Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Siege, Starve and Surrender

"On the streets of Damascus, there was jubilation as government supporters realized that a more expansive assault would not materialize."
The Washington Post

"I am so proud now it feels like a long time in the war, but now we are safe I wish peace prevails all of Syria so that everyone can sense the priceless feeling of peace."
"The U.S. should stop meddling in other country's affairs they need to leave us alone we can solve our problems on our own, we didn't call for them to be a global police force that has gone rogue anyway."
Tamer Shaban, state employee, Damascus

"Today we are here to celebrate our army forces, which brought back peace and security to the capital after years of rebels attacks, and also confronted foreign military strikes so it's about time we celebrate in this square without fear." 
Jamal Salem, 22, university student, Damascus 
Syrians rally in Damascus’s Umayyad Square on April 16, 2018, in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

"The response is very weak in my judgement."
"It should have been decisive, it should have been consequential."
Ret.Gen.Jack Keane, former vice-chief of staff. U.S. Army

"This was more about the Western allies making sure their red lines were addressed rather than trying to seriously damage the Assad regime, prevent the further killing of civilians or reduce the capacity of the Assad regime to keep fighting."
"From Assad's perspective, this was a big win. He must be thinking, this is good, I came out on top, I gained much more than I lost."
Associate Professor Amr al-Azm, Middle East history, Shawnee University, Ohio
It was a response, after all, planned to target chemical production and storage installations, as a symbol of the moral outrage emanating from the great Western powers of the United States, France and England, teaching Russia, Syria and Iran an object lesson in the moral responsibility to react, inherent in the social-political fabric of democratic states. As punishment, however, there was little cost to the target, rather relief that the suspense was finally over and the Syrian regime could go on to other matters.

There were no human casualties. Anything of real value as far as materiel assets were concerned was removed well prior to the attack, since ample warning was given it was forthcoming. The trio knew that Russia had ordered the withdrawal of its vulnerable assets while those of Bashar al-Assad were speedily moved, to shelter them from destruction. The real estate that was targeted was hit and all three installations rendered inoperative.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands after a joint press conference as part of a tripartite summit on Syria, in Ankara, on April 4, 2018.
Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images
Gloating 'mission accomplished' in a self-congratulatory hug was ingloriously interrupted by a former Syrian commander who had turned against the regime, explaining that the major chemical producing installation was left untouched. What a triumph of military might in a demonstration that world powers do not take lightly the barbaric butchery undertaken by one of the world's most rabid killers of his own civilians! A far cry from the Israeli strike that preceded it, unannounced, targeted and deadly.

While happy to demonstrate Western values of acknowledgement of right and wrong and the measures that can be taken to punish those who commit to wrongs in so peerlessly atrocious a manner, the avengers appear to have misplaced the reality of the honour and conquest values of those being taught the lesson. That strikes which accomplish nothing represent an obvious weakness in the armour of the powerful, revealing them to be vulnerable and rather incapable.

It reveals weakness, not strength, and it is only the committed strength of those whom abuse of humanity is as nothing in the greater quest of domination that has any value. So that "muscular" response accomplished not an awful lot in a geography of the Middle East where success and respect is measured by the grim toll of vengeance meted out to those with the unmitigated gall to think they can upset the dominion of an unreconstructed tyrant, paying for their arrogance with lives forfeit.

In the Middle East if one possesses a hammer it is used to strike, unequivocally, finally and with maximum impact.
Smoke rises after the Assad regime carried out an airstrike on Sifoniye town of Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, on February 27, 2018.
Ammar Al Bushy /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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