Washington’s strike at Syria and the gift to terror
By Charles Onunaiju
Nobody would dispute or contest the need and desirability of the bold editorial headline of one Nigeria’s national newspapers that it is “time to end the carnage in Syria.”The question is whether, some of the takes in the editorial including the assertion “that America’s strike at the (Syria) airfield should therefore be seen as another opportunity for a restoration of order to a chaotic situation”, could actually restore order. The claim that the strikes would help restore order may have come from the propaganda manual of the armed rebels and their regional patrons, including a belief by the newspaper editorialist that “the Americans have been able to confirm that the deadly gas was actually deployed by the Syrian forces and that is why the airfield from which the aircraft that carried out the attack took off was hit by 59 American cruise missiles”.
But a casual glance at history will suggest that inventing pretexts to justify pre-mediated military attacks has been part of Washington’s foreign policy arsenals in pursuit of wider objective of regime change. Iraq, the birth place of the Islamic state terror network (ISIS) was the victim of over-hyped U.S deliberate lies and misinformation, in which her formerly late eccentric dictator, Saddam Hussein was claimed to possess weapons of mass destruction. Having taken out the dictator and brought the country to total ruin, from where terrorism would grow and flourish, Washington and its militarist co-travelers have long meekly admitted that the former Iraqi strong man did not after all, have any weapon of mass destruction.
Taking the current U.S narrative, especially of the incoherent Trump administration in its face value, is to court a serious prospect of future embarrassment. The Syrian conflict, after the ferocious battle last December of its formerly commercial hub of Aleppo was at its lowest ebb, with the twin peace talks at Astana, Uzbek capital and the Geneva III, prospective road map to negotiated settlement. Even the scandalous flow of Syrian refugees has considerably stemmed, giving hope that the intensity of the conflict is thawing. And even though, the talks have started on low optimism, a gradual nudge of the process and abandonment of the plot of regime – change in Syria, by regional actors, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and other extra-regional players like the European Union, NATO, would reinforce negotiated settlement of the conflict as only genuine framework to end it.
Syrian government has repeatedly said that it has never used chemical weapons on its own people and would never do so, in future. The Syrian government has always made clear, that it is in mortal combat with international terrorism and Syrian armed rebels who are accessories to the international terror network. The government has since launched an inclusive political process, requesting opposition forces to enter the process. It flies in the face of common sense that a Syrian government desperate to bring about political normalization in the country and begin its re-construction in earnest would attract to itself, a global opprobrium by the use of outlawed and heinous weapons against its own civilians, at a time it has pushed the armed rebels to the cusp of total military defeat. How would the Syrian national army, toughened in battles of the harshest type with the hardest of international terrorist network that are generously supplied by regional patrons, resort to the demeaning and murderous act of gassing babies and civilians of its own citizens.
Only a sober, diligent and impartial international investigation would unravel the true nature of the alleged and purported gas attack and reveal its perpetrators or its stage managers.
However, with an allegation of perpetrating gas attacks on own its civilian population and a prompt U.S attack against its air base facilities, the Syria government was therefore supposed to be dragged into a lull of its relentless pursuit of the terror network.
And therefore, freed and relieved, though, momentarily of the pressure of relentless disarray and decline by the U.S reckless and lawless strikes of Syrian military facilities, the terror network of the nihilistic Islamic state and their several outreach doomsday practitioners are on the loose again, setting off bloody attacks from Stockholm, Swedish serene city to Cairo in Egypt.
Just a few days after the U.S confused regime threw a life line to the faltering terrorist organization and emboldened it with the needless 59 tomahawk missile attacks at Syrian airbase in the central region of the country, two terrorists ostensibly doing the bidding of the terror high command, rammed heavy trucks at busy shopping district in Stockholm, Sweden, killing four persons and injuring many others. Swedes, normally hospitable people who have done their modest bit to take in refugees were horrified but insisted that neither Islam nor refugees are the culprits, but misguided fellows, indoctrinated by the terror central command.
The Egypt’s bomb attacks that targeted the minority Coptic Christians, preparing to celebrate Palm Sunday in lieu of one of Christianity’s most solemn event, Easter that commemorates the death and resurrection of Christ, was the most heart-rending. The blast snuffed lives out of over 40 worshippers and left many with various degrees of injuries. Few hours after, the formerly faltering Islamic state terror group that has been put into turmoil in its putative headquarters of Raqqa by the Syrian forces and its allies, and in disarray in the Iraqi city of Mosul by the Iraqi forces, claimed responsibility for the dastard but cowardly attack.
The U.S missiles attack of Syria, under that pretext that the Syrian army orchestrated a chemical weapon attack on its people is patently nonsense. It hardly make any sense that the Syrian army who has continuously worked out an agreement with insurgents to leave besieged cities with their weapons and family members in order to bring succor to the civilian population would orchestrate such a deadly attack against civilians, which it had even made military concession to the armed insurgents in order to protect. It rather very possible ,that a new U.S administration that has earlier made the destruction of the terror group, Isis, its priority rather than the forlorn project of regime change in Syria would be a target of blackmail with the objective to lure it, to the regime change agenda of armed insurgents and their regional patrons.
Syrian president Bashar Al-assad has flatly denied that the army who gave up its chemical weapon in 2014, would orchestrate such heinous attacks. He called the pretext of the chemical attack, a “100% fabrication”, and it is more curious how President Assad, whose government is not under any serious threat, would resort to desperate and fatal measures as the use of chemical weapon on civilians. The armed rebels whose military fortunes have considerably declined after their summary eviction from Aleppo, has the prospective rational impulse to stage a spectacular heinous show of the magnitude of chemical weapon attack to refocus the global attention to their increasingly lost cause. The new US regime of president Donald Trump who may have found governance more challenging than the mantra of the campaign trail may have considered a military strikes at Syria, a good attention grabber than the chaos of his incoherent domestic agenda of “making America great again”, an ostensible empty rhetoric.
It is even more likely that Washington is in complicit with the Syrian armed rebels and their terrorist network in the fabrication of the chemical attack or that the U.S administration was sufficiently naïve to be duped by the rebels. The whole escalation of the Syrian conflict with Washington strikes, have all the aroma of regional conspiracy, given that barely after the Arab league meeting, whose key members are core proponents of regime change in Syria, and a visit to Washington by the Jordanian king and Egypt’s president, a chemical attacks happened whose credibility and protagonist were yet to be determined before the U.S military attack, and followed quickly by resumption terrorist attacks.
Mr. Onunaiju, journalist, is research director, Center for China Studies (CCS) Utako, Abuja.