Military action against Syria's "chemical attack"? Don't rush it

Asia Pacific Daily | 作者: Li Zixin | 时间: 2018-04-13 | 责编: Wang Jiapei
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At least 42 people were killed in a suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria, the last rebel’s stronghold in the Eastern Ghouta region, on April 7, which caused the tit-for-tat diplomatic debate between the Syrian opposition, US and UK, and the Syrian government.


The UN Security Council failed to pass any resolutions on Syria because of the US and Russia’s veto powers as permanent members of UN Security Council. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Tuesday announced that an expert panel would be deployed to Syria to investigate the banned weapons. And yet, at this moment, the US and its allies are reportedly preparing for the military actions against Syria. It seems that the great powers have been on the brink of war now.


Mystery of suspected “chemical attack”

The two interdependent elements are essential to launch an assault---the will and necessity, and the ability, which urge people to get to the root of the matter.


Firstly, is it necessary for the Syrian government to launch the chemical attacks? It is well known that gaining control of Douma will be in prospect for the Syrian government because it has recaptured most areas of Eastern Ghouta by means of overwhelming military superiority. In such context, only silly decision-maker can resort to the banned weapons because the move would violate international laws and humanitarianism principles and cause more interventions from external forces.


Secondly, is it capable for the Syrian government of launching the chemical attacks? The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had already destroyed the chemical and biological weapons in Syria in 2013 in the strict supervision from the US, European Union and Russia. The reappearance of chemical weapons matters the credibility of Syria government and authority of international organizations within the UN framework.


Military intervention aggravates regional tensions

As US President Donald Trump twittered, “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”, the US seemingly planned to take military actions against Syria. However, what we have learned more is the US official stance rather than its specific plans and strategies. At the same time, Russia later warned US against the military response in Syria and asserted that Russian troops had been deployed into Douma.


It is no doubt that the “Chicken Game” between the United States and Russia will move closer the direct confrontation. What makes people more worried is Trump’s twitter is a surprising message even before US senior officials from the Pentagon and the defense department and its western allies are informed of. So Trump’s recklessness will cast shadows over the peaceful settlement of the Syria issue.




Li Zixin, Assistant Research Fellow, Dept. for American Studies, China Institute of International Studies.




Source: Asia Pacific Daily, April 13, 2018.