Following days of heightening tensions as a result of numerous threats from Trump, primarily via Twitter, the US President finally issued details of a joint US, UK, and French attack on Syria. Trump announced these “precision strikes” from the White House on Friday, which he says were set to hit “targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” in response to an alleged use of chemical weapons last week in the suburbs of Damascus.
According to Trump, this attack was somehow a form of “retaliation” an alleged chemical attack based solely on evidence provided by Al Qaeda’s crisis actors, The White Helmets. This is despite the fact that even US intelligence agencies didn’t trust the White Helmet’s account as evidenced by internal communications that still refer to the supposed use of chemical weapons as an “alleged” attack and Trump’s own Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis saying the Pentagon is still “assessing the intelligence.”
Even with these basic facts surrounding the situation, Trump still decided to go ahead with his missile and bombing campaign in order “to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons.” This deterrent strike was launched in the early morning hours in Syria by way of French, US and British planes and ships that launched over a hundred missiles.
The US-led triumvirate fired a total of 103 missiles at sites in Syria that Washington claims to have identified as “chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities” as well as military sites connected to the alleged chemical attack. The strikes, according to US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley were successful and that “We are confident that we have crippled Syria’s chemical weapons program.”
On the other hand, Russia has issued statements in the last day that contest the claims being made by the US. Chief among the US assertions being challenged by Moscow is both the actual nature of US targets and the actual amount of successful strikes on said targets.
Among the targets supposedly hit by the US and company is the supposed “chemical weapons production facilities,” including a scientific research center in Barzeh, north of Damascus which likely isn’t even operational. As far as how many targets were actually hit, the US claims they “successfully hit every target” according to Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White but Russia says this is a gross exaggeration.
Counter to what the US says, Russia’s military has reported that 71 of the 103 missiles shot by the US coalition were intercepted. These western munitions were taken down by Syria’s anti-air defenses and their vast array of anti-missile and aircraft defense, which they recently displayed by shooting down an Israeli F-16.
This defense by the Syrian military shows a drastic change since this time last year when the US, acting alone, launched dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield. While Damascus did not issue the order to curb the US attack last time, this time the US has to take this into consideration if they plan any future venture in Syria.
Video: YouTube – Riot Watch
This new factor of Syrian self-defense may have already had an impact if statements following the attacks are any indication. Jim Mattis’ statements after the bombing of Syria seemed to indicate the US was backing down from building tensions around the conflict any more, for now, when the Secretary said last night’s salvo was a “one-time shot.”
Trump’s statements on Twitter also seem to indicate he shares Mattis’ feelings that this illegal attack was a success. Trump said as much in his own George W. Bush aircraft carrier victory-in-Iraq moment when he tweeted that this latest violation of Syria was a “mission accomplished!”
A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2018
While this operation may not look like a success at face value there is likely some deeper reasoning behind the timing, late Friday evening in Washington, to announce the bombing.
In the local time in Syria, the western attack took place in the early hours of Saturday, only a few hours before the United Nations-approved inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were set to begin an investigation. This OPCW inspection is in accordance with international legal procedures and is a result of the Syrian government allowing access to the alleged attack site.
The OPCW has previously been allowed into Syria to enforce other agreements such as the destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons agreed to in 2013, which the current US regime attempts to portray as some kind of failure.
Despite these concessions by Syria, US has decided compliance isn’t enough, and much like the George W. Bush Regime promised to invade Iraq regardless of whether or not Saddam allowed UN inspectors into his country, Trump decided that having real evidence before illegally attacking forces of the legitimate government didn’t matter.
Russia is still considering possible responses to these latest US crimes, but the success of Syria’s air defenses still greatly reduced potential damage from western aggression is cause for celebration in the meantime. Syria is winning their war and the US may reconsider harboring intentions to further escalate the situation.
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