UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – In an analysis published by the newspaper Rai al-Youm , Abdel Bari Atwan looked at the latest developments in Syria and recent threats of attack by Washington against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
At the beginning of his article, the columnist of Rai al-Youm writes: “The tone of the American authorities who multiply threats against Damascus hardens day by day. US President Donald Trump has personally insulted his Syrian counterpart and UN ambassador Nikki Haley has addressed the same insults to Russia for its support of Damascus. An alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta that Washington and its allies attribute to the Syrian army is the pretext for these threats and insults from the authorities of the American administration.”
However, Abdel Bari Atwan believes that the rude language of the Trump administration authorities is not a sign of power or self-confidence, but shows a fall and weakness against the adversaries.
The author adds that it must be stressed, however, that this is not the case for the entire political and military elite of the United States. Indeed, there are people in the United States who take a different look at the current developments in Syria and do not have the same opinion as the Trump administration about the accusations against the Syrian government regarding the suspected use of chemical substances in Douma, eastern Ghouta region. Among these people is retired US Army Colonel Pat Lang, a former intelligence officer who served for several years in the Middle East.
In a letter to the US Secretary of Defense, Pat Lang asked him to consider other contingencies in the chemical substances case in Duma. Pat Lang points out that the innervating agent was eventually used by members of the armed groups encircled in Duma to then allocate to the Syrian army a chemical weapon, which would allow the Western media to use it to accuse Damascus. All this is to prepare the ground for American and Western military intervention in Syria.
In his letter, Pat Lang recalls that armed groups suffered a military defeat in Eastern Ghouta. Many of their elements were transferred with their families to Jerablus in northern Syria on the Turkish border. In such a situation, why should the Syrian army have used chemical weapons? Pat Lang concluded that before any military action, the United States and its partners should send a team to the field to investigate the case.
Yet Abdel Bari Atwan believes that the US Secretary of Defense will not listen to this advice, and this for one simple reason: in retaliation for the failure of the Syrian plans of the White House, the decision has already been made in Washington to to carry out military action in Syria against Syrian targets and even Russian and Iranian targets.
Donald Trump says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible for the use of chemicals in Duma. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned that her country would conduct a military strike with or without a Security Council resolution.
The editorialist of Rai al-Youm stresses that most likely Washington will not listen to the government of Damascus, which is willing to cooperate with the investigators of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Ghouta Eastern.
Trump, who had declared a week ago wanting to withdraw his military forces from Syria, decided to cancel his trip to Lima, the capital of Peru, where he wanted to attend the Summit of the Americas on Friday and Saturday. At the same time, the US president sent an aircraft carrier equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles to the eastern Mediterranean.
According to Abdel Bari Atwan, there is every reason to believe that after the Israeli F-15s raid the airbase, a new aggression against Syria by US, British and French military forces is to be expected.
The author recalls, however, that an imminent US military aggression against Syria will not change the situation on the ground: the Syrian army has managed to free most of its territory and will continue its operation to liberate totally Duma, last bastion of armed groups in Eastern Ghouta, to stop the firing of mortar shells and rockets on the capital. In addition, “with or without American and Western military strike in the next few hours, no one will be able to talk about Assad’s fate or his withdrawal from power,” writes Abdel Bari Atwan.
The editorialist of Rai al-Youm believes that there is only one thing that could change the reality in Syria: a large US military intervention comparable to that which took place in Iraq in 2003. Yet, such a scenario would be very unlikely, because its realization would have very negative consequences for the United States, not to mention the risk of a direct confrontation with Russia, whose forces are present in Syria in several military bases.
Abdel Bari Atwan believes that President Donald Trump has already put himself in a difficult situation, as he threatened everyone with his retaliatory attacks. It is very difficult for him to withdraw his threats, because that would be an admission of weakness. The author predicts that the tripartite strikes with the contribution of the British and the French would be rather a “theatrical gesture”. In this sense, Trump’s generals could choose purely Syrian targets to carefully avoid any friction with the Russians or other allies in Damascus. And all the more so since recently, the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, General Valery Gerasimov, has announced bluntly that in the event of a threat against Russian military forces in Syria, Moscow would not be limited to intercept enemy missiles,
“For the moment, President Vladimir Putin is silent about US threats, and I believe it is the silence of a powerful and confident person facing the din of weak adversaries,” writes Atwan. “Insulted in Afghanistan, despised in Iraq and deceived in Libya, Russia will never accept defeat in Syria,” the author adds.