President Trump approved the bombing of the Syrian military base controlled by Dictator Bashir al-Assad supposedly to destroy the Syrian government’s ability to launch further chemical attacks on civilians.
“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” Trump said in remarks from Mar-a-Lago, his family compound in Palm Beach, Florida. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
But Trump’s statements contradict the reality that rebel groups have been trained to secure, monitor, and transport chemical weapons. Included in the opposition to Assad are terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. Should we believe these rebels’ claims against Assad, especially given their access to chemical weapons?
Documents from Wikileaks show that the U.S. State Department wanted to help rebels overthrow Syrian Dictator Assad in order to strengthen Israel’s position against Iran. The State Department discussed how Iran and Syria trained forces in opposition to Israel. The fall of Assad, they said, would destroy the only Iranian ally in the region positioned to help Iran in the event of Israeli aggression to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Washington should start by expressing its willingness to work with regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to organize, train and arm Syrian rebel forces. The announcement of such a decision would, by itself, likely cause substantial defections from the Syrian military. Then, using territory in Turkey and possibly Jordan, U.S. diplomats and Pentagon officials can start strengthening the opposition.
The State Department makes it quite clear their belief that “Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly.” ...
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