UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – From the point of view of moral indignation, the expected punitive action against Bashar Assad for the massacre of civilians with the help of chemical weapons in the Duma is justified. She did not have any military objectives. Thanks to an alliance with Russia and Iran, Assad won the civil war, and the world will have to accept this.
The punitive action also has no “pedagogical” purposes. Assad is a recidivist, and if he deems it necessary, he again uses poisonous substances as a means of fighting civilians.
Assad did not come to terms after President Trump issued 65 cruise missiles a year ago against Syrian military targets, and there is no reason to think that the future punitive action would scare him.
When punitive actions do not set themselves military goals, as well as the goals of “pedagogical”, they will scarcely deter other despots from using such methods, especially if they (despots) can count on Russian protection in the Security Council; there is only one solid reason for punishment of Assad: this is revenge.
This motive can not be underestimated, but if you take into account the risks associated with actions aimed at punishing, it may be appropriate to ask: will it not be in vain? Despite the scale of the punitive action, the military power of Assad will be quickly restored with the help of Russia. Vladimir Putin has invested so much resources in the Assad regime and has received so many benefits from the alliance with him that he will simply have to restore what “smart” Trump missiles will turn into ruins.
Add to this the fact that if he turns away from Syria, the regime of the clergy in Iran also likes to intervene. Between Moscow and Tehran there is an inconspicuous struggle for power for influence over Damascus after the end of the civil war. Moscow wants, on the one hand, to limit Iran’s influence, but it depends in part on Iran’s military support for Assad.
Moscow can protect Assad only from the air, while the survival of Assad is provided by the Iranian militias. Hezbollah and various militia groups, consisting of Shiite volunteers from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which Tehran organizes and directs on the battlefield to Syria.
The action of retaliation against Assad, let’s call things by their proper names, has already lost some of its effectiveness because of the chosen moment. If it was taken a few hours after it became clear about the mass murder with the help of toxic gas, it would have the character of immediate reaction. But it followed much later than the crime itself and bears a clear imprint of the US indecision, the lack of strategy for the Americans, and fear of unforeseen consequences, which all strategists fear. What will happen if an American cruise missile mistakes a Russian target by mistake, which will result in casualties among Russians? And what will happen if the Syrian anti-aircraft defense, which has one of the best Russian anti-aircraft missiles in service, will hit American or French planes? And how will Putin react to the attack on his ally? The latest threats to Tehran against Israel have caused American warnings that the US forces will be immediately ready to intervene if Iran comes up with a revenge action against Israel. Last week, Israeli planes attacked an Iranian military facility near Homs, where a unit of Iranian drones is stationed in Syria. The commandant of the facility, the Iranian colonel, was killed. Last week, Israeli planes attacked an Iranian military facility near Homs, where a unit of Iranian drones is stationed in Syria. The commandant of the facility, the Iranian colonel, was killed. Last week, Israeli planes attacked an Iranian military facility near Homs, where a unit of Iranian drones is stationed in Syria. The commandant of the facility, the Iranian colonel, was killed.
Or will Putin give the order to shoot down US missiles, and all the action will end in vain?
At the moment, the revenge action has no clear purpose, especially when its consequences can well take on such proportions that will significantly exceed Assad’s crime in the Duma.
It’s only clear that Trump and his new advisers, John Bolton, national defense adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the new foreign minister, can proceed from the fact that Vladimir Putin does not want to be dragged into an open conflict with the US. In several previous cases, Putin showed restraint in Syria, which indicates a strategically painted composure. American missiles directed against his ally, Assad, will not force Putin to abandon what he focuses on as his main goal: namely, to replace the US as a force with the main political influence in the region, the main mediator and peacemaker who does not use conflicts, but tries to solve them in order to obtain the best conditions for the development of trade, especially weapons, the construction of nuclear power plants, on good terms and demanding nothing.