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U.S. Air Strikes in Syria: What Is the Aftermath?

The April 6 strike raises a lot of questions

By Jamal Kingston
On May 10, 2017

On April 6, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk missile strikes against Syria to send a message to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been accused by American and British intelligence of using chemical weapons, especially sarin gas, on the people of Syria.

This accusation of use of chemical weapons is due to rebellious acts against his regime since the 2011 Arab Spring that have swept Arab nations since, including Egypt and Libya. Assad has repeatedly denied that he used chemical weapons, and some commentators think that it could be false information.

President Donald Trump was angered and disturbed after watching television coverage of the Khan Shayukhan attack on April 4, two days before the attack. He said the day after, on April 5, that the chemical attack had “crossed a line” for him. He decided to authorize strikes against Syria over the next couple of days, and made his final decision at his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida after consulting with his inner circle of advisors, including White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, and Secretaries of State and Defense Rex Tillerson and James N. Mattis. Two crucial advisors were his daughter, Ivanka Trump and her husband, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Ivanka Trump was particularly shaken by the video of the gruesome attacks.

However, after the U.S. strikes on Syria, some members of Congress and senators, political commentators and regular Americans were critical of the strike. Some members of Congress such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and California Rep. Barbara Lee have said that Trump’s strikes were “unconstitutional” and should require a congressional debate on authorization of American military interventions.

Other members of Congress such as Sen. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, supported the strike, saying that the strike should have happened much earlier, especially in the Obama presidential era. President Obama decided not to strike Syria in Sept. 2013 after some public disapproval of the option of striking Syria, as most Americans were and continue to be war-weary after fifteen-plus years of war in the Middle East.

However, Russia was disgusted by the U.S’s response to Syria, calling it an “aggression” and warning that it could further damage the relations between the U.S. and Russia. Russia is a close ally to Syria, as Putin and Assad have a close alliance. Putin has aided Assad with food and medicine from Russia.

The strikes have also angered other Syrian-allied nations such as Iran, who struck a deal with the United States in 2015 trying to limit their use of chemical weapons, a deal that Trump has criticized and vowed to overturn.

The Syrian strike will be debated over and over in the next couple of days, weeks, months and years. Some may feel that Trump authorized the strike to get the Russia-U.S. election interference and his healthcare negotiations failure off the conversation of the American people. However, we can see more strikes against Syria if they continue to use chemical weapons.

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