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February 05, 2006

Can Bush Now Legally Invade Syria?

An interesting side-effect of the Danish cartoon affair might be the invasion of Syria by U.S. forces.  As you can read in this CNN article, the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Damascus were burned down by angry mobs on Sunday. 

Now, depending on the level of (passive) involvement by the Syrian regime, one could make the case this is an act of war.  And since Norway and Denmark are both NATO members, Bush can invoke article V of the NATO charter that says an attack on one member state is an attack against all of them...

Presto!  Legal casus belli... and no need to find further justifications in hidden WMD's, terror sponsoring or the need for 'regime change'.  Just point the tanks in Baghdad to Damascus and start driving...

Far fetched?  You bet.  Unlikely?  Probably. But would it hold up under 'international law'?  Not so sure about that.  But then again, that's the fun of blogging: you just make stuff up as you go and count on the commenters to flesh it out...


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Why yes as he can do with Iran any time he or any other American President chooses. And if Syria gave aid to Hezbollah back in the bombings of the US Embassy in Beirut, well, such is the inheritance of that state.

(My posting on that here: http://ajacksonian.blogspot.com/2006/01/no-statute-of-limitations.html as typepad may not be taking it in.)


Much as I wish you were correct, Article V applies only to attacks on NATO members in Europe and the United States. NATO invoked it in 2001, because the attacks in New York and Washington fell within the definition. Unfortunately, the attacks in Syria and Lebanon give Denmark a casus belli, but there is no opportunity to leverage the NATO treaty.

As I said, much as I wish it were possible.

but wait

embassies are, by definition, territory of their nation.


"embassies are, by definition, territory of their nation"

Not arguing the point, and if somebody attacked the Danish embassy in, say, Washington or London Article V would apply. But that doesn't change the fact that the attack has to be in Europe or the North America. This is on purpose. Otherwise, small European powers would be obligated to rise to the defense of American, British or French interests in far-flung places. This is why Britain did not invoke Article V when Argentina occupied the Falklands, for instance.


Do you really believe Bush is that dumb, and callous about our troop's lives? I bet if those three thousand lives were lost in Paris instead of in NY, he would have sent his deepest regrets to Chirac and declared solidarity with the French people.

Julian Morrison

It might be a technical casus belli, but it's still the sorriest, weakest excuse since one man's asassination torched off WW1.

I'm certain GWB doesn't want to have to invade Syria. He'd far prefer to undermine it, isolate it strategically, and have the government collapse in a popular "velvet revolution". Invasion is a tool of last resort.

Javier Marti

You may want to read one of my last posts
"Why the western world cannot defeat terrorism"
I am being shot by all sides for it
Maybe you want to join the shooting ;) or perhaps you can see what I mean with it.
I don`t agree with people imposing on othe people anything.
I think it is wrong. But how do we go to stop it and what is the cost?



Pointing tanks is, like, sóóóóó 2005.

Faxing crude drawings is new pink, didn't y'know?

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