13 April 2018-- Last weekend, another chemical attack was launched on the Syrian people, killing dozens of civilians and injuring thousands. This attack, likely carried out by the Syrian government forces and their Iranian allies, has brought the death toll in Eastern Ghouta to an estimated 1,600 civilians since February.
This is a heartbreaking reminder that the US and its allies need to work together to hold those responsible for the violence to account and there are many options available that would punish the guilty and help bring a solution to the civil war before it becomes a global conflict.
First off, the US should keep all options, including military strikes, on the table as this will allow for stronger negotiating platform.
Donald Trump should also seriously consider strikes against Assad’s military installations, which are far bigger than the Tomahawk missile attack that he sent to Syria in 2017 in the wake of another chemical attack. This would severely affect Assad’s ability to launch these aerial chemical attacks and send a clear message to the regime.
However, Trump should also target the Iranian Regime for its role in the attack. The Iranian Regime has ploughed billions of dollars into the Syrian Civil War in a desperate attempt to keep a fellow dictator in power, supplying the Syrian government forces with money, training, weapons, and even Iran-backed terrorist militias to suppress the Syrian people’s uprising.
The Iranian Regime claimed to be fighting terrorists or defending the shrines, but the threat of ISIS is all but gone in Syria and their troops are nowhere near the shrines. They are in the war to prop up a dictatorship for two reasons:
1. They believe that Assad will be so grateful, he will let them turn Syria into a vassal state (like Iraq) in Iran’s Shiite Crescent
2. They believe that by crushing the Syrian people’s rebellion, they will quash the Iranian people’s uprising
Iran should be subjected to crippling sanctions, which will punish them for helping Assad to commit crimes against humanity, but also cut off the cash flow to the Syrian dictator.
Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Texas member of the US House of Representatives, wrote on Fox News: “In the House of Representatives, I have already taken steps to squeeze the Iranian regime by introducing bipartisan legislation that sanctions government officials for hostage taking, corruption, and human rights abuses. I also introduced legislation that sanctions the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for its support for terrorism and for its ongoing ballistic missile development. If enacted into law, these actions could help force Iran to retract its tentacles of terror.”
This is the sort of action that the US should be taking in order to reduce the Iranian threat to the Middle East and the world.