Back   OpEdNews
Font
PageWidth
Original Content at
https://www.opednews.com/articles/Expelling-Diplomats-underm-by-Franklin-Lamb-120608-355.html
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

June 10, 2012

Expelling Diplomats undermines the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and needlessly endangers Americans

By Franklin P. Lamb

The civilized world kicking out Syrian diplomats was to be the thin reed of straw that would certainly break the camel's back in Damascus' Presidential Palace.

::::::::

Expelling Diplomats undermines the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and needlessly endangers Americans

Franklin Lamb

Beirut


The Houla massacre has whipped up a new wave of outrage at the claimed brutality of Syria's government. Syrian envoys were kicked out of some western capitals, more financial sanctions slapped on the regime in Damascus, and more furious demands are being made for a regime change toppling Bashar al-Assad and more calls for military intervention issued.

The civilized world kicking out Syrian diplomats was to be the thin reed of straw that would certainly break the camel's back in Damascus' Presidential Palace.

However, expelling Syrian diplomats, who no one is even suggesting had anything to do with the massacre at Houla constitutes a politically cheap feel good knee jerk reaction to the horrific images from the slaughter at Houla.   Certainly the images of chopped bodies and that of a precious baby with a pacifier in its mouth and a bullet hole in its temple   reminded many of us of the My Lai, Sabra-Shatila, Srebrenica, and Ruwanda massacres to note just a few. Encouraging a global reaction, some in Washington vowed that the Obama doctrine and the right to protect (R2P) could not allow the Syrian regime to remain in power and Houla was to be the game changer.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 signed by 186 countries constructed a frame for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enables diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion, harassment or politically motivated expulsions by the host country. Its articles are a cornerstone of modern international relations.

While Article 9 does grant the host nation the right to declare a particular member of the diplomatic staff to be persona non grata , the understanding of the drafters of the Vienna Convention and the trauvaux preparatoire make plan that the provision is to be used solely for high crimes and under no circumstances to embarrass or trivialize the sending government or its diplomatic mission.   The US action with respect to expelling Syrian diplomats does both.

As diplomacy is the practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements, it is difficult to take seriously White House and NATO claims of a preference for diplomacy rather than war with Syria, while they lead the campaign to expel the very Syrian diplomats necessary for dialogue and negotiations.   The idea to have American allies summarily expel Syrian Diplomats was hatched, according to a US Congressional source, in the fertile office of outgoing US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, rumored to be on his way to New York to become, unimaginably one might be forgiven for thinking, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs. The Feltman appointment by Ban Key Moon is thought by two staffers on John Kerry's US Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be a pro quid quo for American support for Ban's re-election as UN Secretary-General and Feltman's support for Senator Kerry's being appointed Secretary of State in Obama's second administration.

Feltman has had an enduring love affair with the UN, especially the Security Council, which he reportedly views as a true and tested sharp arrow in the quiver of the US-Israel foreign policy apparatus. His tenure at the State Department,   when he "leaves" his current post as expected in June, will remain substantially unchanged preserving his de facto ambassadorships to five countries in the Middle East, despite these posts being pro forma occupied by his personally approved "potted plants," no disrespect intended to the current occupants at those diplomatic posts.

Feldman's office also produced UN Security Council Resolution 1757 setting up a Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) targeting Syria and Hezbollah for the 2005 Rafik Harri assassination, and earlier, in September of 2004, UN Resolution 1559 which he has written was designed in his office to disarm the National Lebanese Resistance and expel Syrian troops from Lebanon. UN SCR 1757, setting up the STL, was passed on a 10-0 with 5 abstentions under Feltman's favorite section of the UN Charter, being Chapter Seven, with its potential for using unlimited military force to enforce Security Council decisions. So far in Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman has initiated no fewer than a dozen "Welch Club" projects between 2005 and the present in order to guarantee "Lebanon's independence, sovereignty, and freedom from foreign interference." In no way to be confused with Undersecrtary Feltman's own activities here.

The premises of the US diplomatic mission in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, came under attack during the night of 6/5/12.   The US embassy is Damascus had been closed earlier in the crisis, and the US Embassy in Beirut is on near lock down status with plans to close and evacuate staff on one hours' notice if deemed prudent.   These events highlight the importance of respecting the 1961Vienna Convention and not expelling diplomats as political gamesmanship because the rash expulsions may not only generate unintended consequences, but inevitably invite retaliatory expulsions. Hence the Syrian government declared 17 US and Western diplomats, persona non grata earlier this week. Syria's much respected Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Makdad told the media in Damascus that, "We waited for so long for the other side to correct their policies and offer the needed support to Annan's plan and the observers' mission. But we regret that we had to take this measure because they do not want this mission to succeed."

