Spotlight: Will U.S. intervene militarily against Syrian gov't in retaliation to alleged chemical attack?

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-07 06:22:08|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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by Hummam Sheikh Ali

DAMASCUS, April 7 (Xinhua) -- It seems like the chemical weapons are always the fastest pretext to ensure a military action against a certain country, and Syria is no exception.

In Iraq in 2003, the United States invaded the country on the pretext of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, which was later proved to be wrong "intel."

A wrong intel has brought woes on Iraq, which has been unstable since 2003, with the rising of extremism, sectarianism and weak economy.

On Tuesday, the Syrian opposition groups accused the Syrian warplanes of firing toxic gas on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in the countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria.

The attack allegedly killed over 70 people.

On the same day, the United States and the rest of the western orchestra hurled accusation on the government of President Bashar al-Assad of being behind the attack.

The U.S. administration, which was showing a subtle attitude toward Assad just a week ago, is now reportedly mulling over military action against the Syrian government just two days after the alleged attack.

It's astonishing how a big attack like this attracted war without being investigated, observers said.

The Syrian government acknowledged carrying an attack on Khan Sheikhoun, but denied firing toxic gas.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Thursday that the airstrikes struck an arm depot belonging to the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

He said it's not logical to use chemical weapons at a time when the Syrian government was optimistic that the international community was becoming more close to realizing the size of conspiracy on Syria.

The minister repeated that "the Syrian army forces haven't, and will not use chemical weapons" and that the forces are no longer in possession of such weapons.

Al-Moallem said that al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and likeminded groups have been storing chemical materials, which they brought into Syria from Iraq.

Analysts said that there is no logic in accusing the government of carrying a chemical attack at a time the situation of the Syrian army is very good that there is no reason for resorting to such an attack to make gains.

Osama Danura, a Syrian political analyst, told Xinhua that the anti-Syrian government campaign seemed like it was already prepared by the United States and the Western powers.

In his press conference Thursday, al-Moallem said there are several reasons behind the chemical attack allegations: the first is to change the opinion of Trump, who said after the attack that his opinion toward the Syrian government has changed, after previous remarks by the U.S. administration that toppling President al-Assad was no longer a priority.

The second reason, al-Moallem said, is to practice pressure on Russia, adding that it has failed after Moscow said it will continue to aid the Syrian army in the fight against "terrorist groups."

The third reason is also to practice pressure on Damascus, which he said also failed as the Syrian government will not change its approach in fighting terrorism and working on political solution at the same time.

Now, news coming from the United States suggest that the administration there is mulling over military action, whose nature is still unknown.

Still, Danura, the analyst, said that launching a war on Syria from the United States or Western countries sounds like "committing suicide."

"I say it will be like the Western powers are committing suicide because it would be a third world war," he said.

But the question is whether the United States really wants to step into a deep, muddy quagmire in Syria and face the Russians, and the Iranians, or just to pressure Russia and the Syrian government into making concessions.

Analysts said that the current situation is a reminder of what happened in 2013 when then U.S. President Barack Obama threatened military action against Damascus over chemical substance use in the Syrian war.

The military campaign didn't take place, as Russia and the United States reached a last minute deal which was dismantling the chemical arsenal of the Syrian government under the supervision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The chemical weapons of Syria were all dismantled, according to the deal, and Syrian government officials, mainly al-Moallem and his deputy, Faisal Mekdad, said that the government no longer possess such weapons.

So, dismantling the chemical arsenal of Syria was the price for halting the first would-be U.S. military campaign in 2013, but what could be the price, or the gain, behind the new escalation?

Analysts believed that the United States will work toward creating safe zones, or safe areas, in northern Syria with the no-fly zone for the Syrian army over such areas.

In the meantime, a fact-finding mission is also expected to be formed to investigate the attack, which returned Syria back to the first years of crisis, where the political solution seemed like a far-fetched dream amid all the chaos and the international wrangling.