President Trump famously advised former President Obama not to attack Syria, but he has now made a complete U-turn on US policy. Having admitted the political reality that the legitimate and democratically elected President Assad could no longer be removed as per the aim pursued by the discredited Obama regime, Trump launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat near Homs on 8 June 2017, describing the attack as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Idlib on 6 June which the US blamed on the Syrian government without a shred of evidence.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rightly described the strike as “a violation of international law” and “an act of aggression against a sovereign state under a far-fetched pretext”. It was carried out without UN or even US Congress approval and as usual without any prior investigation or proof of the facts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also described the strike as “an aggression against a sovereign nation”, carried out “in violation of international law” and “under an invented pretext”.
Do we recognise a repetition of the disastrous policy on Iraq, where no chemical weapons were ever found, and which led to the destruction of that country and the death of innocent civilians across other countries of the Middle East and resulted the creation of ISIS?
Washington is fully aware that Damascus does not possess any chemical weapons. On 23 June 2014 the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Üzümcü, announced in The Hague that the last of Syria’s chemical weapons had been shipped out of the country for destruction.
Following a chemical attack in Ghouta in 2013, which killed up to 1,500 people, Syria had joined the UN Convention on Biological and Chemical Weapons (CBCW). Defence analyst Igor Nikulin, one of its former members, said that the US had acknowledged that Damascus had abandoned and destroyed all its chemical weapons in 2014. At that time Obama actually took credit for this, and the OPCW (Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons), which was controlled by the CBCW, subsequently received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its role.
Furthermore, UN inspectors were present during the elimination process, which Nikulin said was “fully observed”. In January 2016 the OPCW formally announced its completion of the disarmament of chemical weapons in Syria. This was acknowledged as absolute mathematical proof that all chemical weapons were removed from Syria. Moreover, it was achieved on Russia’s initiative.