Opinion After Syria strikes, now what?

23:06  15 april  2018
23:06  15 april  2018 Source:   CNN

Airlines warned about 'possible' military action against Syria

  Airlines warned about 'possible' military action against Syria A European air traffic control agency alerted airlines Tuesday to monitor the situation in the eastern Mediterranean amid possible military action by Western countries against the Syrian government in the next 72 hours. Eurocontrol, a key pan-European international aviation organization, said airlines should be prepared for any possible disruption of radio navigation equipment in the event of possible air strikes against Syria, Reuters reported.

- Israel struck a Syrian factory last week that reportedly produced precision and chemical weapons. Israel has given the United States fair warning that there are limits to what Israel will tolerate in Iranian conduct and the Iranian presence in Syria .

Trump followed through on red line — now he must use diplomacy. Airstrikes hit Syria , but Assad is unfazed.

Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) © Hassan Ammar/AP Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The US-led military strikes in Syria raise a number of questions:

Kaine rips Syria strikes: What's stopping Trump from bombing Iran, North Korea next?

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(CNN) - The US-led military strikes in Syria raise a number of questions: First, and most basic, what exactly is US policy in Syria ? Now , Trump has presided over a large-scale bombing operation aimed at several targets in Syria , including in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

Last week President Trump demonstrated American resolve by retaliating against the Syrian government after Bashar Assad used chemical weapons. Now Mr. Trump must follow through with a broad diplomatic effort to end the country’s bloodshed.

First, and most basic, what exactly is US policy in Syria? President Donald Trump said just two weeks ago in a speech in Ohio that the US would "be coming out of Syria like very soon." Now, Trump has presided over a large-scale bombing operation aimed at several targets in Syria, including in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

So what is the Trump administration policy? Is it that Syrian leader Bashar al Assad must go, which has been the stated policy of the United States going back to the early days of the Syrian civil war under President Barack Obama? Or is there simply just a red line on Assad's use of chemical weapons, but not much more?

The answer is far from clear. When President Trump announced the US-led strikes on Friday he emphasized the latter, while his own ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said earlier this week that there is no political solution in Syria with Assad still in power.

Over 100 missiles fired at Syria, 'significant number' intercepted: Moscow

  Over 100 missiles fired at Syria, 'significant number' intercepted: Moscow <p>The US and its allies fired more than 100 cruise missiles at Syria, a significant number of which were intercepted by Syrian air defences, the Russian defence ministry said Saturday.</p>"More than 100 cruise missiles and air-to-land missiles were fired by the US, Britain and France from the sea and air at Syrian military and civilian targets," the ministry said in a statement quoted by RIA Novosti news agency, adding that "a significant number" were shot down by Syrian air defences.

In the aftermath of the strike , there is, as ever, the question: “And now what ?” What incentives do the Russians have to pressure Assad? Will there be retaliatory blows against U.S. service personnel fighting the Islamic State in Syria ?

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Second, beyond responding to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons, does the Trump administration have a plan to protect Syrian civilians in the war that has destroyed much of their country over the past seven years?

Nearly half a million Syrians have died in the war, of which chemical weapons have only killed a tiny fraction. On the campaign trail, candidate Trump sometimes raised the idea of creating "safe zones" for Syrian civilians.

Is the next step for the Trump administration the creation of such zones? And how would these work? Such safe zones would require "no fly zones" because the Syrian air force has hitherto enjoyed total air superiority allowing them to drop chemical weapons, "barrel bombs" and other munitions more or less at will. Enforcing such a no fly zone is complicated by the fact that there are considerable numbers of Russian aircraft flying over Syria.

Netanyahu praises US strikes in Syria, warns about Iran

  Netanyahu praises US strikes in Syria, warns about Iran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coupled praise for U.S.-led strikes on Syrian targets on Saturday with a warning that Iran's presence there further endangers Syria. U.S., British and French forces hit Syria with air strikes overnight in response to an alleged poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week. U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until Assad’s government stopped its use of chemical weapons.

What are his options now ? Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday described the choice to strike Syria as deliberative and decisive. Militarily, the strikes seem to be a singular action attached to no publicly announced policy objectives.

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Third, might Trump's laudable concern about civilian casualties caused by chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war change his view about Syrian refugees entering the United States? Right now the Trump administration has effectively banned the entry of Syrian refugees into the US, despite the fact that most are women and children.

Fourth, do the strikes mark some kind of turning point between Trump and Russia? The President had been loathe to critique Russia President Vladimir Putin, yet on Friday he had harsh words for the Russians, saying: "To Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?"

Fifth, when US Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke at a press conference at the Pentagon on Friday night he said the legal authorization for the strikes was under the president's Article 2 authority in the Constitution as commander in chief. Many legal experts -- as well as a number of members of Congress -- would beg to differ. Attacking Syrian regime targets, as opposed to ISIS targets has not been authorized by Congress which is supposed to sanction US military actions, although recent presidents have tended to minimize the role of Congress in such matters.

Sixth, is there a bit of "Wag the Dog" to all this? This was the accusation, adapted from the title of a popular movie, against President Bill Clinton who, in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky affair, launched military strikes against al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in August 1998 following al Qaeda's bombing of two US embassies in Africa.

As Mark Twain is supposed to have observed, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

Iraq carries out air strikes on Islamic State in Syria .
Iraq carried out air strikes on IS positions in Syria a week after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country would defend itself from militant threats.F-16 warplanes crossed into Syria to carry out the strikes after coordination with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, an Iraqi military spokesman said.

Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/opinion/-136345-after-syria-strikes-now-what/

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