No, the US-Led Assault on Syria Is Not the Beginning of Another World War

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The US, supported by the UK, France and Israel, launched an assault on Syria last week in retaliation for yet another incidence of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against their own countrymen. This latest assault has led many to wonder if another World War has begun.

It’s easy to think this way, given that sides have been drawn, with the US and its allies on one side, and Syria, Russia and Iran on the other. Aside from US President Donald Trump tweeting a warning for Russia to “get ready” for coming missiles aimed toward it, Russia in turn told its citizens what kind of goods they needed to stock in the event that they needed to seek refuge in a bunker.

However, despite the French President and British Prime Minister joining ranks with the US, it is more likely that very little will change in the situation in Syria. Nor will there be any real face-off between the US and Russia.

President Trump has sent mixed messages concerning Russia—on the one hand criticizing Russia’s alliance with Syria, and on the other, declaring that the investigation of Russian electoral interference to be “fake and corrupt” in a recent tweet. 

“Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!” The President wrote on April 11.

The truth is, the current US President is merely following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Barack Obama. There is virtually no difference in Obama’s and Trump’s policies concerning Syria, including supporting the  “Syrian Democratic Forces” a group made up mostly of Kurdish fighters, just as Mr. Obama had done.

Many Syrians who had rejoiced over the US-led assault were greatly disappointed at the announcement of Secretary of Defense James Matthis that the strikes would be “a one-time shot.” Indeed, it is hard to believe that President Trump has any depth of compassion for a people whom he has forbidden to come to the USA. Syrians, as well as other refugees, are finding it extremely difficult to enter the US, and even Syrians with valid work and student visas are facing hurdles in their way just to come to the US.

One only needs to look at the history of Mr. Trump’s tweets about Syria, and his well-known Islamophobia. He wrote in 2013 that “Many of the Syrian rebels are radical jihadi Islamists who are murdering Christians. Why would we ever fight with them?”

It is also good to bear in mind that there are other events that have had a significant impact on Syria, aside from the US strikes, such as the assault carried out by Israel in Homs. Three members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were killed in the Syrian airbase. Additionally, a brigade backed by Syria is set to commence action versus US forces in eastern Syria, making it more probable for the US to retaliate against these actions, rather than to pursue a change of leadership in Syria.

Most importantly, Russia itself has said little and done even less concerning Israel’s assaults on Syria. It is interesting to note that the air strikes launched by the US and its allies did not affect Syrian airspace that Russia controls. This is a glaring sign of coordination between the US and Russia, similar to coordination for past assaults as well, and should be enough assurance that the US and Russia will not start a global conflict.

In the meantime, President Trump’s decisive action against Syria has served to distract the American public from the FBI raid against Michael Cohen, his lawyer. And in Russia, citizens facing a worsening economic crisis were able to see their President standing up against an alliance of Western powers. 

It may be safe to say that the Syrian crisis will not lead up to global conflict, and at the same time was a win-win for the leaders of US and Russia, though no solution for the misery in Syria.