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Why Did the U.S. Really Strike Syria? What You’re Not Being Told

The whole world is trying to make sense of America’s reckless decision to launch air strikes against the Syrian government. The strikes against Syria came in light of the fact that they were ordered by a president who infamously wondered on Twitter in 2013:

“What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict?”

He also astutely noted that “Obama needs congressional approval.”

It is hard to make sense of the recent series of events. Essentially, the mainstream media’s narrative is that just days after the U.S. announced it was seriously considering leaving Assad alone, Assad decided to commit political suicide by conducting a chemical weapons attack against civilians, one that would have certainly drawn international condemnation and a possible war with the American military. Why would he do that?

Something doesn’t add up.

It’s difficult to put the pieces together at such an early stage of these recent developments, but there are at least two things worth highlighting here.

First, Russia has condemned the assault as an act of aggression and has stated this may ultimately destroy Russia-U.S. ties. Russia has also suspended an agreement reached in 2015 that ensured U.S. and Russian aircraft would not collide with each other in Syrian airspace.

The Trump administration distinguished itself quite significantly from the Clinton campaign in 2016 by pushing for closer ties with Russia and stating that in Syria, the focus would be on ISIS — not Assad. According to leaks within the intelligence community, this was the job of Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was in the process of offering Russia a deal regarding the lifting of sanctions. Once these leaks ousted Flynn from the government, he was replaced by General H.R. McMaster, a staunch cold warrior.

Since his appointment, McMaster has been incredibly busy. He reportedly ousted Stephen Bannon from the Trump administration just days ago. Most importantly, however, McMaster was the one who actually briefed Trump on the military proposal to strike Syria.

Let that sink in for a moment. Would Flynn have made these same proposals to directly attack a Russian ally?

The second thing worth highlighting is that the missile strike in Syria came moments after Trump met with China’s president, Xi Jinping. Trump has been embroiled in a war of words with China and, in particular, China’s close ally North Korea. Trump just recently threatened that if China did not keep a lid on North Korea, the U.S. would act unilaterally.

In that context, Trump’s decision to strike Syria may not have been just about Syria. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, only 23 of the 59 missiles launched actually struck their target in what Russia perceived as an inefficient and “poor” strike. Since the attack occurred, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also stated that U.S. policy remains unchanged, highlighting the fact that this may have been a one-time strike.

If that is the case, the strike may have been intended to do minimal damage, as its sole purpose was to send a shocking warning to China and Russia that they will act militarily against their closest allies. In light of this, it would not be too much of a stretch to speculate that it was also a possible test to see how these two nuclear powers would respond in turn.

The Trump administration, a team of warmongers who have been infatuated with a war against Iran, may have learned a valuable lesson regarding Russia’s ability to directly defend its allies in the region against the American military. Although this particular strike may have been a one-time event, determining how adept Russia is at responding may ultimately shape what is to come next. As Iran continues to remain a direct threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East, it’s also possible Trump may be considering expanding these strikes in the near future with a goal of directly targeting Syria and Iran.

Either way, this recent American strike on a sovereign nation in direct contravention of international law is likely to pave the way for some frightening developments in the very near future.

Darius Shahtahmasebi
Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst, currently specializing in immigration, refugee and humanitarian law. Contact Darius: Support Darius' work on Patreon:

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