May 24, 2018

Syria –the Thirld World War does not start on Twitter

By Corneliu Pivariu.

Some days after the American president Donad Trump announced it on Twitter, more exactly on the night of Friday to Saturday, April 14th at 04.00 Damascus time, the USA, Great Britain and France launched a missiles attack (Tomahawk and other air-to-ground bomber launched missiles) on punctual targets (one on the Damascus outskirts and two in Homs region) belonging to the chemical weapons program of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. Readers can look at a more detailed analysis in the Suplement to this issue while here we make some consideration concerning the global and regional geopolitical situation folowing this last allied attack as well as on the possible consequences.

Although there vere several guesstimates that the attack will take place at the end of April, it happened a short time after the American president’s declaration, this time probably in connection with the recent internal events in the USA. For the British prime minister Theresa May and for the French president Emmanuel Macron, too, the act represented a good opportunity for improving their favourable ratings and public appreciation.

As it was anticipated, the strike was more powerful than the April, 2017 one and proved the USA president’s resolution (and of the allies) of not tolerating the use of chemical arms by the Syrian regime as Barack Obama did in 2013, when crossing ”the red line” set by the American administration itself was not penalised.

In fact, the Syrian regime led by the Assad’s has benefited, along the history, from the lack of reaction of the international community over the attrocities perpetrated against their own population and we mention here only the February 1982 massacre in Hama when the army and the security troops killed around 40,000 inhabitants of the town that was closed, as it was destroyed in a great part, for almost a year. In this context, we consider that the 14th of April 2018 strike was not decisive in determining Assad’s regime to not further bomb its own population.

We noticed the USA’s and allies’ concern of not ”scratching any of the Russian soldiers” as some analysts appreciated after the strike. For the matter, this is better emphasized by the fact that another facility of the Syrian chemical program, situated in the mountaneous area of Lattakia region, was not hit having in mind its proximity to the Russian base in Hmeimim. We note also that, according to some sources, the radars of the Russian systems of missiles were shut down (probably for avoiding incidents). A Russian source appreciated that April 14th ”was a very good day for president Putin”, as it showedthat Russia is dealt with carefully, contrary to the declaration (that might be considered as a little too unusual for a democratic state) of the Russian ambassador in the USA according to whom the attack represented an insult to the Russian president.

On that occasion, the USA regained some of its lost role of important international arbiter and is being repositioning itself as an important player in Syria, even if the strike is not sufficient in this regard. NATO proves anew that it is an strong alliance having resources to overcome difficult moments. France will probably strengthen its position in Syria (most likely in the north-east of the country), while Great Britain will continue to be an important USA’s ally in the Middle East.

The dispute will continue with diplomatic, political and other nature means (the digital activity of the Russian trolls increased already by 2,000% 24 hours after the attack). A resolution of condemning the attack submitted by Russia was vetoed by the Security Council (with 8 votes majority with Russia, China and Bolivia only voting in favor), something that was expected indeed.

The impromptu opinion of a source in Damascus is very interesting as he said, before the attack, that the analysts had different opinions considering it to be on a small scale, big or extended or it will not be at all, while he anticipated it will be ”quite petty” and added that the Syrians have been passing through more difficult moments and manifested his trust in the future actions of Assad’s regime.

Reiterating Syria’s regional geostrategic importance and its probably ample energy reserves not harnessed yet, it is our opinion that, on a short run, the Third World War will not start from Syria.

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About the author:

Corneliu Pivariu, former first deputy for military intelligence (two stars general) in the Romanian MoD, retired 2003. Member of IISS – London, alumni of Harvard – Kennedy School Executive Education and others international organizations. Founder of INGEPO Consulting, and bimonthly Bulletin, Geostrategic Pulse”. Main areas of expertise – geopolitics, intelligence and security.

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Corneliu Pivariu, INGEPO Consulting-Photographer Ionus Paraschiv.

 

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