Strikes on Syria

Planes of the US, UK and France carried out a concerted night attack on facilities and airfields in Damascus and Homs associated with the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  This is a far cry from the bankrupt policies of the wimp Obama, whose terrible mistake was declaring a red-line on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and then backing down.  He allowed Pres. Putin to put Russian forces into Syria in 2016 to supposedly do that job for him.  Yes, he trusted Putin! This not only led to increased use of chemical weapons (about 50 uses have been identified) as well as the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people, but the continuation of the civil war and the resurgence of the Assad regime, with Russian and Iranian help.

While people criticized Trump’s attack on one airfield with cruise missiles in 2017, because the damage was quickly repaired.  This time the extent of the attack was more extensive.  However, the delay on one week from the attack on Douma, allowed Assad to move his arms and facilities into Russian controlled locations, knowing that Trump and his allies would avoid them.  Also, Douma has fallen to the Assad forces and the rebels there have been evacuated.  So the strike has a limited effect.

Assad and his supporters, including Putin, are on notice that further use of chemical weapons will result in further and more extensive strikes.  But, these will not change the course of the war.  In fact Assad, from a low of controlling only ca. 25% of Syrian territory, now with the defeat of IS and Russian and Iranian backing, has reclaimed up to ca. 60% of Syrian territory.  The US is definitely on the back-foot.  Not only are they careful to avoid a clash with Russia, but they are also standing by while a supposed ally, Erdogan of Turkey, is defeating and mopping up their only effective ally on the ground, namely the Syrian Kurds, in their enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.  The irony is that Erdogan is both anti-Assad and anti-Kurd.  How this will all work out, and how effective this strike will be in dissuading Assad not to use chemical weapons, remains to be seen. But, it really is too little too late.

 

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