BY: Salman Al-dossary
ASHARQ-AL AWSAT, 13 April 2018-- When this article is published, probably the smart US missiles would be on their way to destroy military bases belonging to the Syrian regime as pledged by US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, and as the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, Eurocontrol, warned aircraft flying in the eastern Mediterranean to exercise caution due to possible air strikes on Syria within the next 72 hours.
The imminent military measure is intended to punish the Syrian authorities for their use of chlorine, which killed up to 43 people and hospitalized 500 others in Douma.
Whether you agree with Trump or not, his red lines have become a reality that can’t be disregarded, unlike his predecessor Barack Obama who could have prevented the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemicals had he taken measures against it in the first place. Had he acted differently, the half a million people killed in Syria due to various toxic gases prohibited internationally, would now have been alive.
Probably the chemical attack in Douma was brutal, but is absolutely not a first. It is only another example of the barbarism of the regime and its disregard to the people. What is new in the anticipated military strike is that it won’t be a unilateral move similar to last year’s when Washington launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat Airbase in response to the Khan Sheikhoun massacre.
In the new military escalation against the Assad regime, the United States has brought together its allies in a united front against Russia, which isn’t willing to be involved in a confrontation against a coalition led by the US for the sake of the Assad regime even if it has escalated the rhetoric against the potential attack.
The statements of Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasili Nebenzia who said that the rude threats against Moscow have exceeded the limit were the only climax of the war of words between Washington and Moscow. Nebenzia asserted that what matters to Russia is that its forces don’t get targeted, warning the West from any military aggression, especially against the Russian army in Syria.
Apparently, this military measure does not resolve the Syrian crisis as much as it punishes a regime that kills its people, and shows a decisive step so that Assad’s allies understand that there is a price to pay.
Interestingly, Moscow is defending the Assad regime’s use of toxic gases and is also preventing all possible measures through the Security Council. It has resorted to its veto right against five resolutions on the use of chemicals in Syria. US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley warned that if the Security Council fails to act on the use of chlorine in Douma, then "the United States will respond.”
In its turn, Saudi Arabia’s stance was announced from Paris on Tuesday by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who affirmed that the kingdom might be part of a military move on Syria if necessary. This shows Riyadh’s firm stance against Assad’s regime, as long as there is an international agreement to fight its crimes and that of its militias.
The Crown Prince’s remarks to Time magazine on Assad remaining in office is a description of the status quo and not the international willingness on his departure. Saudi Arabia continues to reject his stay in power.