It has only been few days since US President Donald Trump’s controversial stance that he prefers to withdraw from Syria and let others handle and his hasty declaration of victory over ISIS. However, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s experts and perhaps others, have brought back an angry Trump to the Syrian scene.
Assad’s forces targeted the residents of Douma in Ghouta with chemical weapons shocking the world and embarrassing it. What’s strange about this crime is that it was carried out after armed groups in Ghouta surrendered and reached an agreement with the Russians to exit Ghouta. So why boast by provoking the Americans, particularly Trump who previously reprimanded his lenient predecessor Obama and criticized him for backing away from the “red lines” he had drawn towards the Assad regime?
Trump reacted immediately and took to his favorite platform to voice a strict American stance towards Assad’s crime and his sponsors, Russia and Iran. Trump threatened the Syrian regime it will pay a big price for the chemical attack against Douma and blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran for supporting Assad.
Trump also reminded people of Obama’s disastrous legacy towards Syria and said in a tweet: “If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”
When asked about the possibility of launching airstrikes against Assad’s forces in response to the crime committed in Douma, White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Thomas Bossert said in a television interview that all options are on the table.
Meanwhile, France called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss developments in Ghouta. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France will not evade its responsibilities, i.e. in reference to President Emmanuel Macron’s pledge that France will carry out a unilateral attack against Assad if his forces carry out chemical attacks again.
The European Union accused the Syrian regime of standing behind the recent chemical attack and called on the international community to respond.
The Catholics’ voice in the world, Pope Francis, commented on the crime in Douma and said from St Peter’s Square: “There is nothing, nothing, that can justify the use of such instruments of extermination against unarmed people and populations.”
The use of chemical weapons is currently a matter that provokes the West after Russian agents poisoned a double agent and his daughter in Britain. The entire “West” voiced solidarity with Britain against Russia which is today protecting Assad who has used chemical weapons. So will things go back to how they were before following this Douma crime which was committed in the last mile before victory was announced for Assad and his sponsors?
Will it make Trump seriously think of activating and not ending the American role in Syria? Maybe. Time is the greatest teacher.
By the way, what is Turkey’s news today?
This article was first published in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy