by Paul Notice
Just hours after president Trump expressed outrage at Syria's chemical attack on civilians, US forces launched an airstrike against Syrian government forcing es. The tomahawk cruise missile came from two US Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea, over the course of 3-4 minutes.
President Trump confirmed the air strike in Syrian forces, Thursday, 06, 2017, saying: "It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should suffer such horror."
The missiles targeted fuel depots, fighter jets and other infrastructure assets on an isolated Syrian air base. According to the New York Times' Colleen Cooper, "There were no Russian planes at the base, and no Russian facilities were targeted."
The Pentagon says it did alert Russian forces prior to the attack, through its usual deconfliction channels, which risked having Russian forces alerting Syrian government forces of the attack.
According to the New York Times, this was one of more limited options given to Trump as possible retaliation, by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
They all fell within former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent comments on the chemical attack during an interview with The New York Times' Nicholas Kristoff. She lamented not having the US completely disable Syria's air capabilities in order to prevent further sarin gas attacks.
The options present by Mattis to Trump, also included completely eradicating the Syrian government's air defense systems completely. Though, according to Cooper, the danger in doing such a strike, would risk having those actions be seen as a clear declaration of war.
However, the hope, right or wrong, is that the limited scale of the attack, matching that of the chemical attack earlier this week, will send a message to the Assad regime that chemical attacks will not be tolerated.
Nevertheless, this opens the US up to more aggressive tactics in interventionist practices globally.
The immediacy of this attack is yet another reversal from former president Obama's usual approach to using force as intervention. The Obama administration in contrast, often cited the long-term negative effects of such activities as reason to stall more aggressive tactics.
This also brings in question of Russia's involvement in Syria, and whether this latest move by US forces could spark a proxy war of two major world powers amongst developing nations.
What's the details on the chemical attack?
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claim war planes carried out a number of attacks in a northern rebel-held town, leaving 58 civilians dead, including 9 children. Their cause of death is being speculated as chemical/gas attack as victims appeared to have died from suffocation, and were found frothing at the mouth. Syrian government forces were allegedly forced to give up their chemical weapons under a UN agreement including Russia's oversight.