Did the United States cover up the airstrikes in Syria? What does ICC mean for Israel?

The dust has not yet settled after the impressive New York Times exposure this weekend of a series of US airstrikes against an ISIS camp in Baghuz, Syria, on March 18, 2019, that may have killed dozens of civilians.

But the smell is horrible and accusations of war crimes and a cover-up are in the air.

Of course, there are big differences between emotional reactions and legal analysis when it comes to the tragic slaughter of civilians amid the fog of war.

If the narrative provided by official U.S. spokespersons about the incident is accurate, it is possible that there was no war crime.

According to the claims of the US defense establishment, there was an imminent attack on the allies of the Syrian Democratic Forces who desperately needed air cover.

ISIS had unleashed a counterattack from their camp that included a mix of armed attackers and mobile suicide bombers.

Furthermore, large numbers of civilians had fled in anticipation of further US attacks on one of the few remaining strongholds of ISIS. So those who stayed were seen as very tough.

There are even some unclear reports of armed women and children.

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa on June 29, 2014. The al Qaeda branch that has captured swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself a Islamic ‘Caliphate’ and asked factions around the world to pledge their allegiance, to st (credit: REUTERS / STRINGER)

If US Special Task Force Nine, which dropped large, non-precision bombs on the camp, killing nearly everyone, including up to 60 civilians along with two dozen ISIS fighters, you wouldn’t know how many civilians still they were there, arguing for war crimes would be difficult.

The problem is, there are several high-ranking US legal officials who say the official account has been redacted as a cover-up.

Furthermore, the report suggests that a larger number of US legal officials had been studying a long series of incidents in which task force nine allegedly edited their reports to use terms to try to trick lawyers into leaving them alone. .

According to critical internal US legal officials from task force nine, they did not use the best drone coverage intelligence available to check for civilians.

Additionally, task force nine had a history of adding details to their reports, such as that armed ISIS members were spotted by drones, when subsequent reviews of drone coverage showed no such thing.

This is a completely different angle that Israel has generally not addressed.

AN EXTERNAL VIEW of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  (credit: PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW / REUTERS)AN EXTERNAL VIEW of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. (credit: PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW / REUTERS)

There are always discussions about whether or not Israel committed war crimes when it conducts air strikes against Hamas while the terror group fires rockets at Israeli civilians.

But generally, the legal struggle is whether Israel should have had better intelligence to deter potential collateral damage to civilians near Hamas operatives.

No recent complaints included IDF lawyers accusing IDF commanders of “tampering with the books” to make the illegal attacks appear legal.

This is probably what makes the Baghuz incident one of a kind in terms of severity.

According to internal critics of US legal officials, a criminal investigation was not even carried out.

Certainly, since 2009, Israel has conducted legal investigations of any incident in which Palestinian civilians were allegedly killed, even if critics may say the investigations are insufficient.

Part of what’s so shocking about the allegations is the 2015 Kunduz incident in which the United States admitted to accidentally killing dozens of civilians when it bombed a hospital.

While to uninitiated ears, Kunduz and Baghuz may sound terrifyingly similar, there are three different critical facts that frame them completely differently.

Kunduz happened under the Obama administration, he was in Afghanistan and was widely covered by Doctors Without Borders who had staff on the ground.

Baghuz happened under the Trump administration, it was in Syria and no one survived or anyone who did was linked to ISIS in any way.

Israel’s supporters have a lot of criticism for the Obama administration, but there is no question that it emphasized a high level of scrutiny of the airstrikes.

In contrast, many supporters of Israel liked the Trump administration’s support for Jerusalem globally, but there is also little doubt that it downplayed the scrutiny of airstrikes and that the upper echelons weren’t terribly concerned about the laws of Jerusalem. war.

Trump himself repeatedly threatened actions related to bombing or torture that most international lawyers would have considered flagrant war crimes, and there are now many records of senior American commanders who have had to prevent him from receiving such orders.

The Americans and the world may care little about Afghanistan, but there was still more media and human rights presence there than in Syria, where ISIS set out to massacre those people.

A response rejecting a criminal investigation in the Times The report emphasizes that such polls only occur when the media and world attention will receive significant attention.

Kunduz was in the public arena and couldn’t be ignored. No one heard from Baghuz until this weekend.

After all this, the obvious conclusion for Israel is that it makes its investigation system seem far superior to the American system, at least to what happened between January 2017 and January 2021.

But the new ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, recently decided to approve the US torture allegations in Afghanistan and appears willing to approve other Russian accusations essentially due to lack of resources or ability to prosecute those parties.

Israel asserts that the ICC should not prosecute it on sound legal and moral grounds.

However, if the ICC chooses not to go after Jerusalem because of more practical concerns, and because going after Israel while leaving the US In some of these disturbing incidents would seem like outright discrimination, the IDF will likely take that as a victory as well.


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