How Trump keeps paying allegiance to Putin, even in Syria
The intervention of the Donald Trump government in the Syrian internal conflict has been only for the benefit of the Assad regime and, consequently, for the benefit of Russian interests in the territory.
Last Saturday the international community woke up with the news that a coalition between the United States, the United Kingdom, and France would have coordinated a strike on "three targets that will impact the Syrian regime’s to develop, deploy and use chemical weapons in the future" explained Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kennet F. McKenzie Jr., director of the Joint Staff during a press conference on Saturday morning.
Mckenzie described the facilities as "fundamental components of the regime's chemical warfare infrastructure."
The coalition hit the Barzah Development and Research Center outside Damascus with 76 missiles, "destroying the facility" and, the US military claimed, "setting back Syrian chemical weapons capabilities for years."
Immediately, the US president turned to Twitter to ensure that the attack had been "perfectly executed" thanks to the collaboration of France and the United Kingdom. "Mission accomplished," he added.
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) 14 de abril de 2018
First of all, President Trump has failed to maintain a consistent line on the US role in Syria: Defeating ISIS? Let others solve the issue? Or "punish" the Assad regime for the use of chemical weapons?
“In theory, there is not necessarily an inconsistency between a targeted, multilateral strike against chemical weapons sites and the withdrawal of troops that have been fighting ISIS. But the strike does really call into question the wisdom of pulling back American forces now in highlighting the question of what our objective really is in Syria,” said Meghan O'Sullivan, deputy national security adviser during the Bush administration, to the New York Times.
As the media continues, the attack "essentially left in place the status quo on the ground. It did very little if anything to weaken Mr. Assad beyond any chemical weapons stores it destroyed, leaving him to continue waging war on his own people through conventional means."
In fact, and according to Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser Colin H. Kahl, President Trump "wisely avoided hitting regime targets where there was a significant risk of killing Russians."
From the other side, the attack has been seen in a totally different way.
As reported by the Washington Post, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "praised" the Russian weaponry on Sunday, while "his government celebrated victory over rebels" in the area where the alleged chemical attack took place more than a week ago.
Despite Trump’s celebration on his "enormous success" in the attack, in Syria "it is being interpreted as a win for Assad because the limited scope of the strikes suggested that Western powers do not intend to challenge his rule", the Post continues.
And what is a victory for Assad is, irremediably, a victory for Putin.
"Yesterday we saw the American aggression, and we were able to counter it with Soviet missiles manufactured in the 1970s," Assad said on Sunday, as quoted by the Russian news media.
To all eyes, this "delicate" attack only aimed to maintain a facet of rudeness, avoiding touching, even with a petal, Russian interests.
"Vladimir Putin has yet another piece of evidence that President Donald Trump will steer away from a direct confrontation with him, even though, in any kind of military conflict in the Middle East, it would be the Russians, not the Americans, who by far would have the worst of it," Cohen continues.
From March 15, 2011, to March 11, 2018, around 500,000 people have died in the Syrian territory, according to data from the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, of which 353,935 are civilians (meaning children, women, youth, adults, and people in general who never took sides).
Similarly, since October 17, 2012, the al-Assad regime has carried out 84 chemical attacks on its population, claiming the lives (in a slow and tortuous way) of almost 1,100 people, especially children, according to data from the United Nations.
Meanwhile, western governments continue to turn a blind eye, avoiding tripping over themselves inside the territory, and attacking useless corners that only make them seem weak before the Syrian regime.
For a government that toppled Saddam Hussein in 1998 in just four days; which killed Osama Bin Laden in two days in 2011, the United States has simply fallen short of its support for the Syrian people.
"We thought it would be much bigger than this," said Syrian journalist and activist Ahmed Primo. "Assad might have used chemical weapons this time, but he’s been indiscriminately targeting civilians for years. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed; hundreds of thousands of people have been disappeared. After seven years of war, we don’t believe that anyone will come to help the Syrian people anymore," the Post quoted.
— أَحمَد بريمو | Primo (@PrimoAhmad) 10 de abril de 2018
Opposition journalist Hadi Abdallah agrees on this when he wrote on Twitter that "according to the cowardly statements and the weak attack by the West, Assad is allowed to use all kinds of weapons to kill us except the chemicals. The international community has set him free as a monster to annihilate the Syrian people."
حسب التصريحات الجبانة والهجمات الضعيفة للغرب يسمح للأسد استخدام كافة الأسلحة لقتلنا إلا الكيماوي ، فبعد أن قتل الاسد مئات الآلاف وهجر الملايين يتواطئ المجتمع الدولي مجدداً معه و يتركه وحشاً طليقاً مستمراً في إبادة الشعب السوري.#امريكا_تضرب_الاسد
— هادي العبدالله Hadi (@HadiAlabdallah) 14 de abril de 2018