The Syrian matter and the burst of the world order

By Jean-Baptiste Beauchard, PhD candidate associated to The Strategic-Research Institute of the French Military Academy (Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire – IRSEM) and to the French Military Academy.

If some people doubted, let them be sure now: the international community doesn’t exist. Only an international system does . The latter is burst, divided, scattered to several enclosures more than ever. The world order is being henceforth spread by multiples literary sets where economical , enviromental and also safety choices are discusssed . The gravity center of this enclosures consists of an international orientations legitimization. Though the syrian matter brings a major innovation : untill now the collective security was , most of the time , the privilege of the United Nations Security Council ( UNSC); thus, this venerable situation was in charge of the collective security , particularly because the United Nations Charter commonly refers to the maintenance of the international peace and security . Unlike what is confirmed here and there , the UNSC is not in charge of respecting the international law but well and truly to what it discretionarly qualifes as a threat or a rupture of this international peace and security .

From then on , reaching to a consensus on what this qualification recovers suppose the transcendence of the possibility of a blockage linked to the veto right .It is easy to critisize the arbitrary of the executive branch of the United Nations but did we think once about what a decision with such instance  might signify without a consensus between great powers that more or less keep the big equilibirums of this world , are they too fragile ?

So , like the Israeli-palestinian matter , the UNSC blocks any adoption of a serious resolution on the syrian matter let us be reminded , because here also  a lot of confusions are made , that we have to distuinguish between the obligatory resolutions and the ones in the chapiter VII. In fact , all UN resolutions are obligatory , except the resolutions under the famous Chapiter VII , are imperative ; which means bindings . Already three sino-russian vetos were opposed to all the imperative resolutions on Syria , and only the 2042 resolution  that authorized the deployement of the UN observers was voted . Also, finding a solution, or rather adopting a consensus as for an answer to bring to the chemical strikes that happened near Damascus the 21st of August rewinded to leaving the UNSC enclosure , marked by the incapactiy of adopting an impreative resolution. Moving apart already the possibility of resorting to The United nations general assembly , that in the past , adopted a binding resolution towards Korea , by-passing somehow the empty chair policy lead at that time by Russia : In fact , The three conditions of the 377 resolution « acheson resolution ) are not united so that the general assembly seize to the Syrian matter .

After deciding to lead the strikes ‘ amercing ‘ the syrian chemical attack , no choice is left for the United States and France but to win the legitimacy of different international enclosures , that only these can provide a more fragile coalition than incertain . From this begins the big world trajectories , From Vilnius to Saint-Pétersbourg passing by Riyad and Cairo . In fact if the UNSC couldn’t give to Paris and Washington the legitimacy that they were looking for in New-York , the European union , the G20,  the Arab league and the Golf Cooperation Council ( GCC ) was to provide it for them , the outcome was reserved because more than a burst of the world order , the syrian matter points up an increasing polarization of the Member states within this diffrent enclosures , in particular among the «  occidental » states . Taking note that the regionalization of the collective security knows serious limits as the incapacity to handle the regional issues by the Arab league shows .

Far than being isolated , the United-States and France never successed to group a coalition larger than discounted , 7 countries from The G8 , 12 countries from the G20 , the whole GCC plus the majority of the Arab League line up along the French-American strikes in Syria .

Because the UN blocking was persistent and that the support of different international enclosures was finally deceiving , the legitimacy issue of the National Parliaments could have came as a substitue to the international legitimacy making partially a defect . The mass being said in Great Britain , the Battle of the Congress begins whereas the French Parliament was simply consulted as the French constituation allows . We can already question the political opportunity to submiss the kingly attribute to the defense of a badly informed elects’vote, eventhough the de-classification in France as well as in The United-States of certain confidential documents. Should we condition the presidential prerogative of peace or war to a parliament ? Fortunately , France dodged the trap, not the United states, so that , as absurd as the situation can be , France became the American Congress Hostage .

Whether it is parliamentary debates or several analysis on the opportunity of such strikes in Syria. None confirmed that the Syrian matter can be just political and not military and that for two years . But does the war not represent the continuity of politics by other means ? Opposing the military action and the political action is a non-sense since one is the extension of the other . The war , the war operations , the « surgical » strikes  are not political actions .

This search of a national legitimacy became , in any case , Serisouly compromised since the mixtures and nonsense due to the excessive syrian complexity that polorized the debate . For the political , only two speeches were possible to justify a military intervention , the first speech consisted of precizing that in the syrian case , there are only bad choices but that the non-action was worse than the action . The progressive disintegration of the country and potentially the region give evidence of the neccesity of seizing this case . The second speech consisted of precizing  that the war paradigms evolve and that as abstract that is , we won’t choose this camp , which would have allowed the extraction from the reducing dialectic opposing the syrian system to the islamist or jihadists rebels . The objective would have been double : re-establish a strategic credit facing the use of chemical arms and creating a power link favouring a change , small as it can be .In this context, we have to recall that the syrian regime understand just the power links , since , in 2005 , that was just thanks to the conjugation of the 1559 resolution ; lebaneses revolts and specially american warship cruised in the large mediterannean coastal range that Bachar Al-Assad had decided to withdraw his troops from Lebanon . In syria , it is actually about the stuggle against the death that the Geneva conferences 1 and 2 won’t change . Once again, only a change in power links will shake up this actual annihilation equilibrium .

It is in sinking quests of legitimacy that Russia has given the a priori masterful card of putting under control the chemical arms of the Syrian regime and to destruct them . This proposition has done more discomfort to the French and American chancelleries than relief . In Fact , while the military intervention is found hostage of the Congress decision more than incertain , the Russians had the advantage to open a « proper » escape door to all the diplomatic negotiations , a door that Paris and Washington had not adjusted . Indisputable success of the Russian maestro for the majority : nevertheless nothing is less certain .

The card played by the Russian diplomacy could indeed turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory for two reasons : the first one is that the American congres seems to be heading straight towards a negative vote that de facto linked President Obama and a fortiori France . The Russians would have also transformed the institutional impasse into a political gain that the French and Americans had sunk in . The Russian proposition moves away this hypothesis even though favorable to its posture . The second reason , more likely and more complex , is  that the Moscou proposition reintroduce the Syrian question in the heart of the UNSC , marginalized under the russian pulse for more than two years . Such is the paradox : the russians that appeared as an obstacle to any UN solution , could become a rampart to a solution that they are nevertheless the origin. Certainly ,an agreement on the principle doesn’t cost on its modalities ; but the Russian propostion risks to turn against Russia itself in the measure that its implementation will be hardly practicable . So, the option of neutralization and of the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons drows aside the military appeal for the moment , but can supply – in the probable case where it won’t succed – the legitimacy that France and the United-States had the difficulty to be equipped with .