The gratuitous chest thumping political theatre led by Washington also undermines international treaty law while eroding respect for the nearly universally agreed to protections of diplomats, envoys, embassies and consulates.

Hopefully the White House and its allies will act immediately to contain this latest provocation and lift their diplomatic expulsion edicts against Syria. The Obama administration ought also to engage in dialogue to resolve its differences with the Syrian government mindful of Kofi Annan's just announced revised 6 point peace proposal and on a basis of "principles of equality and mutual respect.



Authors Website: http://mealsforsyrianrefugeechildrenlebanon.com/

Authors Bio:

Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in Syria.


Like Iraq, Syria is the cradle of civilization, and as such it has been a rich source of our shared global culture and historic heritage. Already endangered from illegal excavation, looting, international trafficking and iconoclasm; the theft and destruction of these sites has greatly increased as a result of the conflict in the Middle East.


Many of the endangered archeological sites and artifacts are over 7,000 years old. The oldest remains found in Syria are from the Paleolithic era (c. 800,000 BCE). The most endangered artifacts and archaeological sites currently are in Tell Halaf, the north of Syria near the Turkish border with Syria. These archaeological sites date as far back as 5,500 BCE. They include archeological sites and artifacts of the Babylonian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Aramaic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad, Ayyubid and Ottoman civilizations and empires.


Professor Franklin Lamb has also been working, sometimes under dangerous circumstances, to record and photograph the war damage done to religious icons, images, monuments, and ancient structures that span pre-Roman civilizations, and structures such as Islamic mosques, Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.


Professor Lamb is working tirelessly to record and photograph these sites and artifacts because they are in danger of complete destruction for religious, political and illegal trafficking reasons, especially due to the ongoing wars in the Middle East.


Professor Franklin Lamb's website and his latest book, "Syria's Endangered Heritage, an International Responsibility to Preserve and Protect" presents exclusive and never published before photographs, records, data, articles, and interviews from across the whole of Syria. His book can be purchased at his website http://www.syrian-heritage.com/.


In addition to Dr. Lamb's urgent archaeological work he is also deeply committed to rescuing and aiding refugee children in Syria. He is a volunteer with the Lebanon, France, and USA based "Meals for Syrian Refugee Children, Lebanon (MSRCL)", which seeks to provide hot nutritional meals to Syrian and other refugee children.


Lamb says that the goal of MSRCL is to be able to provide one meal a day to 500 children. More donors are needed in order for him to reach that goal. At $2.25 per meal x 500 children per day ($1,225), the budget for a month (30 days) requires approximately $36,000. Over 95% of each donation goes directly towards the cost of each meal. The MSCRL volunteer teams give their time, energy and even their own money to help the refugee children so that they will not become part of the "lost generation" of Syria.


Lamb's books and publications include "Pollution as a Problem of International Law"; "International Legal Responsibility for the Sabra Shatila Massacre"; "Israel's 1982 War in Lebanon: Eyewitness Chronicles of the Invasion and Occupation", "The Price We Pay: A Quarter Century of Israel's Use of American Weapons against Civilians in Lebanon in addition to the three volume set, "Palestine, Lebanon & Syria Palestine, Lebanon & Syria (Commentary and Analysis 2006-2016)." Due out during Fall 2016, in English and Arabic, is "The Case for Palestinian Civil Rights in Lebanon: Why the Resistance Sleeps."


Dr. Lamb's most recent book is "Syria's Endangered Heritage: An International Responsibility to Preserve and Protect". www.Syrian-heritage.com


Lamb's Academic Credentials include: BA, and Law Degrees from Boston University, Master of Law (LLM) Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from the London School of Economics (LSE); Diploma in International Air & Space Law from the University College of London; Post-Doctoral Studies at Harvard University Law School of East Asian Legal Studies Center, specializing in Chinese Law; International Legal Studies at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Studied Public International Law at The Hague Academy of international Law, at the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands.


Lamb's Professional and Political Activities include Assistant Professor of International Law, Northwestern College of Law, Portland, Oregon and Assistant Counsel to the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, During the Administration of President Jimmy Carter, Lamb was elected for a four year term to the Democratic National Committee, representing the state of Oregon. Lamb served on the Democratic National Committee Judicial Council with California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as well as the Platform Committee on East-West Relations. Professor Lamb served on the presidential campaign staff for Presidential Candidate Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.


Back