Publicat în 12 aprilie 2017, 20:34 / 414 elite & idei

Antonia Colibasanu: A limited strike on Syria

Antonia Colibasanu: A limited strike on Syria

by Antonia Colibasanu

The U.S. has attacked the Syrian Sharyat airbase near Homs last night in response to earlier news related to Assad regime chemical weapons attack on Syrian population. It was reported that 50 Tomahawk missiles were launched from U.S. Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea and they were striking multiple targets: the airstrip, aircraft and fuel stations. There haven’t been reports of other attacks carried on since nor there have been reports of military mobilization.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande issued a joint statement accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to carry „sole responsibility for this development.” Commentaries in Western media are supportive of the U.S. attack and most of articles are reporting on facts and the reactions worldwide.

The Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the U.S. has informed Russia about its strike. However, most of the reports in the Russian media are pointing to the fact that an investigation into the chemical weapons attack hasn’t begun yet and some articles are drawing parallels with the former U.S. invasion of Iraq. This kind of reaction is not unexpected – but the fact that Russia knew of the attack beforehand weights in for its symbolism.

The attack carried on was portrayed from the very beginning in the American media to be a “limited strike”. The U.S. administration has shown that it can attack, more or less taking a surprise move (President Obama decision not to retaliate on a similar attack was used by Trump during his presidential campaign as a negative example). The attack will send a message to the world (note North Korea and Iran) that the U.S., while cautiously calculating its moves, will strike back.

Yesterday’s attack will alter U.S. – Russian relations and disappoint those that were hoping for the full bilateral ‘normalization’ of ties. But ultimately, this will not be dramatic. The U.S. and Russia will not go to war over Assad. Russia will carry on its own campaign in explaining why the U.S. did wrong in attacking Syria the way it did – the usual communication campaign that will get internal support for the current administration in Moscow at a time when it needs it. But, in the same time, Russia’s support for Assad has been weakened – and now, considering that Russia could not prevent the chemical attack, Moscow must be at least annoyed with the Assad regime. That said, the Kremlin has no interest in fueling the current situation – nor has the U.S. The limited strike has served its purpose.

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