The Morning After America Attacks Syria
A year ago, President Obama drew the redline in the sand for President Assad NOT to cross- the use of chemical weapons. This is probably the second small scale use of them since then. The second recent use killed over 1300 or so innocent people. There is the usual finger pointing by the rebels and Assad. The usual lingering intelligence about whether it was Assad or not and the outright lies the US made about WMD's in Iraq that all cloud decisions.
Most of the English speaking allies (Britain, Australia, US, NZ) are in support of attacking Syria. France is also. But the Arab countries, while they understand the need to do something to punish Assad or remove him, are afraid to support a Syria attack. Of course, Russia, Syria's long time ally has warned the US not to do it. Syria has promised reprisals if they are attacked. Iran indicates it will be a disaster for the region but fails to indicate what they will do. Other countries are watching to see what America does now that Obama's bluff has been called.
At this stage, there is little Obama can do except to attack. Anything else will hurt the credibility of America in the world. Sanctions seldom work, look at Iran. Obama knows he has put himself into the corner. The world waits.
The U.S., British, French attack will probably be minor, too narrowly focused and last a few days. Most likely, missiles will be fired from ships off shore at defined targets to degrade Syria's military capability. Assad himself has already been promised he will not be a target. Why? Just take the leader out. How can it make things worse?
Once it all settles, the new phase begins. The response, which in whatever form it takes, will simply escalate the war in the area. It will probably force Israel into a much more prominent role because they will counterattack. Iran and Syria will use whatever means they have to cause more mayhem and unrest-there is Hezbollah and Hamas with their thousands of rockets that could hit Israel. Assad could easily fear for his life and prestige and use even MORE chemical weapons against the rebels and provide some to Iran or its proxies. It could use it against Israel. Iran could cause more terrorist attacks upon Saudi Arabia or Bahrain or sink oil tankers, even just one, in transit in the Persian Gulf. Syria could request Russian troops to be based in Syria. North Korea could also take advantage of the mess and cause problems in that region.
The response is filled with nuances and the unexpectant. But, this is the box Obama has put himself into. Doing nothing is not an option. Sanctions are pointless. Military action is what is left and this small, limited missile strike, which probably will not do much, could be the spark that ignites the whole Middle East.