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Trump’s Attack on Syria: Wrong for so Many Reasons

Many Americans and people around the world followed with great concern the off-the-cuff and zany ideas Donald Trump voiced during the presidential campaign and more ominously after becoming President.

Donald J. Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

It is one thing to disagree with him on a domestic policy issue like banning Muslim tourists or healthcare or building a wall, it is quite another when he issues threats to foreign countries such as Iran and North Korea, and even worse when he orders a missile attack on Syria.

What is wrong with such a disastrous decision? President Trump does not have the requisite background knowledge about the Syrian conflict, except for what he has read in some fringe publications and seen on his favorite TV channel, FOX News.

Trump stated that he was deeply touched by the images of babies he had seen on TV who had been hurt by a chemical attack. Who would not be? Certainly, he had an emotional and impulsive reaction to heart-wrenching pictures, which cannot be a substitute for a well-thought out foreign policy without a thorough examination of the facts of this tragic incident and careful consideration of the consequences of an extreme action like launching 59 tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base.

Fortunately, Trump’s aides alerted Russia shortly before the attack, to avoid any Russian casualties which could have had catastrophic consequences for the entire world.

Furthermore, Trump’s actions violated the U.S. Constitution, as he neither sought nor received the legally required authorization from the U.S. Congress to launch a war on another sovereign state.

President Trump had neither the wisdom nor the patience to wait for the outcome of the investigation of the circumstances of the chemical attack—to verify who is truly responsible for this terrible attack.

The Trump Administration accused the Syrian Air Force of carrying out a chemical attack near Idlib. The Syrian and Russian governments have a different version of these events. They affirm that Syria does not possess any chemical weapons after its 2003 agreement to dispose of all such hazardous materials.

Furthermore, Syria claims that the chemical explosion was caused by its Air Force bombing a warehouse belonging to Syrian terrorists who had stored these dangerous materials. It makes no sense for Pres. Assad to use chemical weapons while he is winning, risk antagonizing the West, and precipitating a military backlash.

We recall that back in 2013, there was another chemical attack on a Damascus suburb that killed many more people than the one near Idlib. Back then, President Barack Obama was close to going to war with Syria wrongly believing that the Syrian government had crossed his announced “red line.” However, when he learned that the chemical attack near Damascus was a “false flag,” meaning that it was orchestrated by Turkey and its terrorist allies to force the United States to intervene militarily in Syria, President Obama did not go through with his plans to launch missiles on Syria. No one should forget that U.S. officials in 2003 presented fake “intelligence” evidence to the world claiming that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Ironically, many Republican members of Congress who are now applauding President Trump for his decision to attack Syria, back then were the most vocal critics of President Obama for planning a similar attack. Furthermore, even though the 2013 chemical attack killed many more people and babies, Donald Trump issued 40 tweets urging Pres. Obama not to attack Syria. Trump did not seem to care about “beautiful little Syrian babies” back then, as he is claiming now.

Both the White House and many self-declared pundits in the American media, who have made up the most outrageous lies about Syria in the last six years, are now claiming that eliminating the use of chemical weapons in Syria is in the U.S. national interest. They also affirm that the chemical weapons are banned by international treaty and their use is a violation of international law.

While acknowledging the truth of these statements, one has to ask:

1) Why no investigation was carried out of the chemical attack, prior to the U.S. Missile launch?

2) Under what right has Trump has appointed himself the arbiter of international law and policeman of the world? International law, by definition, is an issue touching all countries, not just the United States. The proper venue to investigate, condemn and punish such violations of international law is the United Nations Security Council, not the White House. Furthermore, attacking a sovereign nation is itself a violation of international law.

3) By attacking Syria and destroying its military planes, President Trump has in fact emboldened and strengthened the ISIS terrorists to continue and expand their criminal acts in Syria and around the world, particularly when they see that each time they use chemical weapons, the West accuses Pres. Assad for it and attacks Syria. Furthermore, by weakening and replacing Pres. Assad, Pres. Trump risks causing chaos and terrorism similar to Iraq and Libya, leading to many more deaths! Who will replace Pres. Assad and what guarantees are there that his replacement will not be ISIS, resulting in not just 80 deaths as in the recent chemical attack, but additional million casualties on the top of the half a million deaths in the Syrian conflict in recent years? The last thing the Syrian people need is more attacks and more bloodshed. What they need is painstaking diplomatic effort to find a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

All those in the U.S. and around the world who were concerned that Pres. Trump would make reckless decisions and endanger international peace, have regrettably witnessed the first such incident within the first 100 days of his Presidency. Everyone now fears that more such saber-rattling and unwarranted destabilizing attacks will take place in the coming weeks and months in other parts of the world. One hopes that Pres. Trump did not initiate the attack on Syria simply to distract attention away from many of his domestic problems, as he has done repeatedly on other issues in recent weeks.

