US military action in Syria-a devastating option


There is a likelihood of an imminent military confrontation between Russia and Western allies in the eastern Mediterranean after Moscow has vetoed a U.S.-drafted UN Security Council resolution that would have established a new body to determine blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria’s Damascus. While US blocked Russia’s attempt to set up an international investigation into the chemical attacks in the war-ravaged country.

Twelve council members voted in favour in the 15-member Security Council, Bolivia joined Russia in voting “no,” and China abstained when the resolution was moved to investigate the April 7 attack in Douma which killed at least 40 people.

The US has been training, arming and supporting the Free Syrian Army (consisting of jihadist groups) with air strikes and other actions.

The US and its European allies have accused the Assad regime of being behind the attack in the rebel-held area of Douma, but Russia has accused the US and its allies of using it as a pretext to attack Syria as no trace of chemical weapons could be found at the site and argued that the attack didn’t take place or it was staged by rebels to provide a pretext for western military intervention.

Along with US destroyer Donald Cook, the French frigate Aquitaine has been deployed armed with cruise missiles in the Eastern Mediterranean and Russian warplanes buzzed over the war vessels and warned that all missiles fired at Syria will be shot down.

Meanwhile, Assad regime has invited inspectors from the watchdog the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Syria to investigate the Douma chemical attack to avert the impending attack by US and its allies.

Trump’s US foreign policy on Syrian crisis has been inconsistent… One year ago in 2017, the president ordered a missile strike against an airbase in Syria under nearly identical circumstances.

US President Donald Trump in early April announced that he wants US troops to leave Syria as Washington’s primary mission” of fighting the Islamic State terrorist group is “almost completed but Army General Joseph Votel, the head of US Central Command said he  is in favour of continuing role for the military in Syria because of Pentagon
officials oppose the idea of allowing Russia and Iran assissting Assad to stabilize Damascus.

Taking into account the actual developments, why Assad will use chemical weapons at a time when Trump was contemplating to pull out of Syria.

Now, with new US National Security Adviser John Bolton in the White House, his first test is how he will resolve the Syria crisis when Trump has threatened to punish Assad by attacking Syria militarily.

Bolton, who was a part of the Bush administration’s charge into Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts that are still witnessing sectarian divisions, attacks with no stable government even after a decade.

Whether Bolton will advise President to move ahead with military action or diplomatic resolution ie yet to be seen.But for sure, there is greater uncertainty and apprehensions about the result if Trump moves ahead with the robust use of US military power, the entire region will become unstable and will have repercussions in Asia at large.

It is advisable that Bolton should be cautious in deciding the military action as he has to first establish facts and shape action options and also make the President aware of the drawbacks of a military decision.

ANother question which is pertinent is Trump is not in favour of 10-year of US troops commitment in Syria. Trump wants a proportionate response.

The military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq shows that military has no solution although diplomacy can find a suitable resolution.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia would support any proportionate action.“I am not going to comment on US military actions. But if the United States does carry out an airstrike in response to this use of chemical weapons against citizens then Australia would support any action that is targeted calibrated and proportionate,” she said.

The most relevant answer to the unstable Middle East and the inconsistent foreign policy of Trump lies on many factors

Feeling unease over its shrinking influence in the Middle East stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf and Arabian Sea,Saudi is making an attempt to curtail Iran’s regional hegemony by pursuing military campaign in Yemen backed by US,provided financial assistance and weapons to anti-Assad forces in Syria to promote regime change and is also making contacts with potential groups in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s long tour of the United States, Britain Egypt and France reflected that an alliance is in place consisting of US, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other allies to attack Syria while another alliance consisting of Russia, China and Iran supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Trump has declared Saudi Arabia and Israel as US close allies and is shaping its foreign policy as per Riyadh and Tel Aviv strategic interests.

Israel and Riyadh has been countering the growing regional influence of Iran in the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Trump urged a “strong response from the international community” to the alleged chemical attack in Douma. Macron said he would make a decision “in the coming days,” and even discussed potential targets.

The main aim of the military conflict or a bigger war is to curtail Iran’s power projection onto the Mediterranean region.

Thus all the developments in the region show how the world institutions such as United Nations have failed to act and stabilise the Middle East and address the great game of power struggle between Saudi and Iran, the threat posed by Sunni-based extremist groups that has created world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis in the region.

The events in the world are now being influenced by propaganda campaigns using techniques of social media and the world powers and their allies have turned Syria into a battleground for deciding their supremacy in this strategic region.The US is the main significant contributor to the regional turmoil that started from Tunisia in 2010 (spring revolution) and now if US President Trump opts for military action in Syria than the war will be long drawn (another decade of war) and destructive in nature which will destabilise entire Asia.

Blog : By Arti Bali,

(Senior Journalist)

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