Opinion: Once again the Syrian forces of the dictator Assad have shown the world their true colors. The chemical attack on the civilians of Douma on April 7 wasn’t the first time that Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people, nor the second.
The videos that have surfaced have clearly shown why the civilized world has banned them and made the use of a war crime. And that is exactly what Assad is, he is a war criminal and guilty of crimes against humanity. The Russians and President Putin are just as guilty as they’ve supported and enabled this murderous regime.
Condemnation from across the world was swift but with the usual trite, weak wording that is ignored by leaders such as Assad. They only understand force and that is exactly what they should get. And it shouldn’t be, which thankfully seems to be the case, of just the United States, stepping up to the plate.
President Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to take to social media, stated in his typical “understated” fashion but correctly so, that the attack was an atrocity. And he called out the Russians, Iranians and even he pal Putin for “backing Animal Assad.”
But the U.S. isn’t alone this time, the French have stepped up to the plate. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to join the United States in coordinating “ a strong, joint response” to these chemical attacks. It was France a century ago that was the site for so many of the chemical attacks during the First World War. So they know better than anyone the
Macron said the U.S. and France will coordinate their efforts within the United Nations Security Council in the emergency meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Monday, April 9) that was called for by the United States, France, Britain, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Kuwait, Peru, and Ivory Coast.
Trump promised Syria that there would be a big price to pay for yet another chemical attack on his own people. Late Sunday night, a Syrian airbase T-4 was hit with a missile attack. Syria immediately blamed the United States but the Pentagon issued a denial.
A spokesman released a message stating”at this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting airstrikes in Syria.”
“However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable,” the message added.
Not much later, Syrians withdrew their accusation at the U.S. However, the Russians called out Israel for launching missiles at Syria from Lebanon airspace using F-15 fighters. Syria then claimed that its air defenses shot down eight of the missiles. The Israelis are under no illusion that if Assad and his Russian and especially his Iranian support are willing to abet his gassing of his own people, know that they’ll do the same to the Israeli population. They hit the airbase, which not coincidentally houses Iranian troops. Something the Israelis insist that they will not abide, having the Iranians establish bases so close to their border.
Last year around this time, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat airfield after learning that Syrian government aircraft had departed from the airfield loaded with sarin gas for a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun. The Syrians and Russian denied that any chemical attack took place on Khan Sheikhun and that the U.S. fabricated it. This is despite the fact that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had come to the same conclusion, that Syria had carried out the attacks.
The Russians showed their hand in their duplicity by declaring since early March that the United States was going to try to frame Assad for an impending chemical attack. So they knew a month ago that chemical attacks were planned. But again, the town of Douma is besieged by Russian, Syrian and Iranian forces.
But thus far, the Russians won’t allow independent chemical investigators into the town of Douma to inspect the site of where a reported 100 civilians were killed in a chlorine gas attack. The only issue which could set a new precedent is that chlorine isn’t banned from the Chemical Weapons Convention that Syria signed.
While the European Union declared that an international response is called for against Russia and Syria for these chemical attacks, they’ve done nothing else…yet. But the French are stepping to the forefront. The latest attack is the “red line” that the Assad regime has crossed. France has threatened to carry out military strikes.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that “the use of chemical weapons is a war crime,” and added that France will “do its duty” once the chemical attack on Douma is verified. So what does the rest of the European Union and other countries have to say about this? This shouldn’t be a unilateral U.S. response. Most of the rest of the countries of the west have gotten a free ride for the past 70 years while Uncle Sam played the bad cop every time a rogue nation steps out of line.
The time for action is now and the rest of the United Nations needs to be heard. Chemical weapons are forbidden now and haven’t been used in European battlefields since World War I. The U.S. classifies them as weapons of mass destruction.
This isn’t the first or even the second time the Assad regime has poison gassed the people of Syria. As much as President Trump can be over the top with his social media proclamations, he’s right about this. Anyone who will poison gas their own people is nothing more than an animal.
So what will the U.N. do? Will they finally step up to the plate and do something worthy of its own name? Or will it revert to what it’s done for the last 70 years or so? And word some milquetoast proclamation that says little and does even less? I am not so sure but I’m guessing on the latter rather than the former.