A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

US President Donald Trump signs more overtime pay for the US Secret Service, April 6 2018. White House photo, by Shealah Craighead

At a time when Donald Trump, the US President of ‘America first’ had just urged his military to leave Syria, the gas attack in Douma, near Damascus seems to change the prospect for Washington abandoning this country to Assad, Putin, Erdogan and the Iranians. Last Saturday, more than 60 people died and about 1000 were severely wounded in this tormented Syrian city, the last ditch of anti-Assad rebels in the area of Eastern Ghouta, close to capital Damascus. It was the first province seven years ago to have risen against the Assad regime. Independent sources say poisonous gas bombs spread a deadly mix of sarin and chlorine, but this has not been confirmed by independent bodies.

Trump accused Assad and the Russians for the gas attack and actually he has even mentioned President Putin possibly as personally responsible. “This is about humanity. We’re talking about humanity. It can’t be allowed to happen” he said. According to Reuters, when asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin may be responsible for the attack, Trump replied, “He may, yeah, he may. And if he does it’s going to be very tough, very tough.”

Washington threatens Moscow

The Russians and the Assad regime have denied any implication in the attack. They accused the Americans of staging the whole affair in order to create a justification base for a strike. In any case, the relevant UN body has already “documented 33 chemical attacks in Syria, attributing 27 to the Assad government, which has repeatedly denied using the weapons”. One year ago, the Americans fired a ballistic missile from a ship in the Eastern Mediterranean and hit a key Assad government/Russia military air base, bringing the confrontation with Moscow to a dangerous point. Reportedly, on that occasion, the airplanes which had fired gas bombs had flown form that airport.

This time, however, it’s rather Israel to have instantly responded to that. According to well informed sources, F-15 Israeli airplanes flying in Lebanon’s air space, hit a Syrian government air base near the city of Homes. Reportedly, 14 people were killed in this Tivas or T-4 air base. Unconfirmed information says a number of Iranians were amongst the victims. If this is so, the Israeli attack makes sense, given that Tel Aviv has repeatedly accepted striking positions in Syria at times and places where the Iranian fighters’ presence was very strong.

A poisonous atmosphere

Still, to this day, it has not being defined what kind of poisonous gas was used last Saturday in Douma, or even if there was a gas attack at all as the Assad/Russia side alleges. Only the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) based in the Netherlands can do that in a reliable way. The experts of this last body have ascertained in the past – not without difficulties in accessing the right cites – that the Assad regime has used sarin and chlorine poisonous gases against the rebels. On those occasions, Damascus had answered that the government forces had confronted mustard gas attacks by the ISIS-Islamic State fighters.

Whatever the results of a future UN or OPCW forensics examination in Douma, the truth remains that only hours after the alleged gas attack, the Assad government/Russia forces completed the occupation of the entire Eastern Ghouta region, adjacent to Damascus. All along the seven years war, this region was held by rebels confronting successfully the Assad regime. By regaining control of this area, Damascus secures its grip in the entire south east part of the country. It’s a major win for the regime and its backers in Moscow, comparable to the taking of Aleppo.

Russian gains

In one word, the Damascus government and its Russian supporters become so far the real winners of the war, securing the control of more than half of the Syrian soil. By the same token, the US plus France and Britain intervention in the Syrian affair failed to accomplish its strategic target, to chase away Assad. He and his regime now proves that there cannot be a final political solution to the entire Syrian problem without him and his Russian backers.

No wander then why Washington, together with Paris and London felt obliged to raise the issue of the alleged gas attack high and actually threaten Russia with direct military retaliation. Last Monday, Trump went as far as to say that the White House will soon answer with force and that “the United States had a lot of options militarily on Syria”. However, even if the US decide to hit a major Assad military target with missiles fired from ships sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean, the military situation on the ground won’t change. Assad and Moscow will remain on the winning side. The West’s insistence to ‘punish’ those who fired the poisonous gas bombs is then just a face saving gesture. Not to forget, Trump only one week ago had urged his military leaders to prepare a full withdrawal from Syria.

