Secretary of State John Kerry is in Saudi Arabia, where he announced that 10 Arab nations including Iraq have signed on to support the fight against the Islamic State. Kerry’s announcement comes a day after President Obama announced that the US would build a coalition for the fight, but would not seek congressional approval and apparently will not seek any authorization from the United Nations.
President George W. Bush sought both congressional and UN approval, and won both, and built a coalition of some 40 nations for the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Kerry and Obama, then in the Senate, described Bush’s actions as “going it alone.”
Russia has reacted to Obama’s speech, with a warning, according to the BBC.
Russia has warned that US air strikes against militants in Syria would be a “gross violation” of international law.
A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said any such action, without the backing of the UN, would be “an act of aggression”.
“The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against Isil (IS) positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was quoted as saying.
“This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.”
Syria also repeated its warning that the US had to co-ordinate with the Syrian government before launching air strikes on its territory.
“Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria,” National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said on Thursday.
If anyone knows about acts of aggression and violations of international law, it would be Russia.
Russia’s announced position all but forecloses any UN Security Council action on ISIS, as Russia holds a permanent seat and veto power. Russia is one of Syrian dictator Assad’s few allies.
China has yet to weigh in one way or the other.
Kerry is working on plans to train the Free Syrian Army rebels on Saudi soil, despite the fact that the FSA is working with ISIS.