by Sarah Willson
Despite the military strike on April 4, where the Syrian regime took the lives of over 80 people, including 10 children, via chemical weapons, prompting the United Nations to declare an emergency meeting, Central Connecticut State University Middle Eastern studies professor Ghassan El-Eid believes it may be too late to fully involve the U.S. military in the war-torn Middle East.
“[The United States] should have helped the moderates in the beginning,” said El-Eid. “Now, the extremists dominate the opposition, which plays into the regime’s hands,” explaining that it would be too late for the U.S. to send advanced weapons and other military hardware to Syria and that the U.S. could not face the country alone.
“As for sending troops to Syria, I am opposed to that,” said El-Eid. “Unless it is part of a multi-lateral force sanctioned by the United Nations.”
“Defeating this entity remains a challenge,” said El-Eid. “We have made significant progress in combatting [the Islamic State] and degrading its military capability, but we have a long way to go in our attempt to defeat it.”
“In order to prevail, we must attack the conditions that led to its emergence in the first place. We have failed to address and alleviate the sources of discontent that lead people to resort to terror,” said El-Eid, adding that the best thing to do at the moment is to welcome refugees.
“I am fully aware of Trump’s opposition to admitting migrants from Syria. However, we have a very effective vetting process that will ensure that those who are ultimately admitted to the United States will pose no threat to our national security,” said El-Eid.
“We are a nation of immigrants and America has always been viewed as the land of the free people seeking to escape persecution and to secure a better future for their children,” said El-Eid. “People are fleeing their war-torn countries because they have no choice. Germany, a country of far fewer resources than our own, has taken in close to half a million refugees so far. We can surely do better in this regard.”
As of now, President Donald Trump claims there is no plan for further military action in Syria. However, current UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, stated in a report on Friday that the U.S. is “prepared to do more” in regards to the Syrian people.
There is nothing simple about the civil war in Syria, which has been ongoing since March 2011. The fight started off as a peaceful protest against a dictatorial regime and quickly spiraled into a full-blown war in which more than 250,000 people have died.
The recent attack in Syria on April 4 has a rising death toll, now surpassing 80 casualties.
Yet again, the battle between Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the rebels and the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the loss of dozens of lives. President Assad of Syria, who is being blamed for the carnage, denied the use of chemical weapons on his people. Many victims of the attack showed signs of damage from chemicals in and on their body.
In a statement on Wednesday, Trump hardened his tone on Syria and expressed his concerns for the people, saying that the attacks “cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” and that he now has “responsibility” when it comes to “horrific” attacks in Syria.
Trump also made a statement on April 6, saying “something should happen” in regards to Assad, following through with his statement later in the evening.
Hours later, Trump fired 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles into Syria, aiming at airbase runways, aircraft and fuel points. One missile misfired, the rest were direct hits and destroyed 20 Syrian aircrafts, aircraft shelters, fuel and weapon depots. Six people on the ground died in the strikes. Assad called the attacks “foolish and politically motivated.”
The decision came after what is being called a “72-hour evolution” from the White House. After being briefed on the chemical attacks on the morning of April 4, conducting 48 hours of “intense” meetings and “asking for options,” the White House decided to go forth and carry out the strikes.
However, some were upset by the fact that Trump did not seek approval from Congress before giving a green light to the strikes. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton backed Trump’s decision, calling on the U.S. to “take out” Assad’s airfields the afternoon of April 6.