US Shayrat strikes achieved what they originally meant to achieve
(Photo: Kafranbel FB accounts)
In what was surely meant to be a defiant “in your face” maneuver, the Assad regime made a show of sending one of their limited number of aircraft down the damaged, but not destroyed, runway of al-Shayrat air base just hours after a US cruise missile attack destroyed at least 9 of the regime’s Sukhoi 22 aircraft that were housed there.
The message Assad intended to convey was that even though the airbase had been successfully targeted, it was still operational and therefore this meant that the US mission had failed.
However, one of the messages of Friday’s airstrike that Assad failed to recognize was that whether or not the airstrike disabled the airbase, it very well could have decimated it if that had been Trump’s intention.
The US has the most advanced technology and the strongest military in the world and the missiles destroyed what they were sent to destroy.
So if they didn’t annihilate the airbase in its entirety, then there is a reason for why they didn’t.
And in spite of all the speculation by armchair generals and attempts by the Assad regime and Russia to provoke a response, the US has no obligation to share the strategy it is using or offer detailed explanations for their actions.
Whether one agrees with his decision to attack the airbase or not, Trump is not accountable to either Assad or Putin.
Perhaps the greater lesson to all who choose to ponder the efficacy of Trump’s chess move, (for events in Syria always seem to end up resembling a chess game being played by an arrogant tyrant and a variety of players who support or oppose him) is that those in the West do not play by the same rules as Assad and his teammates.
Whereas the Assad regime goes for the kill every time they launch an airstrike on civilian neighborhoods, hospitals, schools and even civil defense centers whose mission is to save civilian lives, the US gives advance notice in order to reduce the potential for human casualties, even the regime and Russian military casualties.
Rather than being a sign of weakness, showing restraint and concern for human casualties, even amongst our enemies, is a trademark of a government that does not depend upon its ability to flex its muscles in order to intimidate either its own people, or an enemy that is without a doubt much weaker and far less equipped to engage it in battle.
In fact, if Trump, who simply gave the go ahead to his military advisers, was to play by the same rules as Assad, he could have easily ordered that the missiles be directed at the presidential palace in Damascus in order to take out the man responsible for the killing of children on a daily basis.
After all, Assad used that playbook in Lebanon for getting rid of many political figures that opposed his interference in the governing of their own country, which also reveals his blatant hypocrisy when he accuses the US of violating the sovereignty of Syria.
Assad and Putin have also denied that either of them was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun, yet they have not offered a shred of proof to substantiate their alternative facts.
Because of their monopoly of the skies over the majority of Syrian territory, they are in the best position for acquiring evidence that would prove who was actually guilty of such a heinous crime, yet to date they have produced none.
On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence to prove that Assad is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, yet he tries to appear to the rest of the world as if he is standing on high moral ground when he accuses Trump of breaking international laws and being a criminal.
Furthermore, insinuations by Putin claiming they have heard rumors that members of the Syrian opposition and their families are planning to commit suicide with lethal gas in the Damascus area sound much more like threats.
For almost half a century the Assads have been threatening people with whom they do not see eye to eye, inside as well as outside the borders of Syria, and successfully carrying out those threats with impunity.
It is way past time that someone stands up to the brutal bullies who have no regard for the sanctity of human life or the sovereignty of a nation that rightfully belongs to all Syrians.
On Wednesday evening, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made it perfectly clear in a press conference from Moscow that as far as the United States is concerned, there is no role for Assad or anyone from his family if there is going to be any chance for a real and lasting peace in Syria.
"... the final outcome in our view does not provide for a role for the Assad – for Assad, or for the Assad family in the future governance of Syria. We do not think the international community will accept that. We do not think the world will accept that."
It’s high time.