The U.S., U.K. and France launched joint military strikes on Syria ruled by President Bashar al-Assad, claiming that their attacks are in protest of his administration’s use of chemical weapons.
It would be absolutely inexcusable if the Asaad regime used inhumane weapons against its own people. If so, Russia, which backs the government, should be also blamed. But the punitive use of force would only put Syria into a deeper disarray. It becomes also necessary to chart a path to peacemaking to bring the civil war, which has entered its eighth year, to a close.
The Asaad forces are suspected of having dropped bombs containing toxic gas in the suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus, home to the anti-government force.
U.S. President Donald Trump denounced these actions as the “crime of a monster” and determined that the Asaad government used chemical weapons. Britain and France also joined the strikes and destroyed chemical weapons facilities with cruise missiles.
In 2013, the Asaad government promised to abolish all of its facilities to develop chemical weapons, but suspicions grew stronger repeatedly that the regime may have used chemical weapons. It would be heinous if the Middle Eastern nation continued to deceive the international community and kept chemical weapons for use. Thorough inspections must be launched. For this reason, it becomes essential for the international community to keep applying pressure.
President Trump, who commanded the strikes against Syria, probably wanted to demonstrate his strong determination not to allow Syria to use chemical weapons and let his domestic supporters know about his strong resolve.
But on a different scene, he mentioned the early withdrawal of the U.S. forces from Syria. His ad hoc approach is not aimed at seeking the stabilization of Syria but aimed at winning over public support. This is adding to the Syrian turmoil.
The question remains over whether President Trump decided to use force by gauging the impact on Iran, which confronts the U.S. over the continuation of a nuclear deal, and on North Korea, which is moving toward dialogue.
The use of force by the U.S., Britain and France can threaten the Asaad administration, but it won’t weaken the influence of the regime, which is making steady efforts to regain control over occupied territory. But Russia is criticizing the three nations’ recent attacks.
Russia’s relationships with the U.S. and Europe have been deteriorating of late through deportation of each other’s diplomats. If this division widens, tension may intensify furthermore.
The civil war in Syria remains unresolved for such a long period because confrontation lingers between Russia, the U.S. and other nations behind the conflict and the international community failed to act as an intermediary. This must not be forgotten.
The tension in the Middle East is sending oil prices high and having other economic impacts such as the change of route by commercial planes. How to bring the tragedy of the civil war to an end will matter most.