Humanitarian intervention is generally comprehended to be a trans-border application of military force so as to stop or avoid large-scale and serious human distress, and is a matter that has attracted much intellectual attention in the recent years. Humanitarian intervention has been met with critics from some quarters; the biggest one was the intervention of Bush government in Iraq. The current situation in Syria has also been met with various interjections towards Obama’s proposed military intervention. This paper analyzes whether President Obama’s proposed armed forces action in Syria could be legal under the U.S. domestic regulation or not. Evidently, it is hard to fully evaluate the legality of any state’s application of force until people know the accurate factual conditions under which it opts to take action.  It would be helpful if legal question surrounding the situation is proper distinguished (Ramesh, 2011). The legal question seeks to answer whether the option of military force is accessible under international or domestic law. This research paper seeks to attain the policy question - would it be wise to employ military force in Syria for the inadequate purpose of discouraging a replicate use of chemical weapons or not.  Obviously, no one denies that the policy question gives a difficult judgment call, even if the proposed utilization were very restricted and even if a leader such as President Obama had far more knowledge or information than that accessible to the general public. Leaders are always faced with daunting tasks to make the best out of a difficult situation, and thus I agree with the intervention proposal, though proper facts must be attained prior to execution.

Historical Background of the Conflict

The key argument for the legitimacy of the use of military in Syria would be humanitarian intervention. It is the argument that states that Nations may employ force abroad to avert a humanitarian upheaval or to discontinue widespread human rights mistreatment. This argument is the source of international conflict associated with humanitarian interventions. It seems quite obvious that this is not a correct reflection of international regulation as it currently stands. The main predicament with this conflict is that there is a very slight state support for the perception that international regulation permits the States to apply military intervention in other states on humanitarian grounds. The paper analyzes this conflict from Bush administration intervention in Iraq (2003) and current Obama’s dilemma in his proposal of military intervention in Syria.

CIA Factbook

CIA factbook emphasizes the origin of humanitarian intervention conflicts. To assist in analyzing the background information concerning the stability of the Syria situation, it is necessary to evaluate history (Gross, 2013). According to CIA fact, Syria has had boundary issues due to lack of a treaty or other documentation demarcating the boundary; sections of the Lebanon-Syria border are unclear, with numerous portions being in dispute. The country has been a warzone for many years, and the latest incidents forced the international nations to propose military intervention on humanitarian grounds. However, this has met international conflict since some of the nations do not agree with President Obama’s military intervention. CIA factbook reveals that the international conflict is brought about by reports insinuating that events in Syria are the outcome of another 'people's revolution'; the claims point obviously to yet another US federal-sponsored bloody regime revolution. This has led to a different take on the issue, making China and Russia veto against the move. The situation is likened with the Bush Iraq case that also met international condemnation (Gross, 2013).

Many suppose the official start of the precedent two years of Syrian instability was the conception of a Facebook column in March 2011. That page urged Syrian civilians to rebel, which many considered were anti-humanitarian actions committed by the administration under President Assad. As anxieties increased, the government experienced pressure from the international nations to attain a peaceful resolution. The Europe and the U.S. advocated for severe sanctions against the country if the violence persisted. Al-Quaida backed the anti-Assad insurgents in what several experts consider was an act premeditated to improve the group’s status in the Arab nations. The Syrian government would apply the incorporation to support its claims that the revolution was just the operation of “terrorists”. The hostility continued to spread. Government aircrafts bombed civilian regions such as bread lines, and rebels retaliated by launching counter-attacks against government administrators. This situation worsened when the government was blamed for using chemical weapons against rebels targets. This situation required a humanitarian intervention.

