by Itunuoluwa Adebo
President Trump’s recently launched military airstrikes on a Syrian government airbase is barely hours old, but has thrown the 45th administration headlong into the world’s most intractable foreign policy crisis.
These are the takeaways;
Though the strikes may be getting support from some key Western players, Turkey and aligned regional powers. Unity from these key players is a rare occurrence.
A big risk here is overreach: that the US, UK, France, Turkey and allies believe a moment has appeared in which this sore on the global conscience can be finally fixed, making them all feel better. It can’t.
Assad definitely has to react
He always does. It may not be as blatant as direct attacks on the US military in the region. But it may involve proxies hitting US soft targets nearby, especially if you know their long history of involvement in Lebanon. Donald Trump will likely face fallout, and in a way that is unexpected.
Remember: Assad has been under an effective siege for five years, so the same poor decision making that allegedly led, according to the US and others to the chemical weapons strike may lead to other bad judgments.
Russia CANNOT lose face , so may also respond
Since the main point of the Russian intervention in Syria was to embolden Moscow on the world stage after the crippling effects of sanctions on their economy. Now, they of course have to find an appropriate report to having an airbase, where they have stationed asset attacked in a US strike.
It may not be military action, and may not be in Syria, but Putin is a master of turning a completely different screw on his opponent. Think about Libya, or Ukraine
Syria’s curse continues
This is the most dangerous side effect. Wars normally end because the sides fighting get tired or run out of combatants and money.
Syria’s curse has been its proxy nature. It’s often other people doing the fighting. There is always a new outside group willing to step in to uphold one of the sides, just when they begin to waver.
The regime has had Hezbollah, then Iran, then Iraqi militia, then Russia. The rebels had Turkey, then the West, then regional powers, then al-Qaeda, then ISIS, then Turkey again. Now unless this one strike really is the only military measure the US takes against Syria’s regime — there risks being yet another player in the mix.
ISIS and refugees
Continued US actions might weaken Assad’s regime, and give the rebels new life to retake territory, prolonging yet again the violence. This invariably means more chaos for ISIS, more refugees, and more dead innocent children, like the ones that forced Trump into action.