Syrian Military Base Struck by Britain, France and U.S. Following Douma Chemical Attacks

Picture credit: AP

By Stefan M. Kløvning

Syria, National Security – A military base in Syria expected of holding chemical weapons ingredients were struck by American, British and French missiles on Saturday, as retaliation for the Syrian government allegedly being behind the attack in Douma on April 8, which took the life of up to 75 people and injured about 500 more. British Prime Minister Theresa May maintained that this was not done to intervene in Syria’s civil war or an attempt of regime change, but solely…

…about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke in a similar fashion about the decision, but didn’t mention any evidence of the Syrian government to be behind it. Mrs. May didn’t either, only referring to ‘a significant body of information including intelligence’ assumably indicating that they are.

According to Russia, the Syrian government struck down 71 of the 103 missiles launched against them.

The air strikes have been warmly welcomed by Western allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Austrialian PM Malcolm Turnbull, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg, European Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker all deemed the air strikes necessary and justified as retaliation against the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against their own population.

Other nations, however, have been more skeptical. The Iranian Foreign Ministry, for instance, strongly opposed the attack. ‘The United States and its allies have no proof and, without even waiting for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to take a position, have carried out this military attack,’ they said in a statement. Iraq has also been concerned, referring to the possibility of the action being a catalyst for spreading terrorism in the region. The spokesperson for Indonesian Foreign Ministry Arrmanatha Nasir criticized the decision being done without prior authorization by the U.N. Security Council, asserting that ‘For Indonesia, peace and stability in Syria can only be achieved through dialogue and an inclusive political process.’

How do they know for sure that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attack in Douma, without being able to present clear evidence? Mrs. May stated, and rightly, that Russia vetoed a resolution in the U.N. Security Council proposing an independent investigation into the chemical attacks, and that that has made it very difficult for them to figure out the true nature of the situation. ‘We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this,’ she affirms. She therefore refers to the history of the regime with this, saying ‘The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.’

Is this really the case? The New York Times reported on the day of the chemical attacks that ‘Days after President Trump said he wanted to pull the United States out of Syria, Syrian forces hit a suburb of Damascus with bombs that rescue workers said unleashed toxic gas.’ But why would the Syrian government want to give the U.S. military a reason to stay in the region, or generally undertake such an attack against their own citizens with such strange timing? The story doesn’t really fit together unless the Syrian government would have a motive for doing so. Independent journalist Eva Bartlett proposes that the Western media has given a skewed picture of what is really happening in Syria. She has talked to many Canadians with relatives in Syria, whom she claims to say that are being told a different story about the situation than the Western media is promoting. She has also been to Syria 6 times to report on the situation there. ‘What you hear in the corporate media … BBC, Guardian, New York Times, etc. on Aleppo is also opposite of reality,’ she asserts. After the chemical attack in Khai Shaikhoun last year, the Syrian Army General Command explicitly denied them ever having used toxic gases against either terrorists or civilians, and that they had no plans of doing so. He asserted in the statement that ‘The armed terrorist groups used to accuse the Syrian Arab Army of using toxic gases against them or against civilians at anytime they fail to implement the targets of their sponsors and operators or when they are unable to achieve any advantages on the ground in an desperate attempt to justify their failure and to maintain the support of their masters.’ Whatever Eva Bartlett says about Fox News, there’s a reporter there on her side: Tucker Carlson. He observed the day after the Douma Attack that

Universal bipartisan agreement on anything is usually a sign that something deeply unwise is about to happen. If only there were no one left to ask skeptical questions. And we should be skeptical of this. Starting with the poison gas attack itself. All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course they don’t really know that, they’re making it up. They have no real idea what happened. Actually, both sides in the Syrian civil war possessed chemical weapons. How would it benefit Assad, using chlorine gas last weekend? Well it wouldn’t. Assad’s forces had been winning the war in Syria. The administration just announced America’s plans to pull its troops out of Syria, having vanquished ISIS. That’s good news for Assad, and about the only thing he could do to reverse it, and to hurt himself, would be to use poison gas against children. ‘Well he did it anyways,’ they tell us. ‘He’s that evil!’ Please. Keep in mind this is the same story they told us last April, you remember that?

It’s too early yet to cite any polls of public opinion in different countries about the air strikes, but many notable reactions have been promoted on social media. Some of them will be mentioned below.

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  • Trump’s statement ‘mission accomplished’ being taken from George W. Bush’s in 2003

  • ISIS using airstrikes as cover

  • Vote on Gab.ai (right-wing alternative media site) (n=894) on who supports or opposes Trump’s decisions on air strikes. 84% voted that they opposed. https://gab.ai/Archangel1111/posts/23762226
  • Won’t lead to expected results

(‘These strikes against engage us in a path with unpredictable and potentially dramatic consequences. France again loses an opportunity to appear on the international stage as an independent and balanced power in the world. MLP’)