by Armin Baldwin
Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s allies Iran, Russia and China have advised against military action following the recent chemical weapon attack in the rebel-held town of Douma in the outskirts of Damascus. However, it appears that the United States will be joined by allies Saudi Arabia and France in going against their advice.
US President Donald Trump said that he would respond “forcefully” and said that it would be within two days. So far, a day has passed.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary said that the president had already been in contact with the United Kingdom and France. She confirmed that the US is working with its allies to figure out the most appropriate course of action.
The Pentagon’s mission in Syria has been to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) and the US military’s presence there has been deemed illegal by Bashar al Assad.
In the uprising against Assad seven years ago, the US, France and Saudi Arabia worked together and they are again joining forces to challenge him following the news of the chemical weapons attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier in the week that he would soon make a decision about what action France would take and he mentioned several possible targets. Emphasising that he did not want the situation to escalate, Macron said that France’s solution will target the Syrian regime’s “chemical capabilities”.
In 2013, there was almost a joint effort between the US and France against Syria, but the Russian government intervened and forced Syria to give up its chemical weapons. Yet it appears that not everything was handed over.
Saudi Arabia has drawn attention to Iran’s involvement in the conflict. Officials in the kingdom have repeatedly warned about Iran’s malign influence in the region and have vowed to help in whatever way it can. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed stressed that those responsible for the chemical attack must be held responsible.
Iran joins the Syrian government in its denial of responsibility for the attack and they are both claiming that the allegations are a pretext for intervention against the Syrian government.
Yesterday, Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, said that Trump’s threats against Syria are doing nothing but aiding extremists in the country. Furthermore, a senior adviser to the Supreme Leader condemned the air strikes by Israeli forces in retaliation to the chemical attacks.
The pressure is on Iran and it is expected that it will be severely criticised at the upcoming Arab summit. Iran is involved in all of the conflicts and crises across the Middle East and it is essential for its influence to be curbed.
The people of Iran have called for regime change. Not only will this bring great change for the people of Iran who have been denied freedom, democracy and human rights, but it will also bring great change to the region where peace and security will slowly return.
Once Iran’s role has been properly acknowledged and considered by the international community, conflicts will die down.