Why the US is in such a hurry to attack Syria

China Military Online
Yao Jianing

The US and his two European allies Britain and France launched a military operation against Damascus, Syrian capital on the early morning of April 14, local time. Why did the US rush to launch attacks against Syria when the truth about the suspected "chemical weapons attack" that occurred on April 7 is still unclear? Analysts point out that the multiple reasons for the US to lead last Saturday's attack against Syria are both domestic and international.

First, the developing situation in Syria prompts the US to play.

Since the Syrian civil war broke out seven years ago, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government has not been defeated by the US-backed anti-government forces but gradually gained the initiative in the battlefield. The US does not want to see the Bashar al-Assad's government expand its victories and stabilize its political power. Therefore, the US must intervene.

Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, said that the time had already passed for the US and other Western countries to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad's government through military means, and the missile attack the US launched against Syria last year had no effect. She said that diplomatic negotiation with a wide range of participants is the only way out.

Second, the US diplomatic hawks have gained momentum.

Chemical weapon use was the "red line" the Obama administration drew for the US military interventions in Syria. By taking the lesson of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, Obama insisted that the US shouldn't plunge into the Syrian crisis. However, this policy has been criticized by domestic Republican hawks who have always advocated military attack against Syria.

Since Trump took office, his diplomatic and security teams have undergone many rounds of change. The newly-appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes a tough diplomatic position, and the new Presidential National Security Advisor John Bolton is a well-known hawk. Chemical weapon use is both the "red line" and an excuse to attack Syria. Bolton has already demonstrated his "war hawk" style by sticking to this excuse.

Third, Trump implements the new Middle East strategy to eliminate dissent.

The Trump administration's National Security Strategy report outlines the general direction of its Middle East policy, etc., the US does not want the Middle East to be dominated by any hostile force. In the eyes of the US, the hostile forces there naturally include Russia and Iran.

The Trump administration has taken a series of actions in the Middle East over the past year, including recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and starting the embassy relocation plan. The US has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal; it has also strengthened its alliance with Saudi Arabia. The US immediately challenged Russia and Iran after Syria’s suspected “chemical weapons attack”, accusing them of backing Syria.

Yahya analyzed that the move aims to crackdown on Syria and Iran. However, she believes that the US will not directly attack Russia’s military forces in Syria.

Fourth, Trump wants to transfer domestic political pressure.

At present, Trump faces the dilemma that his team is not well-organized and the "Russiagate" investigation is pushing harder.

Since Trump took office, his core team has changed a lot. The Secretary of State and the Presidential National Security Advisor were replaced in March this year. Since Bolton took office, the team has continued to face reshuffling. The resignation of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Thomas Bossert and Nadia Schadlow, who was Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy, reduced the number of Trump’s diplomatic security core team.

In terms of external pressures, investigations into Trump are still underway. Trump's private lawyer Michael Cohen’s office and residence received sudden search by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 9. Trump's reaction to this matter was extremely strong. The search was approved by the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and it is Rosenstein who appointed the special counsel of the "Russiagate" investigation, Robert Mueller.

Democrats are gearing up to regain lost territory as the mid-term elections approach. Trump is now in a hard situation. It seems that a rapid and brief overseas military operation is an effective means to transfer domestic contradictions and focus.

Disclaimer: The authors are Liu Si and Yang zhen, reporters with the Xinhua News Agency. The article is translated from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author from the Xinhua News Agency and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.


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