Friday, 7 April 2017
On Tuesday, Syria's brutal thug of a leader Bashar al-Assad used a sarin-derived nerve agent on civilians in rebel-held refugee centre Khan Sheikhun.
A war crime.
Deplorable and happening in a country war-torn and fractured. Teresa May got this one right: “I’m very clear that there can be no future for Assad in a stable Syria which is representative of all the Syrian people and I call on all the third parties involved to ensure that we have a transition away from Assad. We cannot allow this suffering to continue,” she said.
Enter Trump. Thursday evening he shoots off a unilateral missile strike against the Al Shayrat airstrip that launched the nerve gas planes.
This occurs during a dinner where Trump is entertaining China's Xi Jinping. Not from the White House but instead from his golf club vacation home, adding to the Ma-La-esque nature of the situation. The Chinese premier was scheduled to leave around ten minutes after the first cruise missiles struck.
With apparent tweet level spontaneity, Trump's orders bombed the single airfield, but not the wider air defences. The airfield is one of about two dozen in military use and Trump says he is sending a warning.
It will certainly deflect from the domestic issues affecting him at the moment.
Of course, there were diplomatic talks before the bombing happened. US defence secretary Jim (Mad Dog) Mattis had briefed our defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who gives full support to the US action. The Russians were notified that US planes would fly over the deconfliction zone.
Trump has previously said America First, that he wants less of an international presence (criticising Hilary Clinton for her international outlook). A month ago Trump was barring all Syrian refugees from entering the USA. Clinton's Wednesday TV interview (her first since last November) said 'take out the airfields'.
So, overnight - again - everything changes. Trump ordered a new military front line with the pudding.
Yes, the bombing was limited. There were not enough missile-filled US destroyers in the Mediterranean to provide full air cover to hit all of the airfields. It will still take another 3-4 days to get those in place.
American action movie screenplays will need to dial it up a notch to complete with real life.
No wonder Bannon just got shifted out of the security council. Bannon the strategist was opposed to the machinations of what in America is called the Deep State. The folk in permanent positions of power on the inside of State machinery that bicker with one another and manipulate to get things done their way.
We, in the UK, have equivalences via The Establishment and the various 'Yes, Minister' mandarins, together keeping a straight face whilst their business gets executed.
So how much of what has recently happened is properly planned and with an end-game in sight?
At the moment it looks pretty reflexive, with part of the rest of the world struggling to find a sane position and another part getting ready a whole series of new condemnations.