Fragile Situation Has Gone Worse

Asia Pacific Daily, April 10, 2017 | 作者: Li Zixin | 时间: 2017-04-17 | 责编: Wang Jiapei
Adjust font size: + -

The U.S. warships in the Eastern Mediterranean launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase Thursday night. According to the White House, their strike is in retaliation for Assad’s chemical weapons attack on civilians earlier last week. The assault is the first direct military action that the U.S has taken against the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said several times that he takes anti-terrorism as the top priority, which means he might be not as exigent as his predecessor to overthrow the Assad’s regime.

Only ten days ago, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, still said that the US diplomatic policy toward Syria for now is not focused on making Bashar leave power, which showed great differences with the Obama administration in core policies in the Middle East.

However, the latest standpoint presented by Haley on Sunday is totally the opposite. He said “There is not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime.” After taking office for 100 days, Trump’s foreign policy has been turning back to the traditional path.

Trump wants to show his toughness and determination by striking the Syrian government forces, but at the same time, it is playing a dangerous game in the most volatile region in the world.

The strike makes the Kremlin very indignant. They see the strike as the beginning of a dramatic escalation of the US military campaign in the Middle East. Moscow now has frozen the implementation of the memorandum with the U.S. on preventing flight safety incidents in Syria. The potential military misunderstanding between the two major powers may cause serious consequences.

After a series of military actions, Russia, Iran and Turkey have mastered the dominance of the Syrian political transition. No matter the negotiation in Astana or the Geneva peace talks, U.S. can hardly intervene in the process. Washington’s political elites determined to change this situation. Eventually they succeeded in persuading the President to change the strategy on Syria.

US allies have expressed their support to the strikes, especially those in the Middle East. The strikes might be considered as a strong practical support to the whole against-Assad camp. The geopolitical campaign will probably be intensified, accompanying with the increasing number of the extreme groups’ activities.

A lot of countries express their worries about the U.S. decision to launch strikes without authorization from the UN Security Council. It is obviously not a positive example of resolving international disputes. It’s now urgent to support UN agencies to carry out independent and comprehensive investigations on basis of solid evidence so as to find out the truth of chemical attacks towards civilians.

The international community should concentrate on preventing a further deterioration of the situation and upholding the hard-won process of the political settlement on the Syrian issue.


LI Zixin, Research Assistant, Department for American Studies, China Institute of International Studies.



Source: Asia Pacific Daily, April 10, 2017.