Statements from the White House and the State Department

The President of the U.S. through state department defended the proposed military intervention in Syria. The popular-revolution-twisted-armed-rebellion in Syria is in its third consecutive year, and likely poised to persist, with the administration and a collection of militias engaged in a bloody thrash about of attrition. Administration officials and the members of Congress have debated options for reacting militarily to President Bashar al Asad’s armed forces’ documented use of chemical armaments in the attacks on rebel-held regions and civilians (Moubayed, 2011). The U.S. intelligence agency concluded that Asad’s administration utilized weapons in restricted attacks earlier this year; the Obama government had indicated a pending extension of the U.S. civilian and military support to the rebels. President Obama and his state department have been seeking for Asad’s step down since late 2011, and have pushed the United Nations Security Council to denounce the Syrian administration. The United States has acknowledged the Opposition Forces (SC) and National Coalition of Revolution as justifiable representatives of the Syrian citizens and has offered nonlethal support to the Coalition and an allied Supreme Military Council (SMC) (Moubayed, 2011).

The international standard against the employment of chemical weapons is universal and longstanding.  The use of chemical armaments threatens the safety of people far and wide (Gareth, 2008).  Left unconcealed, it augments the risk of extra use and proliferation of such weapons. The United States statements regarding Syria case stated that a thorough review had been done and the case reminded them of the experience with Iraq. The statement declared that the US government knew where the weapons come from and the targeted regions. The proposed humanitarian intervention was reached after a thorough investigation. The statement revealed that only the Assad regime had chemical weapon capability in the entire Middle East. International conflict that is created regarding the Syria case is due to differences in international laws and domestic laws concerning humanitarian intervention (Moubayed, 2011).

Theoretical Positions

This essay discusses how international associations’ theories, realism and liberalism, can clarify states’ actions to humanitarian catastrophes. The paper analyzes whether nations’ responses to the disasters transformed before and after the R2P (responsibility to protect) was approved at the World Convention in 2005 (Cooper & Voi?nov, 2009).

Conventional View - Liberalism

Liberalism is a political doctrine that takes enhancing and protecting the freedom of the people to be the fundamental problem of politics (Rawls, 2005). Liberals characteristically suppose that administration is essential to protect individuals from being debilitated by others; but they also acknowledge that administration itself can pose a danger to liberty. Liberals believe that the universal state of world governance is globalization. States are and have constantly been entrenched in a local and transnational civilization, which generates incentives for financial, social and cultural dealings across borders. State guiding principle may facilitate or obstruct such interactions. Some domestic parties may profit from or be debilitated by such policies, and they force government consequently for policies that enforce realization of their objectives. These social demands, transmitted via domestic political organizations, define state preferences; that is, the series of substantive social objectives that encourage foreign policy. State preferences offer administrations an underlying chance in the international matters they face. Liberals consider that state preferences should not be reduced to some easy metric or preference sequencing, such as obtaining security or wealth (Rawls, 2005). Most current states are not simple: they involve security or independence in order to attain other ends, or just to save finances. Nor do contemporary states consistently seek wealth. Instead, these nations rather strike multifaceted and varied trade-offs among financial, social and political objectives.

The most important argument for the legality of the employment of force in Syria would be humanitarian intervention. It is the argument that supports that Nations may employ force abroad to avert a humanitarian upheaval or to discontinue widespread human rights mistreatment. This argument is the source of international conflict associated with humanitarian interventions. It could appear that this is not a precise reflection of international regulation as it currently stands (Rawls, 2005).

Alternative Theories

Realism is another theory that is applicable in humanitarian intervention consideration. One of the suppositions of neoclassical realism is that all human beings naturally seek to boost their power. The power-seeking nature of a human generates a situation where statesmen strive for authority over other nations. Politics is a scramble for an authority over people; the modes of obtaining, sustaining, and demonstrating it establishes the technique of political activity (Holzgrefe, 2005). In international political affairs, states are constantly concerned about countrywide interests such as wealth and security. To protect their welfares, intervention could be an alternative. Unlike neoclassical realism, which is stressing on the human personality, neorealism concentrates on a lawless international organization, in which there is no fundamental authority that controls international politics (Jackson & S?rensen, 2012).  Kenneth Waltz argues that in a self-assistance international organization, the state’s foreign strategy is determined considering its state interests.  States incessantly make attempts to protect their interests and to assure their survival, since in the self-help structure, no one can be expected to execute it for them.  To recapitulate, classical neorealism concentrates on power-seeking people’s nature, whereas neorealism concentrates on a chaotic international system. Despite of their diverse focuses, both threads shed light on countries’ national interests and their longing to increase authority (Jackson & S?rensen, 2012).


