Israel attacks Sudan in flagrant violation of international law; U.S. does nothing

(Developing story)

Israel has bombed a munitions factory in Sudan, in flagrant violation of international law, and the United States is silent. Article 2 paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter sets forth the most important rule of international law, as follows,

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Article 51 of the U.N. Charter establishes,

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The International Court of Justice has confirmed, in the case of Nicaragua v. the United States (1986), that the supply of weapons, absent direction and control, does not constitute an “armed attack” justifying the use of of force in exercise of the right of self defense.

The attack follows Mitt Romney’s assertion that America will always have Israel’s back, and won’t allow daylight to pass between Israel and the U.S. and their positions.

There is no need to be cute regarding the fact that Israel was the author of the attack. Among the countries that had a possiblle motive for the attack, only Israel (or the U.S.) has the ability to block out communications an hour before the attack and then to hit a target with pinpoint accuracy. The visit of the emir of Qatar to Hamas-controlled Gaza days before the attack suggests a possible motive. In any event, Israeli officials speaking on background were pretty clear in intimating that Israel was responsible for the bombing, which the Israeli government has not denied.

The failure of the international community to respond to this “stealth attack” will encourage Israel and other counties to feel as if they can use force against other countries with impunity.

The attack fits within a pattern by which the U.S. has used force against “the territorial intefrity and political independence” of other states through its drone attacks in countries far-removed from the Afghanistan war theater, under secret conditions and a vague claim that the attacks are justified as self-defense. This claim is based on an international law argument that would never withstand scrutiny by independent international lawyers or tribunals outside the United States.

The attack on Sudan must be viewed as a case of testing the waters to gage potential reactions to a future attack on Iran, which both Israel and the United States are threatening to carry out if Iran does not abandon or limit by agreement its uranium recycling progam.

If the world does not react to the Sudan attack, the road will be open for an attack on Iran.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, The Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, The Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.