Nato: Action against ISIS would prevent genocide

Brussels - Military intervention against Islamic State militants could be justified on the grounds of self-defence or preventing a campaign "pretty close to genocide", Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday.

Rasmussen said the threat posed by Islamic State "requires a military response to degrade and defeat this terrorist organisation" but he said Nato as an organisation would not be undertaking military strikes against the group.

"We are not considering... a leading Nato role in this operation. A number of Nato allies are forming a coalition that also includes countries from the region," he told the Carnegie Europe thinktank where he gave his last speech in Brussels before stepping down at the end of this month.

The United States, Nato's dominant member, is already carrying out air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq.

Russia said last week that air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria without a UN Security Council mandate would be an act of aggression, raising the possibility of a new confrontation with the West in coming weeks.

Rasmussen said that, speaking as a "layman", he felt there was a basis in fundamental principles of the United Nations' charter to take military action against Islamic State.

"ISIS [Islamic State] commits horrific atrocities and I would say witnessing manslaughter, their attacks against religious and ethnic minorities, in my opinion it is pretty close to genocide. In my opinion that gives such a military operation legitimacy within the principles of the UN Charter," he said.

"I also consider this a kind of self-defence, which is also permitted within the UN charter," he said.

Nato agreed at its summit in Wales earlier this month to play a coordinating role in organising security assistance for Iraq in its fight against Islamic State militants, including coordinating the airlift of supplies.

Rasmussen said the world should learn from previous military operations, such as Libya, that it was important to work after a military operation to help such countries improve their security and good governance.

Since Nato-led air strikes in 2011 helped dislodge Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years of one-man rule, Libya has been unable to impose authority over brigades of former rebels who refuse to disarm and have carved out regional fiefdoms.

"That is one of the important lessons to be learned, that military operations should go hand in hand with civilian efforts to... build a new nation after such a military operation," Rasmussen said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 1898 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
49% - 8728 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 6472 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 633 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.45
-1.6%
Rand - Pound
19.83
-1.0%
Rand - Euro
16.72
-0.6%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.56
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-1.7%
Gold
1,778.99
-1.3%
Silver
20.26
-2.7%
Palladium
2,159.00
-3.1%
Platinum
937.50
-3.0%
Brent Crude
98.15
-1.5%
Top 40
64,022
+0.0%
All Share
70,741
+0.0%
Resource 10
63,315
-1.2%
Industrial 25
86,967
+0.5%
Financial 15
16,154
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE