By: Hamada Al Kohly
In early hours of Saturday morning, US President Donald Trump announced that he has ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian regime.
The United States, along with Britain and France, has hit a number of military bases and installations in the capital Damascus and its environs. But soon after, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that mission accomplished, adding that there would be no further strikes.
US officials said that approximately between 110 and 120 missiles were fired into Syria targeting military sites.
Here, we are going to clarify the situation in Syria as following:
- What is happening in Syria cannot be considered a political crisis caused by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his people. Instead, it may be interpreted as a global confrontation and a power struggle between major powers and regional countries. The three countries' strikes against Syria is a clear evident of this conflict, as they decided to hit Syria without waiting for an international investigation into the use of chemical weapons by Assad's regime.
- The strikes' main aim could be to maintain the American pride against the Russian militancy, to avoid a Russian-American clash. Besides, the strikes may aim at undermining reasons that could lead to a third world war.
- The United States, Britain and France have clearly showed their big fear of Russia through targeting sites not directly related to Moscow's presence in Syria.
- On reality, the strikes of the three countries on Syria have not left political or geopolitical impacts on Syria. President Bashar al-Assad is still in his position and the military presence on reality in Syria has not changed either for the Syrian army or for its allies from Russia and Iran. Moreover, the United States has not achieved military success on reality.
- The keenness of US Secretary of Defense to made a statement shortly after hitting Syria is a message from the three countries to Russia that strikes are limited and there is need to respond to them.
- There are two important indicators confirm that there is US-Russian coordination regarding this strike and that there will be no Russian response. The first of which is the announcement made by Russian Defense Ministry that it has not participated in repulsing the attacks on Syria. Moreover, US chief of staff said that there was just some initial surface to air missile activity from the Syrian regime. The second most important indicator is the statement made by the French Defense Minister, in which he said that France has informed Russia before launching the strikes.
- In addition, all parties are keen to avoid the deterioration of the situation or starting a third world war. Thus, the concerned parties were informed of the strike's time. In this regard, Ankara announced it was informed of the strikes' date before its launching.
- The United States, UK and France are talking about the success of the military operation, while the Syrian media outlets are talking about its limitations and that it left only a few Syrians injured. However, the strike's impact on its targets will identify its outcomes.
- The contribution of France and UK to launching strikes on Syria is important for the United States, which tries to legitimize its attacks as it an international position on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army.
- A new show of force of US-allies against Russia in the Middle East. Over 100 missiles were launched, and about 12 US warships were used in the attack, which is the biggest since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The ships include aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), which can carry 90 aircraft, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, and five destroyers and cruisers. In addition, four destroyers are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea, including USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, USS Carney and USS Ross. They are accompanied by two nuclear-powered submarines, Georgia and John Warner. Additionally, the British Ministry of Defense announced it had used four Royal Air Force Tornado JR-4 fighter jets to launch Storm Shadow missiles at one of the facilities near Homs. Meanwhile, France has participated in the operation through its Rafal warplanes.
- The attacks are a strong message to Iran and Hezbollah. They can be seen as a warning to the two sides of their military presence in Syria.
- The Turkish stand from the attacks is not strange, as Ankara considered the strike as an "appropriate" response.
- Guterich called on all sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation. This means that all parties involved in the crisis are responsible for the deterioration of the situation.
- It seems that the United States, Russia and the major powers will return again to coordinate and negotiate on sharing power in Syria.
The US-led strikes indicate the escalating tension between Trump and the so-called deep state in the United States. The deep state rejected to launch a military strike against Syria and opposed Trump's approach. The attacks of the three countries could be seen as a compromise between the two sides.
- The tension between Trump and the deep state has escalated before when Trump called for a withdrawal from Syria, while the deep state opposed this direction, considering it as an insurmountable defeat.
- The deep state believes that the extended war in Syria implicates the United States in confrontations that are rejected internally and externally.
- Trump insists on embarrassing the deep state, particularly after the escalation of tension between them over sending investigators to the house of his lawyer. The US president believes that this is the best time to control the deep state, as it is easy to use the chemical gas file to influence the American public opinion.
- Therefore, Trump also wants to say that, he is not an agent for Russia and that Moscow did not bring him to the presidency of the United States.
Shelling Syria today did not require the approval of Congress, as what was happened can be described as a participation of the United States in a military operation not a declaration of war. This helped in facilitating Trump's mission to make such important decision.