One strike won’t do

Posted on August 31, 2020Categories oimdzshwTags , , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on One strike won’t do

first_imgSince the civil war in Syria escalated in 2011/12 with Syrian President Bashar Assad taking very aggressive, brutal measures against the rebels and innocent Syrians, nations in the Western world have been reluctant to intervene even for humanitarian reasons.In 2013 Assad crossed the ‘red line’ set by former President Barack Obama and launched a chemical attack against the rebels resulting in the death of over 1,400 men, women and children. For days Obama contemplated a military response against Assad’s brutality.For several reasons, Obama eventually decided against military intervention. One, he didn’t have the support of America’s main ally, Britain, as the British parliament voted down any involvement. Two, the US Congress which Obama sought authority from, also voted against intervention. Third, then Secretary of State John Kerry brokered a plan with Russia that ostensibly had Assad getting rid of his stockpile of chemical weapons.Obviously, Obama trusted the arrangement brokered by Kerry and the Russians. However, months later Putin, instead of using his influence with Assad to quell the civil war, entered the fray as Assad’s ally, along with Iran. Last week, when Assad launched sarin gas bombs against rebels and innocent citizens, it appeared Putin duped the US when in 2013 Russia confirmed Assad had gotten rid of the chemical weapon stockpile. Televised images of people, including infants, struggling and dying from the effects of the gas were heart wrenching.Reacting to Assad’s latest atrocity, on the evening of Thursday, April 6, President Donald Trump authorized a missile attack against a Syrian airfield used by aircrafts that dropped the chemical bombs against the rebels.Two days before the missile strike, Trump and members of his administration hinted at reaction against Assad. Nonetheless, the attack was surprising especially with Trump’s seemingly close relationship with Putin. Trump had also cautioned Obama about getting involved in a military intervention with Assad in 2013, cautioning such action could herald “World War III.”The suddenness of Trump’s action has fueled conspiracy theories that the strike against Syria was another attempt to deviate attention from investigations into collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential elections.Notwithstanding those theories, the big question is, what’s next? Does Trump have a clear strategy in dealing with Assad and the Syrian civil war? Assuming there’s such a strategy, doesn’t it pit the US military might against Russia and Iran? Is Trump ready to send large compliments of US troops to fight in Syria, or, would the strategy mean escalated air strikes? Does the strategy involve getting rid of Assad? Since Trump said he was so emotionally moved by images of “beautiful babies” dying from the chemical poison attack would he be now prepared to help create ‘safe zones’ in Syria to protect innocent citizens, especially since he’s not inclined to allow Syrian refugees to enter the US?These are just a few of several questions, but they are questions that has arisen since Trump’s surprise attack against Syria. But there is another interesting question. Was the attack meant to show  Trump is a stronger, more decisive commander-in-chief than President Obama? If so that would be a reckless reason to initiate an international conflict. Or, was the attack to show the US is not reluctant to use its military might against Assad and his allies? If that was so, then the US’ attack was similar to a student hitting the school bully with a glancing blow that only provoked the bully to be more aggressive.Indicative of this similarity is within hours after the attack, Syrian planes took off from the same airfield. Moreover, these planes dropped more bombs, albeit not chemical bombs, over the same territory that the chemical bombs were dropped. Incidentally, this begs another question. Why didn’t the US missile strike seek to destroy the runways at the Syrian airfield. Trump’s explanation that runways are easy to repair doesn’t seem like a justifiable military explanation.Although most Americans are revolted by the images of Assad’s chemical attack, they remain wary of the country entering another war. But, Trump has struck a blow that could result in retaliation by Assad, and Syria’s allies. Americans have the right to know what is Trump’s strategy if such retaliation comes, or if Assad continues to butcher Syrians. One thing is evident. One missile strike against Syria by the US won’t do.last_img read more