- Antonio Pattori
Attacking Syria: How the West has just committed itself to a new tragic war they cannot win.
Last saturday 14th April, an Anglo-American and French naval task force fired around 120 tomahawk missiles on the independent, sovereign state of Syria. This came after the alleged chemical attack on the Syrian population, by President Assad, which took place a week earlier on April 7th. Despite this action being praised by most Western nations, it was quite frankly irresponsible, and insane. It perhaps appears history will repeat itself.
Firstly, the attack on Syria last Saturday will cost the US, UK and France around 200 million dollars, just for launching those 120 missiles. 200 million dollars of taxpayer money. Yet this is beyond the point.
Macron, Trump, and May. The insane Trio of Democracy.
Attacking Syria was insane for the simple reason that it was unnecessary, and will surely escalate the war. Firstly, let us talk about the human cost of this attack. How could the West possibly ever claim to help the Syrian people against a brutal dictator by launching missiles in their homes? Trump claimed to have destroyed two chemical weapon stocks. Yet these were in towns, and the results of the strikes remain unknown, despite CNN sources claiming that those stocks probably were not hit, if there were any to begin with.
Putin and Assad, the dangerous yet effective duo.
According to a UN search last year, Syria owned no chemical weapons, and despite the fact that it is possible that with Russian help Assad may have smuggled such weapons in Syria, it is improbable that these would be stored in government deposits, in its capital city of Damascus.
Yet the most absurd thing about this attack is its origin; the original chemical attack by Assad’s forces last week. All the US defence department, the Defence Secretary and former general James Mattis, have stated that there is “No independent source and evidence which supports the claim that Assad’s government had used chemical weapons last April 7th.” These were the words of Secretary Mattis in front of the Congressional Defence committee last week. Despite having agreed that the attack probably took place, Mattis pointed out that an attack could not be used against Syria without substantial evidence.
James Mattis addressing Congress last week
This firstly points out a clear rupture between the White House and the Pentagon, but shows the insanity of such attack. What this will lead to is a clear break of relations between Trump, the West, and Putin. This perhaps again shows how Trump fooled the world. A president which ran on a pro-Russian platform, to fight against the establishment and previous policy, just to win, and now that he’s won he can continue previous policy in a tragic u-turn.
Secondly, this attack is also threatening us at home, in terms of our democracy. Parliaments gave no permission for such attack. In France and the US, with presidential democracies this is more acceptable, but in the UK, this is the first time a Prime Minister authorises an attack on another country without seeking Parliamentary consent.
We have been fooled by such events again and again, let's make sure history does not fool us one more time. In 2003, all the world unilaterally believed Secretary of State Colin Powell, when he went to the UN claiming to have a vial of Impoverished Uranium deposits from Iraq’s Nuclear Program, in order to justify the Iraq war. It was later found he had paint in the test tube he held in his hand, not uranium. Let us not be fooled in supporting an attack which is not aimed at stopping Assad’s regime, but rather at advancing the position of the US in the region, putting a friendly government, so the US can finally finish the Saudi-European pipeline, and halting the Iranian-Russian counterpart. Remember, this is a war of resources not of ideology.
Nonetheless, how can we claim the chemical attack did not take place? We have seen those horrifying pictures, of intoxicated children following last week’s attack. Firstly we should remember that lethal gases do not differentiate on age, but affect all the population. What we are seeing, whether there was an attack or not, is propaganda. Yes, the west is using children for political benefit. It is not the first time that children have been used to provoke an emotional response to support the actions of their governments. It was perhaps justly used with the famous image of the Syrian boy lying dead on a Turkish beach a couple of years ago. It was used to show the crimes of the Hussein government in Iraq, and previously against Afghanistan, the Soviet Union and even against Nazi Germany. When children die, people are rightfully angered, but when this is exploited to advance a secret agenda, then we should be angered even more.
Everyday people die in Syria. Hundreds of human beings, from both sides, of both any age and race or religion. We are being angered and emotionally triggered by photos (which could even be staged, as the Guardian demonstrated in an article last week), presented to us at the right time and place, by a politically orchestrated attack by Trump and his brothers-in-arms, or should I say in-crime. Instead, we should push for a more sustainable solution rather than undermining the situation by supporting rebels which quite frankly we know nothing of. What the West has done will not stop Russia and Assad, it will just prolong the war. Yet perhaps that is what Trump, May and Macron want. These leaders are united by one factor; current unpopularity in the polls. Perhaps what they need is what John Major, Bush, Clinton, Blair, Thatcher, Reagan, Saddam Hussein, and many other democratic or authoritarian leaders have aimed to have: a war to unite the country, and boost their popularity. Quick, effective and popular with the electorate, yet selfish, irresponsible and tragic. All to the expense of the Syrian people.