Finally, what happened to President Trump’s repeated brash statements about “America First,” and “I am the President of the United States, not the President of the world”?

4 Comments on Trump’s Attack on Syria: Wrong for so Many Reasons

  1. avatar Virginia Apelian // April 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm // Reply

    The author of this article does not have a single clue to what he/she is talking about. Not on international law, or US Constitutional law or being able to justify Assad’s killing of 1/2 million people of Syria, his own people. There is no justification for that! Since Obama was negligent to pursue the red line that he drew with Assad initially, things escalated, and of course Pres. Trump had to stop the lunacy that was taking place in Syria. May be more people hold listen to Fox News to get the true information, not biased and fake news from elslewhere.

  2. avatar Zaven Lambajian // April 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm // Reply

    Mr. Sassounian,

    One tends to agree with lot of the arguments you bring in your article that Assad had no reasons to use chemical weapons, but you do not bring any facts to back up your arguments, you just bring your opinion. When an action is taken by someone does not make sense, such as President Trump’s action, I believe there is an alterior motive, which needs to be exposed. For example, refer to your statement, in your above article, about Turkey’s action to bring the US into the conflict zone, and Obama found out did not bite.

  3. avatar Karney Eldridge // April 19, 2017 at 7:33 am // Reply

    Syria keeps saying it has no chemicals and yet that has been proven untrue. keep throwing FOX into this, does that show intellectual discussion? Or biased reporting. he notified Russian as well as others, because they (US) were not inflicting war on people, just trying to bomb out the facilities, so as to prevent future chemical attacks. Why not report on how under previous administration, Christians were denied entry to US by US Embassy. Armenians, make up your minds. Our ambassador at the UN has stated plainly, the UN needs to do its job, which it has NOT done. all I get out of this article is, hatred towards Trump & FOX news, not accurate reporting.

  4. avatar Michael S. Benlian // April 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm // Reply

    Thank you Mr. H. Sassounian,
    I whole heartedly agree with your analysis. And yes, all the reasons you brought to light is the exact truth. The problem with all the three negative comments I read is the following:
    Armenians who were here in the US for a long time do not understand the ramifications and the politics of the middle east. Their way of thinking is built upon western perception and American media vision. With all respect to all, those who are born here, and never lived or seen the middle east, such as Syria, will never understand the implications and the way of life of the other world. The demography of Syria does not look like any territory in the US. The people of Syria don’t think , don’t live, and don’t eat like we do here in the US. Their mentality and their culture is theirs and not ours. You can not compare them to us. They live and love their way of life, and we live and love our own. Live and let live. That is their life that they are used to for thousands of years. Now, you want to change them and bring them close to yours? That is impossible. Look what we did in Iraq, …. what was the final outcome, do you know?!! That is a recipe for failure and disaster. I believe that we need a brain revolution here in the U.S. and not be brain washed by the media, the TV, the Radio, the Newspapers and those who like to corrupt the new generation.
    Armenians everywhere have to take this matter very seriously. Just to educate few readers, let me remind you that Syria is home to many Armenians. Aleppo, FYI is HALEB, is the capital of Armenians in Syria. Haleb, is where Armenians found refuge when they escaped from the FIRST HOLOCAUST of the twentieth century. Don’t you forget it!! Hafez el Assad, and Basshar el Assad took good care of all Armenians. Armenians enjoyed life and nourished and flourished living under the ASSADs regimes. No problem living with Syrians, whether they were Moslems or Christians. Yes, I know it. You guys don’t know the truth. You guys are alienated from the truth. My parents came from there, and they still are proud of that city and of Syria. America must take care of itself and be strong inside. America should not do the dirty work for other countries while putting our brothers and sisters in harm way. America should do what is good for America and try to be friends with all countries specially Syria and other Arab countries. Keep in mind, ISIS are not moslems, moslems don’t preach killing of the innocents. So, don’t look from outside, but go inside, see and feel and then come back and teach me the truth.
    Don’t encourage killing Armenians in Aleppo. Got it!!!!

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