There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! President Trump has finally earned the right of passage to be the head of the United States government – he finally pushed the big red button that sends long range missiles to obliterate a faraway third world country! Just about every sitting American president has had a signature war – we’ve had Obama’s dismantling of Libya and drone war, George Bush Jnr’s escapades in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bill Clinton’s bombing of the Balkans, George Bush Snr’s Desert Storm, on and on they go in the name of ‘freedom’. It seems as if the only president who would’ve changed the course of this unsavoury history was J.F. Kennedy – and everybody knows what happened to that great man.
Donald Trump came to town as the maverick politician hell bent on cleaning out the establishment and purging the big corporations and military-industrial complex that had the American people on the edge of servitude. Man did he upset some people, turn heads and get souls glued to their tellies with his unorthodox, anti-status quo declarations. In the first few days of his presidency the Western media had us believe that he was somehow a puppet of Putin, that he was at loggerheads with the CIA and that he would keep America out of Syria. Of course, it was all just a game the Powers-that-be play with us sheeple.
President Trump has toned down his rhetoric and settling down to play his assigned role according to the same script others before him followed. There will be more wars and rumours of wars embellished with usual ‘honourable’ and overused ideas like freedom, democracy, R2P, etcetera, etcetera. The question for now is will Syria destined to be Iraq reloaded?
Syria has apparently been on America’s menu from the time of the short lived United Arab Republic. These notions began to gain credibility in the mid-2000s when a series of video interviews surfaced in which retired General Wesley Clarke, supreme commander of NATO forces during the 1999 bombing campaign on the former Yugoslavia is heard stating that the US had a hit-list of 7 countries (1). This list included the countries of Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Iran, and Yemen. So far Iraq has been invaded, the once prosperous Libya is in shambles, Yemen is under attack from US allied Saudi Arabia, and Somalia now has a foreign imposed government, whose authority does not extend outside the perimeter walls of the presidential palace propped up by the Kenyan military with funding and logistical support from the US. That leaves out Syria and Iran.
US overt plans to overthrow the Syrian government began in earnest with the onset of the so called pro-democracy protests of 2011, but which we now know were a smoke screen for an armed, foreign funded invasion. In early 2013 reports started flowing out of Western media outlets that President Obama woke up one morning and decreed that the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces ‘on civilians’ was a red line which once crossed would trigger a US military overthrow of president Assad. A few days into this proclamation - and very conveniently so, a chemical attack ‘innocent civilians’ in Ghouta was reported and immediately blamed on ‘the Syrian regime’. Screw a fact-finding investigation!
The red line had been crossed, and Obama was left with no option... But before he could get his thumb on the big red button, the Russians pulled a PR coup by very publicly proposing a plan to get rid of all of chemical weapons in the Syrian government’s hands. For obvious reasons the Syrian government acceded to this proposal and a clean up exercise began almost immediately afterwards (2).
Incidentally this event signalled the start of Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian conflict in support of the government. This involvement resulted in the famous liberation of Palmyra, the expulsion of ISIS and Islamic Militants from numerous villages and settlements as well as placing the Syrian army on a general offensive which culminated in the total liberation of Aleppo City. ISIS was on the backfoot, foreign funded Islamic militants were on the backfoot and suddenly the ‘Assad must go’ mantra did not make any sense. All the while several provocative airstrikes against the Syrian army and indeed Russian forces were launched by NATO, Turkey, and Israel using various excuses to justify them, but whose true intention was to entice a response from the Russians, who tactfully resisted this temptation.
Last week the US government openly and officially stated its intention to drop demands for president Assad ‘to go’. And then the ‘chemical attack’ happened. Western media outlets conferred upon themselves the roles of judge and jury, and in one night found president Assad guilty of unleashing the bioweapon Sarin gas on ‘innocent civilians’. Photos emerged of members of the now discredited ‘White Helmets’ attending to ‘victims’ of the attack: they bravely and quite interestingly did so without suitable protective gear – in some instances no gloves, no gas masks surrounded by crowds of onlookers. This was irrefutable ‘evidence’, presented in the seat of world government that Assad had indiscriminately gassed his own people.
Based on this ‘evidence’ president Trump launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a single airstrip ‘from which the chemical attacks were made’, resulting in the destruction of 6 fighter planes, and a few fuel tankers. To date there are no reports that the Tomahawks destroyed storage depots for munitions containing the Sarin gas (3, 4).
Now here’s the part that’s most interesting:
· The US informed Russia of its intention to strike the airbase a priori (5)
· Sections of the airbase housing Russian personnel were not targeted
· Syrian fatalities occurred during firefighting and salvage operations after the strike
· Only 23 of the cruise missiles reached their target (6) causing superficial damage
There is one probable conclusion: this US attack on the lone Syrian airbase was not meant to escalate the already convoluted situation in Syria, but rather for Trump to throw a bone to the US hawks, and media houses begging for a war with Syria – to show them that he too had the balls to push the big red button. It would be interesting to see how the Russians react in the next few days, although there is speculation that they had started acting soon after the first Tomahawk left its missile tube: how does one explain how 36 high-tech, million dollar GPS guided missiles could possibly go blind, lose their bearings and vanish into thin Syrian air? Who launches 59 state-of-the art guided missiles to neutralise 6 Soviet era jets parked on one airstrip?