As the United States and its Western allies have made it clear they believe the Syrian government used chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus, there is growing speculation that the US might soon launch military action against Syria.
However, without a solid legal basis, any military intervention into Syria would have dire consequences for regional security and violate the norms governing international relations.
By putting the blame on the government before the UN chemical weapons inspectors complete their independent investigations and reach an authentic and credible conclusion, they are acting as judge, jury and executioner. Military strikes by foreign powers will only exacerbate the crisis and could have unforeseen and unwelcome consequences.
Even those who are no fans of the Bashar al-Assad regime must question why the regime would use chemical weapons as government forces have just won the upper hand in the fight against the opposition, and it is clear such a move would be tantamount to suicide.
The international community should exercise patience instead of allowing itself to be led by the nose by US intelligence, which after all was responsible for claiming Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Military action without a UN mandate will further aggravate the situation in Syria and do a disservice to regional peace and stability. Turning Syria into another Libya or even Iraq is the last thing most people around the world want to see.
Ten years ago, the US and its allies sidestepped the UN and orchestrated a forceful regime change in Iraq with the pretext the regime possessed weapons of mass destruction, this should not be allowed to happen again.
Since the Syria crisis erupted two years ago, the US-led West has been maneuvering for a regime change in the country, by hook or by crook. It seems they have a growing interest in implementing the Kosovo model right now.
The maneuvering of Western countries has not only fueled the violence in Syria, it has also sowed the seeds of discord among members of the international community and added to the difficulties confronting those who are making efforts to defuse the crisis peacefully.
Before the crisis takes a turn from bad to worse, it is high time the US learned from its past mistakes and reins in its wild ideas of military intervention in yet another country.
(China Daily 08/29/2013 page8)