Trump misses the mark in Syria

What an unmitigated disaster that was. Trump’s first military strike as President Elect and it was shortsighted, erroneously irresponsible, and perhaps worst of all: The President needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution (Article I of the Constitution gives Congress, and Congress alone, the authority to declare war — and to appropriate funds to the Defense Department to wage it. Records from the Constitutional Convention of 1787 indicate that the framers believed the president would have authority to act unilaterally only in an emergency, to repel a sudden attack.). And he didn’t get it. But, don’t let that stop him. Trump doesn’t even know or care about the Geneva Convention as was displayed in this interview with David Muir of ABC:

Honoring the Geneva Convention Is For Fools?

The impetus for the bombing seemed to me at least that Trump was greatly affected by seeing babies get gassed. Unfortunately for Trump, the Tomahawk attack killed four children. I see Trump is picking up right where the previous administration left off with the incessant and unnecessary bombing of Syria. I guess Trump just wanted to get his beak wet. Even a little badly aimed sprinkling by Trump is just too much. What is his Middle East policy, anyways? He doesn’t have one. He lambasted Obama and Clinton for Syria and then doesn’t take his own advice. Brilliant strategy.

Is Rand Paul the only sane person in Washington?

Maybe if Trump spent more time listening to reasonable people like Rand Paul, four Syrian children wouldn’t have lost their lives in the unconscionable attack.

18 Times Donald Trump Said the U.S. Shouldn’t Bomb Syria

Quote from Trump in the aftermath:

“Assad is there, and he’s in charge, so, something has to change.”

Huh?

If Trump wanted to get rid of Assad, then why not bomb the Presidential Palace in Damascus? Instead, you bombed an air strip that is still operational because Syrian fighter jets were taking off from there less than 24 hours after the bombing. The Shayrat Military Airport is one of the Syrian Air Force’s most important installations in the fight against the Islamic State due to its proximity to the Palmyra and Deir Ezzor fronts. And the Deir Ezzor Airport is the most strategically important location in the Deir Ezzor Province, and whoever controls the airport controls the city, and with it, the gateway to western Syria. All this strike did was embolden ISIS in that area and piss off Russia. Oh, and kill children. It was an impotent bombing attack. Trump has no idea what he is doing with regard to Syria or the Middle East for that matter, but, I don’t blame him entirely. He has war hawks on all sides of him (H.R. McMaster and David Petraeus among others) and Trump is overwhelmed. Hours before the attack, Hillary Clinton called for the bombing of Syrian airfields — is Trump now taking his orders from her?

People were telling Trump it was sarin gas — it wasn’t. It was some kind of chlorinated gas; possibly Phosgene gas. If it had been a nerve gas, first responders likely would’ve died — but they didn’t. Turkey said they have done autopsies on some of the victims and said that there were chemical warfare agents used. Problem is, in order to prove that sarin gas was used, you would have to compare tissue samples of the deceased with the chemical composition of Assad’s destroyed weapons. So, have they proven it was Assad? Did they prove the aforementioned?

How chlorine gas became a weapon in Syria’s civil war

Here are some questions I, and others have about this boondoggle of an attack:

  1. Was this in some way to impress or scare China’s president Xi with regard to what Trump is willing to do to N. Korea if Xi can’t get Kim Jong Un under control? N. Korea’s livelihood is totally dependent on China’s surrogacy. I mean, these bombs basically went off when Trump and Xi were in the middle of their meal together so it’s a reasonable question, right? And, let us not forget what good ol’ Obama told to Trump about who was the U.S.’ greatest threat is, right? It was/is Kim Jong Un. On the same day North Korea launched its ballistic missiles — the United States military announced that it had officially begun the deployment of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system in South Korea. Maybe this is all to show President Xi that Trump isn’t messing around and that he’s willing to deal with N. Korea harshly if he doesn’t stop firing off missiles like it’s a video game.
  2. Who holds power in Idlib, why are they there and what do they want? What would rebels in the region stand to gain from a U.S. military offensive? Idlib is substantially controlled by al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, which has gone through a series of rebranding schemes but remains the same jihadist group it always was: Jabhat al-Nusra. In the province it rules, al-Nusra has imposed what a leading scholar has described as a Taliban-like regime that has ethnically cleansed religious and ethnic minorities, banned music and established a brutal theocracy in which it publicly executes women accused of adultery. Even analysts who have repeatedly called for U.S.-led regime change in Syria have described Idlib as the “heartland of al-Nusra.” In 2016, Amnesty International published a report documenting an array of “serious violations of international humanitarian law” committed by militant groups in Idlib and elsewhere, including summary killings, torture, abductions, and sectarian attacks.
  3. If Russia and Iran and Syria are fighting ISIS in Syria, then why hamstring their efforts? We just sent several hundred more troops over there this past month so why put them in an even more escalated situation by making the region more unstable? If Russia is supposed to be an ally in Syria, then why undermine their efforts with an off-the-cuff missile attack?
  4. Putin puppet? Did Trump do this to draw away suspicion of being tied to Vlad Putin?
  5. Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media adviser to the President of Syria: “Syria is attacked because we’re against the Israeli occupation of Palestine”. Syrians and Israelis have a long, deep seated hatred for one another, so, maybe Shaaban is onto something here.
  6. The Russian Foreign Ministry claims the US made the decision to strike Syria before the events in Idlib and only used the events in Idlib as a “pretext for a demonstration”. Is this a piece of the puzzle?
  7. What did Assad have to gain by gassing his own people? The answer is: absolutely nothing, which is why I don’t think he did. It was rebel groups.
  8. Was this an attempt to draw Russia away from its support of Assad and Syria and even its alliance with Iran in Syria?
  9. Was this a false flag event because Trump was taking it on all sides? Was he trying to appease some of his critics like McCain?
  10. GOP leaders are asking Trump what his strategy in Syria is because even they have no idea why he ordered this, so, what is his strategy for Syria?
  11. What is going to happen to the Jews, Allawites, and Christians in Syria if Assad is removed?
  12. Why did General Joseph Votel, TOP U.S. Commander make a ‘secret trip’ to Northern Syria in Feb., ‘17 — which is in the same area the most recent chemical agent attack occured?
  13. What happens if Syria is broken up? The Allawites; a Sunni heartland; and a Syrian Kurdistan, opposed by Turkey.

