Can An International Consensus Be Reached Over The Issue Of Iran And Syria?


On Monday, October 1st, Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles aimed at Syrian militants. It is believed that The Revolutionary Guard of the Islamic Revolution in Iran blames Syria for an assault on a Military Parade that took place on September 22nd. 

The missile launch was broadcast by Iranian state television: footage shows a white ball of light speeding through the dark sky, trailing a long tail of flames. Alongside this footage, state television showed missiles bearing written threats aimed at Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The Revolutionary Guard believes that these three countries are supporting the “terrorists” within Syria, say reports. The attack is symbolic of the widespread unrest over the past month. It is highly unclear how the situation will develop, but what is clear is that Iran’s anger is aimed not only at Syria, but at other nations involved in its fate, making the implications of this attack significantly more complex.

The United States National Security Adviser, John Bolton, has announced in front of the United Nations that the U.S. will remain in Syria for as long as Iran does. The previous stated reason for the presence of U.S. military forces in Syria was to destroy the remaining Islamic State forces in the country. However, the new announcement marks a significant change in U.S. policy concerning the two countries. James Jeffrey, the State Department’s Special Representative for Syria, said that the United States will not force Iranians out of Syria. Reports suggest that Washington would rather have the situation remain at the level of political pressure, rather than allowing it to develop into military conflict.

However, the United States is not the only country that wields influence over Iran and Syria. Other countries concerned include Russia, Turkey, and Israel. The United States has long accused Moscow of being uncooperative over issues involving the two countries, while Russia tends to put the blame on Washington for always going its own way. There has been much discussion and negotiation, but no agreement has yet been reached.

  On October 3rd, the International Court of Justice ordered the United States to ease some of its sanctions against Iran. This order mainly refers to allowing the export of food and medicines, considered humanitarian goods, as well as increasing security for Iranian civilian aircraft. The order directly opposes Donald Trump’s announcement in May that the United States will stop answering to the international agreement made in 2015 that limits Iran’s nuclear ambitions. This declaration caused a furious response from Iran, which has led to the involvement of the International Court of Justice.

The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the United Nations’ highest judicial body. However, it has no power to enforce its rulings, and as a result the U.S. often ignores it. This situation leads to doubt over whether there should even be an international institution for justice, since it seems to have no effect on solving global affairs when it is needed. There are still many idealists who dream of a functioning universal justice system, but other experts say this is nothing more than pie in the sky. Yet, in a world of growing  globalisation, it is a dream which is starting to look more and more like a necessity.

Helen Jingshu Yao

An international student in Canada, interested in the topics concerning humanity, feminism, and equal access to education for all.