iraq are illegal under international law, Moscow’s envoy has told the UN
US ‘threatens peace’ in the Middle East – Russia

Washington is fanning the flames of conflicts in the Middle East by conducting unlawful strikes in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia has said. 

Russia has requested an urgent session of the UN Security Council after the US carried out airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in response to a drone attack on an American military outpost in Jordan. 

The bombings have “once again demonstrated the aggressive nature of US policy in the Middle East and Washington’s complete disregard for the norms of international law,” Nebenzia said during the UNSC meeting in New York on Monday.

The Russian diplomat argued that the US is “pouring gasoline on the fire” by conducting strikes that pose “a direct threat to international peace and security” and undermine “the central role of the UN.” He reiterated that US bases in Syria are “illegal” because American military presence has not been authorized by Damascus. 

Addressing the Security Council, US Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs Robert Wood said that the strikes were “necessary and proportionate, consistent with international law, and in exercise of the United States’ inherent right to self-defense.” 

On January 28, a kamikaze drone hit a US outpost known as Tower 22 near the Jordanian-Syrian border. Three American soldiers were killed. Islamic Resistance in Iraq – an umbrella group for Islamist Shia militias – claimed responsibility for the attack.  

The White House accused Iran of masterminding attacks on US personnel. Tehran denied the allegations, insisting that the militias are acting independently, and target US soldiers because of Washington’s continuing support for Israel during the war with Hamas in Gaza.

The US and UK have also been hitting Houthi sites in Yemen in response to Shia militants’ drone and missile attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The Houthis have vowed to continue targeting the ships until a permanent ceasefire is declared in Gaza. The US, meanwhile, has promised to continue to protect the “freedom of navigation that serves as the bedrock of global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”