The US won’t leave

Undoubtedly though, there are other voices within the American administration and of course in Tel-Aviv, rejecting any idea of an American departure from Syria. Israel is watching with horror its deadly enemies in Tehran, having constructed a well controlled corridor from the Iranian borders, through north Iraq and Syria and from there to Lebanon and the Mediterranean with the Iran affiliated Hezbollah. This last Shiite organization, a very close ally of Tehran, is the most powerful political/military movement in Lebanon, effectively retaining a grip on the country’s future.

Actually, this reality has led both Israel and Saudi Arabia to come to terms between them and start a close political and security cooperation. Their aim is to jointly put a stop to the growing Middle East influence of their common arch enemy, Iran. This said, the strong sway of Israel in the US Administration and the decisive presence of the Jewish community in the US and more so in the White House will certainly neutralize Trump’s natural isolationist tendencies. As a result, the US won’t abandon Syria and probably will increase its implication in renewed and toughened fighting.

Unfortunately, all that means there is no end to the woes of the already dismembered country and her ill-fated people.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU budget: Stepping up the EU’s role as a security and defence provider

Statement by President von der Leyen on recent developments related to Iran and Iraq

The energy industry is changing. Are governments switched on?

Myanmar military leaders must face genocide charges – UN report

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

Climate change and health: Raising awareness is the key for greener actions

We have a space debris problem. Here’s how to solve it

The US reject EU proposal for prudential financial controls

The EU has to prove it can remain one piece

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

The EU Commission openly repudiates the austere economic policies

Drones, disinfectant, distancing – Europe’s beaches open up

Unemployment worries spike around the world as coronavirus remains top global concern

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

Post the pandemic: keeping our worlds turning

These rules could save humanity from the threat of rogue AI

Unemployment is down across the world’s largest economies

COVID-19: EU co-finances the delivery of more protective equipment to China

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

Climate change: new rules agreed to determine which investments are green

The EU’s Response to COVID-19

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into joint ventures proposed by Boeing and Embraer

4 things ISPs can do to reduce the impact of cybercrime

Implementation of EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EU mobilises €663 million in humanitarian assistance

Palestine refugee crisis ‘expanding’; leaving highest number at risk this century across Gaza

European Commission requests that Italy presents a revised draft budgetary plan for 2019

ECB’s new money bonanza handed out to help the real economy or create new bubbles?

From ‘dead on the inside’ to ‘truly alive’: Survivor of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda recounts her story as UN marks 25th anniversary

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

Huge data gaps’ hampering ‘evidence-based’ national migration policies

COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, UN health agency reveals

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

First-ever global conference of national counter-terrorism chiefs will strengthen cooperation, build ‘resilient’ States, says top UN official

COVID-19 tracing apps: MEPs stress the need to preserve citizens’ privacy

Almost there: Equal healthcare for LGBTQI+

Palestine refugees’ relief chief warns Security Council money to fund Gaza operations will run out in mid-June

We must learn and change after Haiti sexual abuse scandal -Oxfam chief

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

Health is nothing but the main consequence of climate change

Marco Polo’s Dream

Rural Bangladesh has already embraced renewable energy. Here’s what the rest of the world can learn

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

US now has most coronavirus cases in the world – Today’s coronavirus updates

UN chief lauds Fijians as ‘natural global leaders’ on climate, environment, hails ‘symbiotic relationship’ with land and sea

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

Lagarde: Keep feeding the banks cut down wages and food subsidies

Recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights in Europe and the world

Should Europe be afraid of the developing world?

Most fish consumers support a ban on fishing endangered species, poll finds

New rules allow EU consumers to defend their rights collectively

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

From Model T to EV: a short history of motor vehicle manufacturing

African elephants under continued threat of poaching, warns UN-backed report

This Dutch company has devised an innovative way to deal with food waste

Quicker freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in the EU

Euro celebrates its 20th birthday

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s