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April 16, 2018

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Mind the perils of trigger-happy foreign policy in the Middle East

THREE Western countries on Saturday once again demonstrated trigger-happy foreign policy by launching airstrikes on Syria based on mere allegations about Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

In cooperation with Britain and France, the United States attacked Syrian military facilities, calling it a response to the alleged gas attack by Syrian troops in the rebel-held town of Douma near Syrian capital Damascus on April 7.

The Syrian government has strongly denied the allegation, which has not been independently investigated and verified. So far, the United States and its allies have not provided any hard evidence to hold Damascus responsible for the alleged gas attack.

The US-led military action against Syria will remind people of a similar attack a year ago, which was also launched under the pretext of punishing the Syrian government for the alleged use of chemical weapons.

The use of chemical weapons should certainly be condemned and dealt with resolutely by the international community. But thorough investigation should precede any punishment and action, especially military ones, to hold those responsible to account. Such actions should first be fully authorized by the United Nations.

Such unauthorized use of force, without a thorough investigation, not only violates the territorial integrity of a sovereign country, but also escalates the tensions in war-torn Syria as well as the Middle East region as a whole.

History shows the dangerous consequences of Western countries’ military interventionist policy which has wreaked havoc time and again in the volatile Middle East, from Iraq to Syria.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the airstrikes on Libya in 2011 both failed to ensure peace and resulted in millions of civilians being killed, wounded and displaced.

Under the UN Charter, any dispute should be settled through dialogue, negotiation and compromise, and all members should refrain from using force against another sovereign nation.


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