Transnationalism as an experience and a theory raises normative queries on nation states, its remarkable power and deeds. It raises cultural and institutional questions with the view of mobilization of participants and organizations (NGOs Human Rights). It also presents juridical questions largely on how transnationalism provides new potency to the national query and becomes a venture of legitimacy in the international organization. This is a theory that advocates for humanitarian interventions in crisis (Ben & Sternberg, 2009).

This paper presents an outline of the idea of humanitarian intervention regarding the consequentialist ethical theory which maintains that procedures should be ethically judged based on their outcomes and a case research on the humanitarian intervention. The case study (Syria chemical weapon case) presents the emphasis of the U.S intervention, which will be assessed from a consequentialist viewpoint, showing whether the involvement was ethically acceptable by considering its consequence for the Syrian people, and also for the other parties involved. Consequentialism is a moral theory, which states that the wrongness or rightness of activities relies on their outcomes, not on their objective or motivation. Furthermore, the ideas of what is right and good are defined separately of each other, the good being a preferred end state, while right or wrong being the activities that are considered based on the results that direct to an end state (Darwall, 2002).

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Utilitarianism is another theory that has manifold versions as well, but the two key ones are rule-utilitarianism and act-utilitarianism. Rule-utilitarianism offers rules that if adhered to determine beneficial outcomes, concentrating more on regulations of behavior than on specific activities, while act-utilitarianism affirms that the option of action must be made on the computation of which brings the maximum contentment in terms of its consequences (Scarre, 1996). However, utilitarian perceptions and therefore the conseqentialist hypothesis have been disparaged by other ethical theorists, mainly by the ones known as non–consequatialists. The non-consequentialist strategy states the sense of duty stipulates the ethical choice, meaning that judgments are being determined by a concept of what is the rightful thing to execute rather than by their outcomes. In fact, non-consequentialists assert that responsibilities must be adhered to regardless of the outcomes (Darwall, 2002).

Humanitarian Intervention or Humanitarian Imperialism

Humanitarian intervention and the privilege to guard evoke the unappreciated white supremacist supposition that the international community, read as the administrations of the colonialist/capitalist West, has a responsibility and a right to detain, bomb, attack, prosecute, sanction, assassinate and violate international regulation anywhere on the globe to “save” individuals based on its own values and determinations. This has been broadly considered the source of international conflict surrounding humanitarian interventions. In this case, the U.S. proposed move is subjected to this international critic due to perceptions of other nations and individuals (Bricmont, 2006).

Data from Bricmont

According to data from Bricmont, since the end of the Cold War, the initiative of human privileges has been done into a justification for involvement by the world’s most influential economic and military authorities, above all, the U.S, in nations that are susceptible to their attacks (Bricmont, 2006). The strategies for such intrusion have become more random and convenient and their structure more negative, from Afghanistan to Yugoslavia to Iraq. Up to the U.S. attack in Iraq, the large portions of the left were frequently complicit in this philosophy of intervention, discerning new Hitlers as the necessity arose and disapproving antiwar discussions as conciliation on the replica of Munich in 1938. Jean Bricmont’s Humanitarian Imperialism is equally a chronological account of this expansion and an influential political and ethical critique. It needs to re-establish the assessment of imperialism to its equitable place in the protection of human rights (Bricmont, 2006). It depicts the leading function of the United States in starting military and other intrusion, but also on the understandable support provided to it by European authorities and NATO. It summarizes an alternative strategy to the issues of human rights, founded on the genuine acknowledgment of the identical rights of individuals in poor and rich countries.

