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Isis: World powers plan UN Security Council resolution to declare war against group in Iraq and Syria

Draft resolution authorising ‘all necessary measures’ in Syria and Iraq could be adopted in days

Published 20/11/2015

The UN Security Council is expected to pass the French resolution to fight the ‘common enemy’ as China and Russia are thought unlikely to use their vetoes
The UN Security Council is expected to pass the French resolution to fight the ‘common enemy’ as China and Russia are thought unlikely to use their vetoes

World powers are poised to forge a single resolution at the United Nations Security Council to declare a common war against Isis and “eradicate” jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

The attacks in Paris as well as the downing of the Russian jet over the Sinai Peninsula have galvanised a hitherto divided Security Council. And a new reality exists: with its alleged execution this week of a Chinese national, Isis has now slaughtered citizens of all five permanent Security Council members.

French officials said they were formally submitting a draft resolution to the Security Council, pushing aside a competing draft offered by Russia earlier this week. It could be adopted as early as Friday or over the weekend.

The French manoeuvre reflected confidence that its resolution would not provoke Russian or Chinese vetoes and would thus win approval.

The text, shared with The Independent newspaper, calls on member states “with the capacity to do so” to “take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, on the territory under the control of Isil [Isis] in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and co-ordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Isil… and to eradicate the safe haven they have established in Iraq and Syria”.

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The resolution “is short, strong, and focused on one primary goal: the fight against the common enemy, Daesh [Isis]”, said France’s ambassador to the UN, François Delattre. “We intend to work with all our Security Council partners to achieve a swift adoption of this project, around which we hope the international community will come together.”

Passage of the French draft would mark a signal moment for the Security Council, where any resolution that explicitly endorses outside interference, particularly military interference, within the borders of a sovereign nation routinely encounters stiff resistance, usually from Russia or China. On Syria alone, the last time the council passed a unanimous resolution was in July of last year – on providing humanitarian aid.

This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 shows oil refinement facilities hit during the attack of Russian warplanes in Syria. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 shows oil refinement facilities hit during the attack of Russian warplanes in Syria. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 shows oil refinement facilities hit during the attack of Russian warplanes in Syria. Russian warplanes on Wednesday attacked oil extraction, transport and refinement facilities in areas controlled by Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 shows oil refinement facilities hit during the attack of Russian warplanes in Syria. Russian warplanes on Wednesday attacked oil extraction, transport and refinement facilities in areas controlled by Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
A video grab made on November 18, 2015, shows an image taken from a footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website on November 18, 2015, purporting to show an explosion after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says was an Islamic State oil-processing facility at an unidentified location in Syria. AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY *RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS*-/AFP/Getty Images
A video grab made on November 18, 2015, shows an image taken from a footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website on November 18, 2015, purporting to show an explosion after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says were tanker trucks carrying oil products belonging to the jihadist group at an unidentified location in Syria. AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY *RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS*-/AFP/Getty Images
A video grab made on November 18, 2015, shows an image taken from a footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website on November 18, 2015, purporting to show an explosion after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says were tanker trucks carrying oil products belonging to the jihadist group at an unidentified location in Syria. AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY *RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS*-/AFP/Getty Images
A video grab made on November 18, 2015, shows an image taken from a footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website on November 18, 2015, purporting to show an explosion after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says were tanker trucks carrying oil products belonging to the jihadist group at an unidentified location in Syria. AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY *RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS*-/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) A file picture taken on October 5, 2015 shows Russian air force pilots and technicians checking a Russian Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighter at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to step up air strikes in Syria after Moscow confirmed a bomb brought down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt last month, the Kremlin said on November 17. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) A file picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian army pilot leaving the cockpit of a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack aircraft at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to step up air strikes in Syria after Moscow confirmed a bomb brought down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt last month, the Kremlin said on November 17. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) A file picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows Russian air force technicians checking a Russian Su-34 fighter bomber at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to step up air strikes in Syria after Moscow confirmed a bomb brought down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt last month, the Kremlin said on November 17. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (2ndL), Russian Army chief of staff Valery Gerasimov (L), head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov (3rdR), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2ndR) and Russia's Foreign Intelligence Chief Mikhail Fradkov (R) observe a minute of silence ahead of a meeting on the results of the investigation into the Russian MetroJet Airbus A321 crash at the Kremlin in Moscow early on November 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to step up air strikes in Syria after Moscow confirmed a bomb brought down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt last month, the Kremlin said on November 17. AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / ALEXEI NIKOLSKYALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) A file picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber taking off from the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to step up air strikes in Syria after Moscow confirmed a bomb brought down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt last month, the Kremlin said on November 17. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, a Russian Tu-95 bomber launches a cruise missile at a target in Syria. Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, a Russian Tu-160 bomber launches a cruise missile at a target in Syria. Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, flanked by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, attends a meeting on Russian airspace forces' activities in Syria, as he visits the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. (Alexei Nikolsky/SPUTNIK, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, Russian Tu-22 bombers escorted by the Su-27s fighter jets drop bombs on a target in Syria. Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has a presence of the Nusra militant group. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, Russian air force personnel load bombs onto a Tu-22 bomber in preparation for a bombing mission against targets in Syria. Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, a Russian bomber drops bombs on a target in Syria. Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
An image of the silhouette of an airplane superimposed on the red, blue and white bands of the Russian flag, displayed on the screen of a mobile phone, is a new Russian symbol suggesting fighting for peace, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. The image comes as Russia intensifies its airstrikes in Syria, which it says are targeting militants of the Islamic State. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, Russian Tu-22 bombers escorted by the Su-27s fighter jets drop bombs on a target in Syria. Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, a Russian Tu-95 bomber launches a cruise missile at a target in Syria. Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province; Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, a Russian SU-24M jet fighter takes off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo taken from Russian Defense Ministry official website on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, a Russian SU-34 bomber taxies at an air base Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, two Russian SU-25 ground attack aircrafts take off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo taken from Russian Defense Ministry official website on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, a Russian SU-24M jet fighter prepares to take off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
A picture taken on October 5, 2015 shows Russian air force pilots and technicians checking a Russian Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighter at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 a bomb is released from Russian Su-24M jet fighter in Syria. NATO strongly criticized the Russian air campaign in Syria that began Wednesday. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows Russian air force technicians checking a Russian Su-34 fighter bomber at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 5, 2015 shows Russian air force pilots and technicians checking a Russian Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighter at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian army pilot leaving the cockpit of a Russian Sukhoi SU-25 ground attack aircraft at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 bomber taking off from the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian Sukhoi SU-30 SM jet fighter standing on a runway at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
An image grab made from a video released by the Russian Defence Ministry on October 5, 2015 reportedly shows a Russian aircraft dropping bombs during an airstrike against Islamic State (IS) group's positions at an undisclosed location in Syria. Russia has launched air strikes on Syria, saying its intervention is against the jihadist IS group, while Turkey and its allies say it is targeting moderate regime opponents. AFP PHOTO / HO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS-/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows Russian Sukhoi SU-30 SM jet fighters landing on a runway at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 shows an attack made from a fighter jet in Syria. Russian Defense Ministry describes the incident as an airstrike against an ISIS ammunition depot near Talbiseh settlement (Homs). The object is completely destroyed. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

