Would DTM striking force spare Syria?


POLITICAL analysts and historians have long warned or predicted that the principal causes for the Third World War would revolve around water, food and fuel. Developed countries are aware of it and have thus taken every precaution to mitigate its consequences.

The US government, for instance, has embarked on Feed the Future programme (FtF) which is aimed at addressing global hunger and food security. Launched in 2000 FtF has invested heavily in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda. The countries were strategically selected because of the prevailing peace and tranquility as well as huge arable and fertile land.

Thus, unlike developing countries which are still grappling with basic needs such as health, education, poverty, water and sanitation, developed nations are anticipating on what would happen 100 years to come. And that is what separates the two.

This week, the US President Donald Trump and his allies British Prime Minister, Ms Theresa May and French President Mr Emmanuel Macron issued strong statements against Damascus and its allies Russia and Iran. They have jointly warned that ‘forceful’ response would be taken against any entity that employed chemical weapons in Douma-a Jaish al-Islam rebel’s held town. About 40-60 people were said to have died while hundreds of casualties were admitted in Douma health centres.

Thus, the frenzy that followed afterwards from the newly ‘recruited’ NATO striking force who are looking determined, primed and ready to go. You may recall that nations go to war for various reasons. Some of the reasons could be to defend their national sovereignty (when it comes under threat), to defend their allies who are under threat from the aggressor, to show off their military mighty, to destabilize a ‘rogue government’, to support revolutions, to safeguard their economic and political interests, and to retaliate against an aggressor.

Other military activities are usually administered and coordinated by the United Nations through the Security Council. I have revisited some of these reasons to follow up on what is currently happening in Syria and what is seeing as America’s renewed drive to hit Damascus militarily once again and probably overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Last year, the US carried out a number of airstrikes in identified government sites in Syria but could not overthrow Assad.

Now, following diplomatic rows between the US and Syria and this week’s decision byPresident Trump who promised to take a ‘forceful’ response, we can all smell a rat. By simply looking at the trends and decisions by France, US and Britain on one hand, and Syria’s and Russia’s response on the other, one would clearly see a war in the offing. In his tweeter account, President Donald Trump warned that Russia should expect tough times when the US and its allies hit out targeted military sites in Syria. “Get ready Russia because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart” You shouldn’t partner with a Gas Killing Animal who kills…,” he tweeted.

Equally, the United Kingdom’s PM Theresa May convened an emergence cabinet meeting over the week to deliberate on military actions on Syria. French President Emmanuel Macron did the same and they all cautioned of ‘taking forceful’ military response against Damascus condemning the regime for using chemical weapons in Douma town. “We shall target all government chemical facilities,” said Macron.

Again, during the UN session last week, we witnessed a series of showdowns between Russia and the US and harsh words of exchange between the two countries. On a serious note, the exchange was uncalled for and something which the modern world would not like to hear or see happening. Moscow’s UN envoy Mr Vasily Nebenzia has accused the US of ‘planting this resolution’ to justify military action.

“I would once again beseech you to refrain from the plans that you’re currently developing,” Mr Nabenzia said on Tuesday this week. Political and media analysts are worried that the US and its allies attack on Syria risks spilling over into open conflict between nuclear powers. “You know there’s high tension between the US and countries like North Korea, Iran and Russia which are all nuclear powers,” a political analyst based in Dar es Salaam observes. Other analysts and psychologists take the US and its Western ally’s stance on Syria as a psychological war meant to strengthen their military as well as political positions in the world.

In an interview with the BBC World Service President Trump was quoted as saying that so far the US had nothing on the table and he was waiting for what his security organs would advise and what his allies would bring into the table. Since the war broke in Syria and with the presence of many Islamic militants notwithstanding Russia and Turkey forces, the US has tried several tactics to end the war and probably overthrow Assad but have never worked.

They tried diplomatic route (engagement and sanctions) and limited strikes (containment) but it all hit a dyke. Shifting military tactics, I think they want to go for a wider strike which could even compound the situation. As you might be aware, Russia’s, Syria’s and Turkey’s forces are all on the ground and therefore if they opt for a broader attack chances are that the strikes could escalate and hit allies’ targets.

If they hit, for instance, Turkey sites and/or military bases inside Syria or at the border wouldn’t that worsen the situation? What would happen if some missiles would miss targets and kill civilians in Iran? What if the missiles kill more civilians in Syria? It’s everyone’s guess that Russia’s response would massive.

And of course that is what it has maintained and warned all along that it would retaliate ‘forcefully’ too. Personally, I am against military actions against Syria because so many innocent lives have been claimed so far and another incursion would not do any good. Reading former US President Bill Clinton memoir, “My Life” he recounts how he was against the war in Vietnam.“Like so many young Americans of my time, I was against the war in Vietnam which claimed thousands of lives of American soldiers including my own best friends.

I therefore took part in every organized protest whenever I had the time,” he recollects. We all know what happened in Vietnam! Last year, President Trump was talking of quick exit in Syria saying that American troops would soon leave Syria and called on other countries to help stop the carnage in Syria. Today Mr. President is talking of “tough and forceful” military response, we must read his lips! Have a great Saturday comrades!

● Jacks Meena, Freelance Media and Communications Consultant.

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