The ill-conceived retaliatory attack on Syria reflects how history repeats itself, argues Arun Srivastava
History is plagued by military blunders, from Napoleon's attempt to conquer Russia to American President George Bush's brutal invasion of Iraq. Once again, the US President, this time Donald Trump, has attacked Syria. If Bush assaulted Iraq seeking weapons of mass destruction, the Trump regime battered Syria for extracting chemical weapons.
The cynical leaders have been overrunning the countries on the plea of providing protection from dreaded weapons, but the fact of the matter is they have been perpetrating the worst kind of war crime. They have been virtually committing genocide. What is most unfortunate is that the western leaders do not learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.
It is really shameful that the global conscience keepers have refused to counsel these western leaders. Instead, they offer their unsolicited advice to Russia and China to refrain from such gruesome actions. It is really surprising how they prefer to ignore the ground realities. By not retaliating the incensed action of Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin has demonstrated the highest order of political maturity by approaching the UN Security Council instead to discuss the military strikes launched by the United States, France, and Britain on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack. Russia circulated a draft resolution calling for condemnation of the military action, but British Ambassador brazenly justified the strikes. He did not find any wrong with the US action.
As if this was not enough, the US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley announced that America remains "locked and loaded" to strike Syria again in response to the new chemical attacks. This simply reflects that Trump has gone mad. Unfortunately, the global fraternity did not muster enough courage to condemn the US attack. As a result, Russia failed to garner the necessary Security Council votes for a resolution condemning the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter. Russian counterpart Vassily Nebenzia, nevertheless, called the developments "a blow to a political settlement" in the Syria crisis.
America launched the air-attack just when the Syrian military declared victory over rebels in Eastern Ghouta on Saturday. What is really astonishing is that the US and its allies, like what had happened in Iraq, screamed about the use of chemical weapons but could not produce concrete evidence
Haley said that the United Kingdom, France, and the United States "acted, not as revenge" but to "deter the future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime responsible for its atrocities against humanity."
Ever since Putin won the Presidential election, the western leaders, particularly Trump, have been conspiring to finish him politically. Trump must realise that notwithstanding his attack in Syria, he has lost credibility and the Syrian battle alike.
The primary reason for attacking Syria is the US and its allies, which have been hostile to Assad, are envious of his rise and gains. Whether it is France or the UK, all are scared of the re-emergence of Syria as a strong Muslim country. With Iran rallying behind Russia, the possibilities of the US being alienated from the Muslim world is quite high.
If the reports emanating from Syria are to be believed, the aggressors did not find any site hosting chemical weapons. The accusation finds similar resonance to Bush's attack on Iraq. Nevertheless, Trump hailed the strike as "perfectly executed".
On its part, the Russian defence ministry said that Syria had intercepted 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies. Only seven missiles had reached two Syrian military airfields and "no serious damage to infrastructure was inflicted." Russian defence officials claimed that the western allies' action was in retaliation to the Syrian army's "success" in liberating territory from the rebels. Britain had participated in the Iraq action but, recently, the then Prime Minister had confessed it as having been a blunder. It cannot be denied that tomorrow Theresa May would apologise to Britons for her ill-conceived action. As the US, UK, and France claimed this time of having clinching evidence of Syria being in possession of chemical weapons, during Bush's time they had proof of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.
It is absolutely clear that through this action, the US intends to gain back some of its hegemony and establish itself as a superpower. The US strikes marked a "very dangerous development" and threaten the security and stability of the region and giving terrorism another opportunity to expand after it was ousted from Iraq and forced into Syria to retreat to a large extent.
(The views expressed are strictly personal)