The Russian version is only slightly amended from the one it submitted in September. At the time, it was spurned by London, Paris and Washington because it included provisions seeking the co-operation of governments in the region, including the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

There is still nothing to indicate that Moscow is about to cut Mr Assad loose. However, there was cautious optimism in the corridors of the UN that Russia could not contemplate blocking a resolution that condemned Isis, given the Paris attacks and the bombing of one of its own planes.

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“There is a momentum to have a Security Council product that condemns the attacks not just in Paris but also Beirut and Sharm el-Sheikh and stresses the unity of the council and its desire to tackle the threat posed by Isis,” one diplomat said.

The draft resolution recalls that, by “its violent extremist ideology, its terrorist acts, its continued gross systematic and widespread attacks directed against civilians” and other crimes, Isis “constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security”.

It would be passed, more-over, under the stewardship of Britain as current holder of the rotating Security Council presidency. While the Government would surely welcome a resolution as an important demonstration of world unity, it also believes that the legal basis for strikes against Isis already exists under the UN Charter’s provisions on the right to self-defence.

Adding to the new sense of urgency were reports attributed to US and Iraqi intelligence that Isis is attempting to create a unit to develop and deploy chemical weapons.

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The French President, François Hollande, is to visit Washington next week and thereafter Moscow in the hope of creating a common coalition of powers against Isis. Persuading presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin to set aside their differences will still be a difficult task. The US remains averse to joining hands with Russia in the light of its adventurism in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

However, US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed Washington’s determination to defeat Isis quickly.

“We are going to defeat Daesh [Isis]. We always said it will take time,” he said. “We began our fight against al-Qaeda in 2001 and it took us quite a few years before we were able to eliminate Osama bin Laden and the top leadership and neutralise them as an effective force. We hope to do Daesh much faster than that and we think we have an ability to do that.”

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, suggested he saw common ground after closed-door Security Council talks late on Tuesday, before the tabling of the French draft. “One thing that was heard loud and clear in our discussions in the council is that there should be unity,” he said. “I don’t see it as a huge gap.”

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