By Shehab Al-Makahleh •
Less than 24 hours after the strikes the Syrian Air Forces have resumed flights from the bombed airfield in Shayrat. If Trump’s intention to strike Syria was to deter Assad’s Syrian Army from bombing ‘rebels’ and terrorists, the Tomahawk missiles strike of 7 April clearly did not accomplish this objective. What it did accomplish, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the significant spike in stock value of the weapon manufacturers in the US. The missiles fired have incurred a cost of about $60 million.
The strike―dubbed as Deep State appeasement attempt, by many of Trump’s supporters and numerous analysts―has accomplished quite the opposite. Trump has angered and frustrated both the supporters and the critics, and has got many others worried about the apparent lack of strategic forethought. The war party wants more war, the peace party is demonstrating on the streets of Washington, DC to stop the war and eliminate terrorists.
Russia, Iran and most importantly China have strongly condemned the attack, based on allegations and without establishing the perpetrators. At the UNSC a war of words has erupted among nations divided over the legality of and justification for the attack. Bolivian UN ambassador presented the UNSC with the pictures of Colin Powell’s infamous false claim of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, along with the reminder comment about million Iraqi deaths that ensued. Russia has called the UK to get out of the Middle East, stating that everyone remembers well its many atrocities in the region. China was uncharacteristically sharp in its criticism, too.
Domestically at first, Trump’s strike on Syria has pleased Hillary Clinton, and his key opponents Senators McCain and Graham, who have openly praised his decision to finally do something about ‘Syrian dictator’. The blowback came hours later, when the Trump’s support base started questioning the wisdom of his decision to strike, without prior investigation and solid evidence that Syrian government indeed carried out alleged chemical attack. Shortly after, Senator Rand Paul (Ken.) has urged the president to understand that Islamic State represents a far greater danger than Assad’s government. Former British ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford has condemned the false accusations of Syrian president for chemical attacks and criticized the West instead.
Many analysts and former diplomats who reacted rationally, rather than emotionally have asked a logical question: Why would Assad do such a stupid thing and turn the world against himself, when he was literally winning the war on the ground against both the Western backed ‘rebels’, and the terrorists of all factions? The same people questioned the reports of the alleged chemical attack, and the evidence collected via social media and the NGO reports, all of which signal rather a staged PR stunt, than a real attack. Most importantly, photographs featuring White Helmets, whose connection with Al-Qaeda has been widely documented as is its funding from the UK government, among others ― show that the ‘rescuers’ are handling the victims of the attacks without gloves or protective clothing―a must in case of chemical weapons attack.
Mainstream media, as has become customary in such cases, is ignoring the facts and spinning fiction. The public follows simple easy way logic to quell fears, and understand how things took such a sharp downtown so unexpectedly. Uncanny resemblance of the recent Syria strike, and the false pretexts that have led to invasion and ultimately destruction of Iraq, are clear to anyone who would bother to think.
Current clear outcome of the Syrian strike is extremely strained relationship with Russia which seemed poised to improve, and likely serious escalation of the Syrian conflict should Trump decide to follow on some of the rumored advice and send thousands of US troops to Syrian war. There’s also additional domestic uncertainty where former enemies seem to be embracing Trump, where they have previously ridiculed him, while his support base seems to be in a state of denial, jumping off the “Trump train”. The Trump team press statements seem as elusive as ever, so it’s very hard to pinpoint what and where they might strike again.
The worst possible option doubtless would be sending US troops to Syria, as that would certainly drag Iran into deeper war. Such war would have far more devastating consequences than what we have witnessed so far, not only for Syria, and the region, but for the entire world. It is not clear whether Mr. Trump is aware of this danger!