The United States’ attack on a Syrian airbase has stirred the geopolitical pot. Many Russian officials have come out against the attack. However, the most striking and aggressive remarks come from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who issued a warning to the Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump, and the United States.
The escalation of rhetoric could lead to ‘real war’, warns the Russian embassy in London.
Iran’s President Rouhani stated that Syria must make ‘America pay’ for its actions last week. Rouhani’s position presumes that the United States is funding and propping up these rebel groups – who amount to terrorists – in order to destabilize the region and impose its will, as the U.S. did in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rouhani presumes that the chemical attack was not carried out by the Syrian military.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a statement from the Group of 7 meeting in Italy, “We Rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against innocents anywhere in the world.” The Group of 7 is significant in that it used to be the G8 until Russia was barred from the group because of its annexation of the Ukraine. Reentry into the group is considered to be the carrot on the stick of Russia behaving itself geopolitically, including ceasing their support of the Assad regime.
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who is now Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, also came out with words of warning for Russia. On “Fox News Sunday” McMaster questioned Russia’s mode of behavior, “Do they want it to be a relationship of competition and potential conflict? I don’t see how that’s in Russian interests. Or do they want it to be a relationship in which we can find areas of cooperation that in mutual interests? How is it in anyone’s interest that this conflict in Syria and this catastrophe in the greater Middle East continues, and they can be part of the solution.”
President Rouhani’s response called into question the general modus operandi of the United States in the context of military action and political plans of action, “Americans have never acted within the international frameworks, and one instance is the sanctions they impose against Iran, unreasonably considering themselves as the world’s leader. The Syrian people and army must give a response (to the U.S.) that makes America regret their attack.”
Russia and Iran have a vested interest in keeping Assad in power. Russia sees him as a vital trade partner. But the major motivations for both Iran and Russia to prop up Assad is to frustrate the plans of the United States in the region.
The United States has been at war in the Middle East for over fifteen-years. The wars were predicated on intelligence (WMDs) that proved to be faulty. In the last fifteen years, the vortex of destabilization has spread to a laundry list of countries. War in Afghanistan and Iraq and popular uprisings in Libya and Egypt, all resulting in regime change. There was a failed military coup in Turkey in the late summer of 2016. There is a civil war in Syria, with the United States claiming that there is now need for a new power. Assad, in part, because he used chemical weapons, is no longer a legitimate leader of that country. Keeping the Assad domino from falling, would insure that the United States doesn’t go after taking out the current Iranian regime.
Punishing Assad for use of chemical weapons is good. Regime change in Iran is the prize.https://t.co/vnRo82CU4r
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 8, 2017
This does not seem like a farfetched or paranoid idea. Bill Kristol, conservative pundit and activist, recently tweeted that he supported Trump in his actions against Syria, hopes the Trump does more, and then stated that the real prize is regime change in Iran. Kristol is effectively calling for WWIII. In order to effect that type of change in Iran, the United States would need to have ground troops in Syria. That has the potential, and almost probability, of encountering the Russian forces that are already in Syria in support of Assad. Hillary Clinton’s stated plan of taking over the airspace in Syria would also result in conflict with Russia, which could develop into real war with the country.
There is an escalation of words on both sides of this conflict in the aftermath of the chemical attack and the United States military action in response to the attack. Iranian officials are doubling down on the idea that the United States is interjecting themselves in a conflict where they have no national security interests. The United States claims that the goal in Syria is essentially humanitarian, in that Assad’s brutal treatment of his people has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the greatest refugee crisis since WWII.
Russia and Iran both feel that this claim to humanitarianism rings hollow, as the United States is effectually funding the conflict by arming rebel groups, who are associated with terrorist organizations. The two allied nations feel the solution to the crisis of refugees and the war in Syria is to support the elected President Bashar Al-Assad. They view the U.S. desire to see regime change the continuation of the behavioral pattern of the last fifteen years; destabilization of Middle Eastern countries rationalized under the guise of humanitarianism.
Neither side of the conflict is backing down, and the Trump administration seems to be committed to the course of action of the military establishment. Various administration officials have stated that they believe that the United States has a bigger role to play in the Syrian conflict. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor McMaster, and UN Ambassador Haley have all come out publicly and laid the public relations groundwork for troops in Syria. This policy is at odds with the Trump-candidacy platform and the will of the people.
Official: Russia knew in advance of Syrian chemical attack. https://t.co/R4TeO4Lq8p
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 10, 2017
The war drums continue to accelerate in their pace and raise in their volume, giving pause to those listening to their empty rhetorical posturing and hollow morality.