by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research:
UPDATE (April 15, 2018)
The US war cabinet chose to implement a face saving punitive bombing rather than an all out war against Syria. Defense Secretary Mattis was acutely aware that a punitive bombing could lead to escalation and military confrontation with Russia.
Russia’s objective was to avoid a military clash while ensuring the defense of Syria. The Russians were crystal clear. They would counterattack if Russian military assets were targeted.
Washington also knew that they could not initiate at this juncture a major military campaign against Syria largely due to divisions within the Atlantic Alliance and the fact that a NATO member State, namely Turkey had become an ally of Russia and was fighting US proxy Kurdish rebel forces (integrated by French, British and US Special Forces) in Northern Syria.
What Washington decided upon was a punitive attack while putting a major theater war against Syria “on hold”.
Russia did not need to respond to this attack because none of its military assets were targetted and that was part of an understanding between Moscow and Washington.
Soviet era Russian air defense technology was used by Syria. According to Russian sources, 103 missiles were launched, 71 were destroyed by Syria’s air defense.
These developments do not in any way preclude the launching of a major military campaign against Syria at some future date.
(Michel Chossudovsky, April 15, 2018)
History is often the result of mistakes. Trump’s hawkish cabinet is made up a diabolical group of decision-makers including John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and “Mad Dog” Jim Mattis who are firmly committed to waging war. A massive US-NATO naval deployment is unfolding in the Eastern Mediterranean. The British government has put its Royal Air Force bombers on standby. The USS Truman aircraft carrier is en route to the Eastern Mediterranean.
At this stage it is impossible to predict what actions might be taken. President Trump’s Trigger-happy threats directed against Syria (in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack) should therefore be taken seriously.
Similarly, the implications of Moscow’s stance confirming that the Russian Military will forcefully respond to US missile attacks should also be addressed.
However, there is an important element which has largely been neglected in recent independent media reports regarding Syria, which suggests that the US could take the decision NOT to engage in the conduct of a major military campaign at this particular juncture.
The structure of US military alliances is in crisis.
Military Strategy 101 tells us: you do not wage a major war when one of your key allies is “sleeping with the enemy”.
An understanding of the military structure of alliances including cross-cutting coalitions is absolutely crucial. So-called “enduring alliances” in support of America’s “Long War” can no longer be relied upon.
NATO is in crisis: The U.S. and several NATO member states are not only at war with Syria, they are also at war with Turkey which is fighting the US sponsored Kurdish rebel forces in Northern Syria.
In turn, Turkey –which remains NATO’s heavyweight in terms of conventional ground forces– has an alliance with both Russia and Iran, which in turn are supportive of the government of Bashar al Assad.
With regard to China-Turkey cooperation (including military affairs), “China has expressed openness toward Turkey’s joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance … that is seen as a counterweight to NATO” (to which Turkey happens to be a member).
Within NATO the clash is not limited to a confrontation between Washington and Ankara. Other member states of the Atlantic alliance have been sucked into the US-Turkey showdown in Northern Syria including France and Britain, not to mention Israel ( a de facto NATO member and ally of Turkey) which has been supportive of the Kurdish separatist movement mainly in Iraq but also in Syria.