Data from Cartalucci

According to Cartalucci, the U.S. has also participated in clandestine operation targeted at Iran and its collaborator, Syria. A side-effect of these actions has been the boosting of Sunni extremist organizations that adopt a militant hallucination of Islam and are antagonistic to America and understanding to Al Qaeda. According to the data extracted for Cartalucci, the humanitarian intervention was a method of the West to enforce imperialisms in Syria (Cerf & Sifry, 2003). Reports extracted from the U.S. chemical weapon states that it had low casualty cases compared to other weapons. On this basis, Cartalucci argues that the Syrian administration used chemical weapons and, in one way or another, was capable to generate the perfect conditions to create mass fatalities; they did so exclusively to produce a repugnant civilian death toll and the ideal alleged reason for Western intervention, knowing well such armaments would be otherwise ineffective in battling with an armed organization. Syria's chemical armaments would most probably be under the security device and a key of its most influential forces, as shown in Iran and exposed in a RAND Corporation paper, which would denote that their application was permitted by the highest position members of the Syrian administration and military (Cerf & Sifry, 2003). This would be the similar government and armed forces that shown unlimited restraint against deliberate and coordinated intervention carried out by NATO-partner Turkey and their local partner, Israel - self-control exhibited exclusively to avoid giving the West with the excuse for direct military intervention. The conflict regarding humanitarian intervention is broad and generally about super power.

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Recent “Humanitarian” Interventions (Particularly Libya)

The events that created what was afterward known as the Arab Spring in the Middle East and Northern Africa spread rebellions and uprisings to Libya. The citizens revolted against the administrators, against the governments, and against their domination. But they got reprisal and vicious assaults to restrain their actions from the martial and the armed forces loyal to the tyrant. If in other nations, such as Yemen or Bahrain, the leaders’ acts against their citizens were restricted, in Libya, the leader Muammar Qadhafi opted to show no compassion to any civilian who united or helped the revolts (Shimko, 2013). The idea of humanitarian intervention has various facets and it is in an ever-transforming process, and one of the perspectives that have encouraged its course is the query whether this kind of third-party involvement is moral or not. Furthermore, from an ethical viewpoint, there is more than one hypothesis through which the idea can be analyzed, but one which appears the most pertinent for the Libyan situation is the consequentialist theory. The consequentialist moral theory views situations and actions through the environment of their effects (Darwall, 2002).

The standard of “Responsibility to protect” was enacted in 2005 by the United Nations and stated that states have a duty to protect their citizen (Cooper & Voi?nov, 2009), but also that if a nation would fail to implement that, the international community would be capable to take various actions. The moral reasons debated for the humanitarian involvement in Libya were to guard civilians from the invasion or a threat of invasions from the administration controlled military. However, there is a critical argument among experts whether these debates were real and if the outcomes they considered for all the parties affected, particularly for the Libyan citizens, were worth starting it.

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Current Non-Interventions (Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, and others)

The non-interventions in various regions have led to various human rights abuses. The West, however, is frequently mistaken in its viewpoints of where its welfares lie. It considered that, if other states adopt the values of democracy and liberty, the universe will be safer for America and Europe. If states also embrace neoliberal financial sides, accept international investment and lower trade obstacles, it would be better. Indeed, to the majority of Western politicians of both left and right, free markets and democracy are more or less inseparable. This was as factual in the Balkans (Middle East), where a Greater Serbia, associated with associate Slavs in Russia, was regarded a threat to EU ambitions of economic supremacy (leadership) in the East of the universe (Brehony, 2011).

The Obama’s new war is basically fueled by diverse perceptions that nations and individuals associate humanitarian interventions. Like in the Bush times, Obama must soldier on with the plan to rescue Syria citizens. This conflict is similar with what Bush faced during Iraq case, thus international conflicts regarding humanitarian interventions must be addressed amicably to solve human rights abuses. The idea of humanitarian intervention has various facets; it is in an ever-transforming process, and one of the perspectives that have encouraged its course is the query whether this kind of third-party involvement is moral or not. Furthermore, from an ethical viewpoint, there is more than one hypothesis through which the idea can be analyzed, but one which appears the most pertinent for the Syrian situation is the consequentialist theory. The consequentialist moral theory views situations and actions through the environment of their effects.

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