In response to alleged gas attacks against civilians in Syria, U.S President Donald Trump, alongside the UK and France has made a decision to initiate tactical strikes against the Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Furthermore, he has proposed that further strikes are plausible if the regime does not stop oppressing and violently mistreating its citizens.
About 120 missiles targeted three main sites: a research centre near Damascus; a storage facility near Homs, thought to be the “primary location” of Syrian sarin gas; and a nearby storage facility that also served as a command post.
President Trump claims that the attack was conducted in order to “establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons” and that the U.S is “prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May also claimed how this “is not about intervening in a civil war…it is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties”.
Both Australia and Canada have endorsed the attacks, with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stating how it was a “calibrated, proportionate and targeted response.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May claims that Russia used its veto power in the Security Council to prevent a proper international investigation of the chemical weapons used in the Syrian civil war. This comes admist years of collaboration between Vladmir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, therefore, making the veto of international inspections rather suspicious and worrisome.
Thus, due to this Syria-Russia alliance, there are now concerns about conflict between the US and Russia. This is especially pertinent as just one week earlier Trump was proposing to pull U.S troops out of Syria, a possible sign of protecting his military personnel against such a conflict.
Russian Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, claimed that Russia is “being threatened” and how it “warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.”
The concerns surrounding whether this is a major pre-cursor to a larger global conflict are still relevant. It is concerning that military action is still perceived as the most valid response to global issues, particularly in places where humanitarian and refugee crises are already so pressing. The people of Syria and the Middle East do not need more bombs, bullets and missile strikes, but instead more humanitarian aid and consideration. This is in spite of all the aforementioned claims from politicians and world leaders about it being a necessary and reasonable attack. Regardless of whether the attack was done justly, it is most likely not the best solution especially when there are others available.
The Middle East has been a major conflict zone for decades, from the Soviet Invasion of 1979, the two Gulf Wars, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Afghanistan, Iran’s radicalization, and now ISIS alongside the Syrian civil war. The complexities of the region’s politics are a major catalyst for these conflicts. It is, therefore, crucial that world leaders seek to understand the origins and beliefs of these regimes as a means of trying to mitigate further violence in the area. Likewise, further peaceful political discourse is a necessity in order for the issues in the Middle-East to be solved. A stronger emphasis on aid and cross-national collaboration (i.e diplomacy) is a strong starting point in terms of looking for an alternative. This region is tired of conflict, so the antithesis is something much more desirable.