I am not sure that even we fully appreciate just how far the United States has fallen with respect to our actions on the world stage. It is easier to see from the outside, or by people who have worked in international relations for some time. The people with such experience, United States diplomats, have new concerns that the International Criminal Court in The Hague could charge the U.S. government, and its leadership, with crimes against humanity for the Syrian decision.
Richard Engle might be the most respected reporter in the United States, especially when it comes to international relations. He is not a hothead flamethrower. His tweet carries serious weight. Notice the all-caps.
US officials tell me ALARM BELL RINGING among diplomats in DC that U.S. could one day be held responsible for Crimes Against Humanity for ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds by opening the door to it, watching it, encouraging it (Trump's tweets and statements) and not stopping it.
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) October 19, 2019
We already know that the ceasefire was not a ceasefire by any definition. Moreover, if the Kurds fight back for land that is rightfully theirs, the ethnic cleansing will begin in full, Turkey will not be denied, not without force. We have also heard Trump support Erdogan’s need to “clean out” the area, often used as code to remove an entire people.
The standard is straightforward:
Article 16 of the International Articles of State Responsibility
"A State which aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act by the latter is internationally responsible for doing so…" pic.twitter.com/3ePHkzF9Ud
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) October 19, 2019
A prosecutor need only prove that Trump withdrew our troops to curry favor from Erdogan or Putin, that it resulted in ethnic cleansing, and the U.S. did it knowing that ethnic cleansing could occur. Even without ethnic cleansing, credible accusations of war crimes have been made already and attributed to Erdogan-controlled mercenary armies that have crossed over into Syria.
We have also documented the possibility that Trump did this to clear Kurds from their oil-rich provinces. The motive – especially if it arises out of a desire to control oil – would be highly relevant to any criminal charge. These accusations come from people inside the diplomatic community in Washington, they must have a significant and legitimate worry. Engle has spent too much time building his reputation to let tweets fly without a substantive basis.
Moreover, the international community already had reason to look into charges against the Trump administration. Trump and Stephen Miller separated children from parents, which resulted in serious problems reuniting families. The child-separation policy alone could form the basis for charges under international law. Additionally, aiding and abetting the murder of a journalist, Jamal d Khashoggi could also be considered actionable.
However, no prior accusation rises to the seriousness of the Syrian situation. Without significant change to the dynamic, mass killings seem more likely than not. It remains to be seen whether the international community has the will and strength to charge U.S. government officials. It is equally true that the U.S. might not allow a citizen, a former president, to be taken out of the U.S. to face the charges. There was a point in time when Dick Cheney was afraid to leave the United States, fearing arrest in Canada and extradition to The Hague to face charges arising out of the U.S. torture policy.
It remains to be seen. However, the fact that charges would even be considered is telling on multiple levels. We used to be the good guys, and yet the U.S. would have no real defense if Turkey were to wipe out the Kurds, especially if Trump did it for self-gain.
This is just all so awful, and here we sit. Watching the world burn. God help the Kurds, we certainly won’t.
I will leave you with a quote from John F. Kennedy:
The United States seeks a world in which the weak are safe and the strong are just.
How far we’ve fallen.
UPDATE: I am in a rage, because I see stuff like this, and it should enrage any human being. War crimes.
UPDATE: Trump’s Atrocities: Turkey’s alleged use of white phosphorus munitions against Kurdish civilians has triggered an @amnesty International inquiry into war crimes. The UN is also looking into the ongoing Trump-made atrocity. Report by @charliecbs pic.twitter.com/yplwshcdoc
— Christopher Alberto (@ChrisAlbertoLaw) October 19, 2019
UPDATE x2: I suggest we take the man seriously, and literally:
Turkey's Erdogan vows to 'crush heads' of Kurdish fighters https://t.co/AwuW2CShj7
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) October 19, 2019
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