Can any US-French strike deter Syria’s brutal regime?

Randa Takieddine
Randa Takieddine
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The shocking pictures of the recent chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime has led US President Donald Trump to make insulting remarks against Bashar al-Assad. Trump received two phone calls within 48 hours from French president Emmanuel Macron to coordinate their stances following the brutal chemical attack on Douma, which claimed more than 50 lives including a large number of children.

France’s efforts at directing the negotiations towards an interim phase in Syria have failed due to Russia’s stubbornness on keeping Bashar al-Assad in power, despite him destroying Syria. Russia likes to entertain the belief, mostly supported by Assad, that the Syrian regime succeeded and regained areas it had lost.

Unfortunately, the only solution now lies in the hands of the Russian leadership which will not hesitate in keeping its forces in Syria as long as Assad has handed it the keys to his country

Randa Takieddine

However, it has actually regained wrecked cities and a country where millions of its people have been displaced and will not return. Moreover, without real American support for the Kurds, Turkish interests are growing more than ever in Syria. Meanwhile, Iran is present in Syria in a way that threatens Russia which still needs its alliance with Tehran at this stage.

Vested interests of external powers

Macron has stated many times that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a red line, and if this line is crossed, the bases from where these chemical attacks were launched will be struck. In reality, everyone knows that Bashar al-Assad has crossed all red lines of brutality and cannot be stopped by Western powers.

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This is even if precise strikes against military installations and bases are carried out since he is protected by the dictators of Russia and Iran who do not care about their people’s opinions and whether they approve or not of military intervention in Syria. For example, there’s controversy among people in Iran about the use of military intervention in Syria and the spending of huge sums of money to fund Hezbollah and its fighters in Lebanon. However, the regime in Tehran does not care about its people’s opposition.

Russia has benefited from its intervention in Syria as the world has recognized that President Putin is the key to any solution, since the West, especially the United States, is no longer prepared to engage in any direct military intervention following the disaster of the Iraqi war.

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Trump won’t change his mind, as he has tweeted that he wanted US troops to withdraw from Syria. He is prepared to strike the “animal” to punish him, but the move will be limited to a certain location. Meanwhile, democratic countries are weak at confronting the brutality of the Syrian regime after its huge failure following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and Gaddafi’s regime in Libya.

Russia rules the roost

These countries have grown to be extremely cautious when it comes to sending troops or carrying out strikes to overthrow the Syrian regime, even if the latter is responsible for displacing a great number of its people to neighboring countries, Europe and other states. This major refugee problem has become a burden on neighboring countries and the international community must bear part of the responsibility.

Unfortunately, the only solution now lies in the hands of the Russian leadership which will not hesitate in keeping its forces in Syria as long as Assad has handed it the keys to his country.

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It is important to note that the three countries — namely Russia, Syria and Iran — have denied using chemical weapons when in fact all the pictures prove the contrary. If the United States and France strike military bases in Syria, the regime will not be deterred from continuing, along with Iranian and Russian support, to destroy the country and the region.

The solution lies in reaching an American-Russian agreement over the new situation in Syria that guarantees a transition without Assad, but no one believes in the US policy because it is totally tilted in favor of Israel which has always sought to protect Assad’s rule. This does not give much room for optimism for the future of Syria. The solution remains problematic. Democracies will not militarily intervene to confront Iran and Russia, and hegemony will remain for the forces on the ground without a final solution.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Randa Takieddine is a Lebanese writer and the director of Al-Hayat newspaper office in Paris.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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