by Courtenay Barnett


Under domestic laws, when individuals have a dispute over a breach of a binding contract – they revert to court for dispute resolution and/or adjudication.

When nations under a Treaty and/or binding joint agreement, have disputes under international law it is expected that the parties negotiate differences – or resort to international arbitration – or revert to the UN for resolution.

The UN Charter under Article 2(4) reads and requires as follows:-

“Article 2(4) reads as follows: All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

In 2015 within the confines of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action  (JCPOA)  by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany a nuclear deal with Iran was signed. In 2018 the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA agreement.


The most telling single fact in the still unfolding international tensions between the US and Iran is this. Some fifty years ago, Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Of all the Middle Eastern (ME) countries it is only Israel which  does not adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

And now with the shooting down of the US drone it is Iran now said to be the bad actor in the ME. But, we shall return to this point once historical context is given.

The history of ‘false flag’ operations conducted by the US and acts of aggression based on same could here be accurately and exhaustively documented. But, for purposes of brevity – let us be selective.

In 1846 on a false flag  the US pretext claimed that there was an attack by Mexican troops; in consequence of that Mexican/American war land ranging from New Mexico to California and beyond was seized and annexed to the US.

Similarly, the Spanish/American war was begun in 1898 in  Cuba, in Havana Harbour with the sinking of the USS Maine ( another false flag operation).

In 1962, a CIA operation directed against Cuba, known as “Operation Northwoods” was designed to have  terrorist acts committed against US citizens to be blamed on Cuba so as to justify invading Cuba.

Lest we forget – the ” Bay of Tonkin Incident” it was around 1964 that the US decided that it wanted to “come clean” and be openly and fully engaged in the Vietnam War. Yet another false flag operation.

In 2003 then Secretary of State Colin Powel, knowingly  and falsely claimed that “yellow cake uranium” was held by Iraq, so as to justify the invasion of Iraq.

So – does some measure of historical example exist as to why, not merely international lawyers, but our entire global citizenry, both have  valid reasons to be, at the very least, even just a wee bit skeptical about US claims being now made against Iran’s alleged unjustified attack on and downing of the US intelligence drone?


Since there was direct UN Security Council involvement in the establishment of the JCPOA – and – since the UN is specifically established to be the main arbiter for resolution of international disputes between nation states – then would it not be logical, sensible, fair and reasonable to proceed as follows:-

Establishment and verification of facts

  1. By reference to existing data held both by Iran and the US – it is paramount that same be submitted to and be examined by reputable independent experts for purposes of determining the flight path and then the actual location of the US drone when it was downed by Iran ( i.e. was the drone over international waters – or – was the drone flying over Iranian sovereign territory?).
  2. Voice recorders and records of all relevant telecommunications exchanges between the US and Iran immediately prior to the downing of the drone also becomes of relevance.
  3. All other information thought to be of relevance to conducting a full  investigation with a view towards obtaining a comprehensive UN based report should also be submitted to the relevant agreed authority/authorities.


This is literally a ‘no-win’ looming military conflagration between the US and Iran. Calm heads, assisted by credible legal minds in international law and as well expert advice being given  and taken  under the Constitutional laws of both the US and Iran, as well as by all  military experts,  would prove to be providers of invaluable assistance.

Given the lay of the land in the ME, with Iran encircled by neighouring US military bases, this fact  is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing to the US for it shows that it has fire-power in close proximity to Iran; a curse because that very close proximity permits Iran immediate US targets which can readily be struck. Beyond that fact, there would assuredly be an asymmetrical war fought by Iran and Iran’s proxies outside of the geographical confines of Iran itself. Further, there is the question of the Straits of Hormuz and the necessary passage of some 40% of the world’s oil supplies being transported there through  and the implications for the world economy if that flow were to be blocked.

Even with overwhelming military might, if the US did attack Iran, that would be a mere beginning with  not any easy and/or conclusive end in sight. The integration of the world economy is advancing with or without America’s acceptance and/or approval. A US military attack would also have the unintended consequences for the US of advancing the drive by China and Russia to provide an alternative currency to that of the US dollar as current world reserve currency.


So – Uncle Sam ( and in fact – all  the people of America)  – President Trump – Mullahs – Ayatollah Khomeini   – the involved militaries at whatever levels from both countries  ( for it is primarily your lives on the line) – and all persons of sound mind; please – think once – think twice – think again – then revert to the UN for peaceful resolution.



* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.


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