With all of that said, here is a different perspective and first hand account from a Syrian who survived the 2013 gas attack on Syrians and was also in Syria during the most recent bombing:

Aftermath of the Tomahawk attack

U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham backed the decision in a public statement, saying that the strike “sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs.” U.S. Democrats, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tim Kaine, said that while the Syrian regime must be held accountable, any expansion of military intervention should be approved by Congress.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the presence of military personnel from the U.S. and other countries in Syria without either the permission of Syria’s government “or a resolution of the U.N. Security Council is a gross, clear and in no way justified violation of international law. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to meet with G-7 foreign ministers in Europe next week before going on to Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Assad’s office has called the U.S. missile strike “reckless,” “shortsighted” and “irresponsible.” It released a statement saying the dawn attack reflects a continuation of American policy based on targeting and “subjugating people.” It added that the strike was not based on true facts.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for “impartial countries” to form a “fact-finding commission to find out about how and through which border chemical weapons entered Syria. “Those who have taken over US affairs once claimed they wanted to combat terrorism; however, today Syria’s terrorists are happy about [the] US invasion in Syria and are celebrating it,” he said.”These people did not ask for permission even from the UN and their own Congress, which we believe are flawed, and ignored all international principles and laws, attacking Syria with aggression, blatantly and outrageously,” Rouhani added.

In separate attacks, Activists opposed to the Islamic State group said a U.S.-led coalition airstrike hit a boat carrying civilians fleeing across the Euphrates River. The groups ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ and ‘Sound and Picture’ said the attack killed a woman and her six children. The attack occurred in the Shuaib al-Zeker area, near where U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have been battling IS under the cover of coalition airstrikes.

Activists and state media said a separate airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on the northern IS-held village of Hneida killed at least 14 civilians, including children. The Observatory said 15 people, including four children, were killed in the airstrike. The Sound and Picture group said the airstrike hit an internet cafe, killing 14 people.

These attacks directly and irresponsibly impede the efforts of both Russia and Iran and the years they have spent trying to defeat ISIS in Syria and stabilize the region.

Over the past year, Russia and Iran have entered a new phase of military cooperation unprecedented in their relations since the end of World War II.

Shortly after the attack, Brent Crude prices spiked over 2% and above $56 dollars/barrel. There is an oil price war going on right now between Saudi Arabia and Russia, so of course the King is pleased with the Tomahawk attack because it disrupts things in the region further — amid Saudi Arabia’s OPEC dominance hitting the skids with more countries becoming non-compliant with regard to production limits (among other problems the Saudis are having).

The U.S. is saying no more pre-emptive strikes on Syria but it looks like we are going to put even more boots (possibly A LOT MORE) on the ground. At the time of this writing, multiple reports are spreading that US troops are on the Jordanian border alongside Jordanian special forces and some of the troops have crossed the border into Syria; some say with around 20 tanks.

And, sadly, journalist and author Mike Cernovich is breaking a story and saying that H. R. McMaster is manipulating Intelligence Reports to Trump, Wants 150,000 Ground Soldiers in Syria:

Remember ladies and gentlemen, Geo-Politics, especially in the Middle East, is much more complicated than spraying a country with 59 Tomahawk missiles as a response to chemical agent attacks. If we are not humane in our humanity, if we do not follow rules of war, then people suffer even more needlessly. If President Trump cares for the babies of Syria, then perhaps we should start making better humanitarian efforts in the region and make less flippant decisions with regard to bombing already war-torn countries.

Syrian Civilians Killed Since 2015
Children under siege in Syria
“The children of Syria have experienced more hardship, devastation, and violence than any child should have to in a thousand lifetimes,” says Dr. Christine Latif, World Vision’s response manager for Turkey and northern Syria.
How does the war in Syria affect children?

“Khalida, 8, longs for the day when she can run through her cobbled streets to hug her teachers and classmates. “I loved school. I was learning. I wanted to learn how to write. I loved it,” she says.

Now Khalida spends her days playing with sticks strewn on a vacant lot in Dohuk, Iraq, where she and at least 100 families are seeking shelter. She pretends twigs are pencils, like the ones in school. Her delicate fingers trace Kurdish letters printed on a recycled pink-and-white poster used as a door in the shelter. She used to want to write children’s stories, she says. Now, she shrugs and whispers: “I have nothing to say.”

For Syrian refugee children, kite flying keeps aloft memories of family, friends, and their once-promising future.

“If our haphazard efforts are in theory to protect the children of Syria at the very least, then when are we going to start doing it?” — M.R.

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