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Russia And The US Facing Off Over Syrian Chemical Attack Again

Russia And The US Facing Off Over Syrian Chemical Attack Again

Russia And The US Facing Off Over Syrian Chemical Attack Again

Tim Benton

We have seen the push from the left since the election for a confrontation with Russia and Putin; we now see with Russia’s ally Syria using chemical weapons against his people again over the weekend, this is both a challenge to the US and a slap in the face at the same time. One looks at this and asks, what should be done and where is this leading to?

I know there are people that will claim that Trump is somehow an ally of Putin, but if they took off their blinders, they would see just the opposite. While any businessman with an international footprint in business has to establish working relationships with the world, this by no means translates into a political relationship, the goals are always mutually the same. Further, if you look at the statements coming out of Russia now, you will hear their leadership, more through surrogates like old military leaders saying the relationship is worse then it has ever been, even worse then during the cold war.

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What is more, Syria is far from the biggest problem we have with the Russian Bear that seems to be waking back up again, even as early as 2008 this was written about, and as time has gone by we have seen Russia become more aggressive as it tries to reassert itself, many times this was due to the weakness of Obama’s and the Wests reaction to Putin’s actions.

One of the greatest powder kegs is Syria and the Middle East, much of this was due to Obama pulling the US back, in that void jumped both ISIS and Russia, China and Iran, instead of stabilizing the area he made it much worse, then to add insult to injury, he set red lines that had nothing done when crossed, and deals made with aggressive powers, such as Iran that left the area in much worse shape then if he had left it alone. But the worst part, when called out for his weak reaction to using of chemical weapons Obama said he never set a red line, blamed it on the world.

Now what we have is a reworking of Middle East lines, you have one one side Russia, Iran and Syria along with their proxies have set the area at the brink of war, facing them you have the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their allies, a hatred of old, the Shiites and Sunni has been opened back up, this time I am not sure that this lid can be put back in that jar.

So what could set off the Middle East into a war?

To keep it simple, just about anything. What you have is the Russians and Iran have promised that any response from the US will be retaliated upon, the same threat has also been issued to Israel, the difference between Israel, Russia, and Obama is these two will carry out what they promised, so this leaves the US in a real bind.

Trump has shown that if he says he will retaliate for crossing the line by using chemical weapons, you can bet he will, but such an attack may draw a response from Russia and Iran, more so if they lose their own in such an attack, but if he does nothing, the US will look as they did under Obama, weak and indecisive, something has to be done, even more so when you look at the timing of things, this attack was not done without reason, Assad used the same type of weapons a year ago, almost to the day, this attack is a challenge to the US to do something about it.

The unknown at this point, and it really is not an unknown, is Bolton who Trump just brought in as National Security Advisor, he has in the past pushed for attacking with enough force that a message is given that will be heard very clearly, don’t try this again, but what if Trump listens, starts to take out Assad’s ability to strike with these weapons, such a move would take bunker busters dropped on chemical factories and storage area’s. This would not only destroy the weapons, the problem is what comes after, you could have hundreds, maybe even thousands of Russian, Syrians and Iranian personnel affected by the chemical and possibly biological weapons, if such an attack happened, the Russians, Syrian and Iranian would demand a response, I am not sure any leader could stop the demands and hold onto power.

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What would such a war look like?

I think at first all sides would try to restrict this to the local area, I don’t see it in Russia’s interests to bring such a conflict to the world stage, but that may be harder then you think. Iran would try to make moves both against the US, may also with Russia by her side be emboldened enough to attack Israel, that would be a very bad mistake.

While Russia has the advantage of distance, their borders are shared with Iran, whose own borders bump up against Syria, the US would have to transport troops and material from the US to the Middle East, although there is a sizable stockpile of both hardware and ammo already stockpiled in the Middle East. Not only in Israel but Qatar and Kuwait as well, the question remains, will these nations allow access to these if the US were fighting a war allied with Israel? If so, and I think they would, it would be in their interests to see Iran pushed back, although such a move could cause a fracturing of NATO with Turkey vehemently opposed to such a move, the US, if it can access, would have enough prepositioned material both in Arab nations and Israel to field a force that could at least in the short term sit as a blocking force while they tried to rush their leading troops to the area. Naturally Russia and Iran know this as well, it would then be reasonable to think at least the Arab nation stocks would come under attack, Israel may too, but they have a much more robust missile defense system to deal with such attacks, also remember, Israel is obligated under treaty to use these assets to protect American forces in the region if they are in position to make an intercept.

The whole problem would come in with what the end goals of such a conflict are, if the US just wanted to weaken the hold Russia and Iran has in the area, they could do this, but if their goal were to push both nations back to their borders, such a move would open the whole area to a confrontation, for such a move would widen the conflict radically as there would be a need for ground troops to achieve this. I have little doubt the US could succeed, but the question has to be asked, at what cost? And if we have an idea of the price, is the cost and the objective beneficial? Also, after years already of seeing the local acceptance of American troops, or any forces that are not followers of Islam, it is not like it would be any easier then Iraq was to hold the peace after a conflict, we could have Iraq times ten in the scope of insurgencies.

In the end, I see small conflicts, more pushing Iran back to their borders, stopping their expansion that we see now. I think if this was achieved and assurances were given to the security of Syria and Iran as sovereign entities, Russia may take a bloody nose, give back for the sake of national honor, and then work out an agreeable treaty, but make no mistake, the cost of such a war, more so when our equiptment is already is sad shape after years of abuse with little or no parts to keep them operational, unless we are willing to put some serious money into remanufacturing what is needed for the readiness of our hardware, we will end up in a very vulnerable state after such a conflict.

The Unknown

There are many unknowns, but the greatest facing such a confrontation is how Hezbollah and Hamas would react in such a confrontation. Any move by them against Israel could quickly escalate such a confrontation into something that could very quickly reach out of control. Also, there is the chance that if Iran and Russia would be preoccupied with America and its Arab allies Israel could see this as a chance to remove the terrorist on its borders, if they aren’t drawn into the conflict they could expand their own and know that Iran will be unable to supply any aid could choose such a time to clear out Hezbollah and Hamas themselves.


I think Trump has made it well known if Syria uses Chemical weapons again, and they have, then the US would respond, further after hearing of the Saturday attacks Trump has already come out and said there will be a huge price to pay for this attack, one just has to ask when?

A response needs to be given, and should be, no nation should be allowed to use any WMD on their own citizens, or anyone else for that matter with impunity, it is time to send a message, and just like the US and much of the West did when they found Russia had used chemical weapons to attack a refugee in England, we need to act when such an attack occurred on a much grander scale.

The question we are struck with is, what type of response and where will such a response take us? History has taught us time after time that not dealing with aggression, trying to appease will only result in more, each time the demands will become greater. Further, fear of possible outcome is not a reason not to act, if you use this reason then you would never act at all, tyrants would rule the world and the West would be nothing but a paper tiger.


About The Author

Timothy Benton

Student of history, a journalist for the last 2 years. Specialize in Middle East History, more specifically modern history with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Also, a political commentator has been a lifetime fan of politics.

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