The other day, US President Donald Trump’s administration appeared to suffer from immense envy of its predecessors who previously unleashed wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Vietnam and against a number of other states. This must be the only logical explanation as to why he decided to prove himself as global sheriff by ordering missile strikes against an air base that was being routinely used by the Syrian Air Force in the province of Homs.
The US President appeared eager to show his utter lack of interests towards any sort of formal international investigations that could properly and legally assign responsibility for the alleged chemical weapons attack which occurred in the vicinity of the Syrian city of Idlib. Instead he appeared to prefer to rush ahead, neglecting international law, just like his predecessor, thus crossing the so-called red line that Washington has often advised other states to never cross.
But Trump’s act was hardly a surprise for international analysts, having been demonstrating his political impotence at home since his inauguration. But, as it’s been noted, back in August 2013, Trump exhorted his predecessor not to intervene in Syria after a chemical attack near Damascus that American intelligence services rushed to blame on to the Syrian military. Back then Trump would plea:
President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your “powder” for another (and more important) day!)
Additionally, Trump would argue that for such actions the then US President was bound to obtain the approval of Congress. At the same time, just the other day, he felt reluctant to answer journalists who fielded questions about the legal grounds for his recent attack on Syria, while Senator Rand Paul already accused Donald Trump of a direct violation of the US Constitution.
Additionally, there’s been a lot of publications lately that would report Washington’s plan to use yet another chemical provocation to strike Syria. For instance, an article titled U.S. ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime’ was published by the British newspaper Daily Mail as early as January 29, 2013. According to this publication, Qatar was supposed to sponsor false flag attacks that the so-called rebel forces could and would blame on Assad.
In this regard, it is noteworthy that the recent events follow the script described by the Daily Mail, but the article itself has disappeared from the site of the British newspaper for mysterious reasons and now it can now be found only at alternative sites which republished it.
It is felt that the “merits” of Trump’s predecessors – George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama – leave the sitting US President restless. Indeed, in the 21st century every US president had his own war in the Middle East, or even multiple conflicts. The recent missile attack, Trump figures, will secure for himself his place in history, putting him in line with those people who occupied the White House before him.
But the pre-planned nature of chemical provocation in Syria is now the only curious detail in Trump’s plans. It is noteworthy that the very moment that America’s Tomahawk missiles were unleashed against Syria, China’s leader Xi Jinping was visiting the United States on an official visit. This fact has put the Chinese leader in the shoes of an immediate witness of US armed aggression against an independent UN member state, which was done in hopes that his reaction to the unraveling events might be “carefully weighed”.
Additional attention should also be drawn to the fact that, simultaneously with the US missile strike, ISIS militants launched an attack against the positions of the Syrian army along the Homs-Furqlus-Palmyra route. Both the Pentagon and ISIS militants are well aware that the Syrian air base that was attacked on Friday night by cruise missiles plays a pivotal role in supporting government forces in the fight against terrorist organizations operating in this area. This fact, along with a string of publications about the special relations that Washington has been enjoying with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, shows that the US remains determined to use terrorists to pursue its goals in the region. It is for this reason that the US has repeatedly refused to provide Russia with information about the location of certain terrorist groups in Syria, since the Russian Air Force would spare no time in destroying them. It is also a well known fact that American military instructors have been deployed in Syria for years, which was confirmed when many of them were found leaving Aleppo along with terrorists through various humanitarian corridors the Syrian army created.
As for Washington’s accusations about the use of chemical weapons by Damascus, one should recall that Damascus took Moscow’s advice when on September 10, 2013, Syria agreed to place its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control. On June 23, 2014, it was announced that the last stash of chemical weapons was removed from the Syrian soil for its subsequent destruction. The head of the OPCW, Ahmet Üzümcü, stated last year that the process of destroying Syria’s chemical stockpiles was completed.
However, around that time ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra militants began the development of their own chemical stockpiles. This was confirmed by the Syrian and Russian military which found warehouses stocked with chlorine and white phosphorus in liberated Aleppo, while reporting additional evidence about the possible presence of sarin and mustard gas stockpiles that were evacuated just before the fall of the city.
So, if someone’s actions are to be investigated, the international community should carefully examine the steps recently taken by Washington, which has once again exhibited dangerous, unprovoked military aggression in direct defiance of international law.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”